The Story's Voice: Identifying & Analyzing Narrative Point of View

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SWBAT assess the impact of a narrator's voice on the content and style of a short story through a collaborative review of the stories in our look at Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism.

Big Idea

Can you tell who is telling the story? The narrator's point of view shapes the events and information shared with the reader.

Welcome & Introduction: It's Fun Facts About Names Day

13 minutes

I welcome students to "Fun Facts About Names Day," and ask of any of them have any fun facts about their own name. After a few shares, I let the students know that the entire week is name-pride themed, and we'll be talking about their meaning and personal identity throughout the week. As "identity" is a main theme we address with American literature, and this week's theme connects directly to that. 

I pass out the Monday Mindbender worksheets to the students, and ask them to solve this week's brain teaser, taken from "A Daily Brain Teaser," and requiring students to think cross-curricular; ths puzzle requires both alphabetization and numeracy to solve:

If all 1-digit numbers are arranged in alphabetical order, they are eight, five, four, nine, one, seven, six, three, two. Here, eight comes first, and two comes last.

If all 3-digit numbers are arranged in alphabetical order, which number comes first, and which number comes last?

As students wrap up their Monday Mindbenders, I ask them to take out the questions they wrote for homework (see "Wrapping Up Short Stories: The Saga of a Half Day") and pass them in. I will review these and provide feedback, possibly using some of them on the unit test.

The answers are: "eight hundred", and "two hundred two." 

A View to Thrill: Understanding Narrative Point of View

35 minutes

Students are reminded of "point of view," and idea which they have been exposed to, but not addressed directly this semester. Students are given a copy of a Narrative Point of View Notes Sheet, and asked to find one or two partners with whim they can work. Using their text, students look up the definitions for each Narrative Point of View, and then identify examples of each, assessing what the narrator directly states and what the reader must infer (for example, how the switch between limited and objective narration in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" builds suspense by keeping the reader "in the dark" as to the main character's motivations and actions that led to his hanging) (RL 11-12.6).

Students are asked to review each story from our look at Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism:

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The Law of Life

The Open Boat 

The Story of an Hour

Students are provided the opportunity to work collaboratively with a self-selected group in order to refer to evidence from the stories to hold a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange (SL 9-10.1a); clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions (SL 9-10.1c); and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented (SL 9-10.1d).

We are addressing the 11-12 band standard in this lesson because I seek to challenge my students to connect point of view to plot structure, and because ELA.Literacy.RL.9-10.6 addresses a non-American experience, but our curriculum focuses on American literature at the Grade 10 level. 

As students work collaboratively, I circulate the room, offering clarification and participating in certain group discussion to engage the students.

The varied point of view in these stories provides an excellent opportunity to study its impact and effect on both the work and the reader. Understanding point of view in fiction determines whose eyes the reader experiences the story through. Narrative point of view importance also derives from its impact on the tone of a story. 

Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up and Reminders

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, I ask students to return to their seats and remind them that if the notes sheets are not complete, they should be completed for homework; additionally, they should be studying for the unit test in two days.