Analyzing Characters and Symbols in Act 1 Scene 2 of A Raisin in the Sun

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT cite specific evidence from text (Act 1 Scene 2) and demonstrate an understanding by writing evidence based answers.

Big Idea

Students begin to analyze each characters distinct set of principles and beliefs.


15 minutes

I ask students to open their learning packets to the Character Analysis Chart and working individually to fill out characters introduced in Act 1- Scene 1.  This organizer helps my students to think about each facet of their character's personality and desires.  It will also be used as the characters develop while interacting with other characters, and how they advance the plot and develop the themes of the play as required in RL.9-10.3 .

To check for understanding I ask a few students to report out on their character analysis by first sharing their chart with a partner and then selecting a few students to share with the class SL.9-10.1.  

Building Knowledge

10 minutes

For this section of the lesson I first project the plot diagram on a screen using a document camera and ask students to refer to their plot diagram as I facilitate a quick review of the events in Scene 1.  I do this to make certain the students who did not attend the previous class are informed and reminded of the events.  Even though many of my students were "exposed" to this play last year, their retrieval of its details and events are weak.

Next we discuss the most overt symbol in the play, Mama's plant and how it represents both Mama’s care and her dream for her family RL.9-10.4.  I know many of the students will remember that she took care of a plant but will need to discuss the connotative meaning. After our discussion I ask students to fill out the information on their Analyzing Symbols Chart which helps them to clarify their understanding of the symbols the author uses by stating the symbol, dialogue and its meaning.

Student Learning Activity

30 minutes

I begin by asking students to open their play to Scene 2 and give them the option of reading along while the video is shown or watch and listen to the dialogue.  After 10 minutes of the video in which the character Assagai was introduced, I facilitate a short discussion of his traits and relationship with Beneahta.  Students take notes using the Character Analysis Chart. 

Assagai is an important character in Beneatha's life.  I want students to see and hear the dialogue between them so they can use their visual modality for increased retention and understanding. I also use the video to introduce  characters as an alternative activity which brings variety to how students are asked to engage in the lesson.  After watching the short video clip, I next assign character roles to students and put name tents on their desks of the characters they will be reading.  Students also record in their learning packet the character they read with the date.  As I explained in the previous lesson, the name tents and recording characters read will help increase student engagement

I facilitate the reading of Act 1 Scene 2 by pausing at times to check for understanding of character analysis and events. I do this because my students need to reflect on their reading in order to gain deeper understandings of character dialogue.  Checking for understanding is ongoing and one should not assume students "get it" without checking. To help them organize the play's events, I then project the plot diagram on the screen again and ask students to fill in the main events for the rising action on their plot diagram.

Quiz 1

15 minutes

Formative Assessment

After we finish reading Scene 2,  I pass out a formative assessment for Act 1 Scenes 1-2 and tell students that they will cite evidence from the texts to support their answers RL.9-10.1.  Questions also check for understanding of the play's developing themes through the interactions between characters, (e.g. questions 6 and 7) RL.9-10.2 and RL.9-10.3.

As we read the play I want my students (and myself) to form a more detailed understanding of they understand, which then can be used to inform remediation or re-teaching.  Because students are part of the formative assessment process we cite evidence and make corrections as a class.   

Wrap Up

5 minutes

Ticket to Leave

For the Wrap Up, after our group discussion of the answers on the quiz,  I ask students to pick one question they answered incorrectly or incompletely and be ready to give the correct answer.  I then randomly pick 1-2 students to report out.  I do this because I think it's important to have high expectations of involvement and understanding even for those students who don't yet have high expectations of themselves.  By hearing the correct answers during the group discussion, these students complete the learning sequence by giving the correct answer to the class.