Man Made Monsters/Frankenstein Excerpt
Lesson 2 of 18
Objective: SWBAT identify text organization structures and compare a non-fiction and fiction text.
Man Made Monsters
Note: This was a plan for a substitute
In the first part of this lesson, students read "Man Made Monsters," which is an informational nonfiction piece wherein the author looks at Frankenstein's monster from different perspectives. He traces Frankenstein's roots in religious stories and legends.
The article discusses the title, Frankenstein, Or the modern Prometheus by explaining the story of Prometheus and how he was punished for given humans the knowledge of fire. It goes on to explain the story itself and to contrast it in very general terms with movie and television versions, which make Frankenstein cartoonish.
In the McDougall-Littell anthology for 8th grade, this reading is paired with an introduction to Frankenstein. On their website is a nice little web related to text organization, too.
In this introduction to Frankenstein, Mary Shelley discusses a dream that "possessed her and guided her" to develop the Frankenstein story.
The interesting thing about this piece is that, when read with the Cohen piece, the students have to think critically about what both authors present. The questions, which appear in the next section of the lesson. Students have to consider the role that historical/mythological inspiration played in Shelley's vision of the monster. They have accept or reject two different possibilities (neither completely verifiable), so it is a good exercise in critical thinking.
Also, since our county test still asks questions about text organization, it's nice that the text puts these two pieces together for contrasting perspectives (and styles of organization) on the same topic.
After reading both selections, students worked in partners to complete the questions.
The questions are taken right from the text, and they are not particularly complicated. However, I allowed the students to collaborate with the hope that the answers might be deeper and more well-considered. I rarely use the questions that follow stories, because the students seem programmed to just provide the shortest, most obvious responses. However, sometimes the questions go deeper and are worthy of the time it takes to complete them.
During the final half hour of the period, students read in their independent reading books.
Many students lose momentum with more difficult novels, such as these. I find that "Something Wicked" grabs them at first, but some have trouble with the descriptions. "Hill House," as I warn them, is very atmospheric and slow, but in a good way. While some choose it because they are looking for a challenge, they need some encouragement to keep with it, until it gets "scary."