Finding Fugui: Establishing a Basic Understanding of To Live

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SWBAT determine a central idea of To Live and analyze how it is used to develop character and theme by creating visualizations of key characters, themes, setting and plot.

Big Idea

Taking a step back to the basic analytical tools for literature and spending a day analyzing how characters, setting and plot work together to develop themes in To Live.


10 minutes

We will start class with ten minutes of reading time. I will read with students during this time. 

Character Mapping Activity

40 minutes

After speaking with my substitute yesterday, it is apparent that the students need to take a step back from the complex task of linking history to To Live. So, today, we will just spend time summarizing and analyzing what we have read so far in the book to make sure we have a strong grasp of the author's use of character to drive plot (RL.9-10.3). 

To do this, I will ask students to consider the way Yu Hua (the author) sets up the story using dichotomy and contrasts. For example, the story is being narrated by an old Fugui who is talking about his life as a young man. Also, there is a contrast set up between how characters behave when they are in the country vs. town. This is a part of the author's social commentary of China during this historical time period, so I want to make sure that students notice not only how the characters are being developed but how their development impacts the progression of the themes of social unrest and the inherent struggles of the common man.

To analyze how the author uses these contrasts to set up his themes and characterization (RL.9-10.2), I will ask students to create a visual representation of the major characters/settings and storyline. When I hand out the instructions, I will provide the same examples listed above and will let students work in groups to complete these theme/character maps. 


Wrap Up and Next Steps

5 minutes

We will use the last five minutes of class to clean up our supplies and to get desks back in order. I will also remind students to keep up with their reading and, if there is time, will allow them to ask questions about what they read while I was gone.