Today's class will focus on literary allusion, specifically the use of the Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
First I ask students to define allusion on their own on paper. I call on a couple of students to share their answers, then I put a standard definition of allusion on the smart-board. "
Next, I explain that we are going to talk about scripture or passages from the Bible and Torah. We will look at religious text as literature. The goal is to analyze the story and identify the connection the story has to Things Fall Apart(RL 9-10. 9).
I ask the students to respond to the following question aloud, "Who are Abraham and Isaac? What is their story?"
I take volunteers to share their responses. Then, in the next section of the lesson, students will read the relevant section of the Bible.
I pass out the reading on the sacrifice of Isaac (RL 9-10.9). There are two questions before the story.
What does it mean to sacrifice?
Why are sacrifices necessary?
I want students to think about the concept of sacrifice before we read the text. We read the text out loud as a class. I give them 10 minutes to re-read answer answer four questions about the text. I tell them they can discuss the text and the questions with their table mates (SL.9-10.1), however each student has to write an original answer (W.9-10.10).
Now it is time discuss the text, using the questions to guide the discussion.
1. What does God tell Abraham to do? Why does God want him to do it?
2. What does Isaac ask his father about the sacrifice? Do you think Isaac understands his role in the sacrifice?
3. What does the Angel say to Abraham about the sacrifice? And what does the Angel promise Abraham?
4. Yeats claims that “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”. Is the story of the sacrifice of Isaac an example or anarchy or order? Explain your answer.
5. How are the sacrifice asked of Abraham and Okonkwo similar and how are they difference?
I want to bring into focus the second part of question three: What does the Angel promise Abraham? Abraham's loyalty to God is rewarded with prosperity for his descendants. I want the students to be able to contrast Okonkwo's experience in question five. He is told not to participate in the sacrifice but does anyway. Ultimately, the death of Ikemefuna is the beginning of Okonkwo's fall from esteem in his village.
Now, we will transition from the sacrifice of Isaac to chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7 of Things Fall Apart.
First, I ask, How well did Ikemefuna assimilate into the village and Okonkwo"s home?
After the students share their answer, I tell them to get out their homework. The homework will guide our class discussion (RL.9-10.1 and SL.9.10.1).
I assign different groups to answer different parts of the questions. I give them about 5 minutes to prepare and then each group will report out.
Next I ask them to consider Chinua Achebe's seven purposes for writing we wrote on giant post-its. The class inferred these purposes from the New York Times obituary for Chinua Achebe. I ask them if their have read any evidence to support any of the purposes. I give them a few minutes to discuss it in their groups. I go around to each group and ask them to share an their example and then write it on the post-it under the correct purpose.
The last section on the sacrifice of Isaac is a writing prompt.
I want students to write a narrative in the form of a letter. Before the begin writing, I ask them to consider what information needs to be in the letter. I write their responses on the white board. Next, I ask them, what impact can the order you share the information in the letter have on your audience? Students need to consider the sequence of the narrative and how that sequence influences the audiences engagement with the text (W 9-10. 3c).
In order to connect with the audience and the text, students have to place themselves in a cultural context other than their own (RL 9-10.6). They will make inferences about the character and the cultural context in order to develop the narrative.
Once I have answered all the questions about the prompt and the sequencing of the letter. I give the class time to write. I remind them that they need to make references to the appropriate text.
With about 10 minutes remaining in the class, I ask the students to share their letters with their neighbors to get some feedback. I direct the partners to give verbal feedback on the cultural context, sequencing of information, and characterization.
If time remains, I will ask for volunteers to share what they have written so far with the class.
Students will finish the letter for homework.