Meeting Mildred's Friends and Detemining Theme

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Objective

SWBAT determine a theme of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of a text by analyzing how society has effected Mildred and her friends.

Big Idea

What does a life without books do to a person?

Getting Started

5 minutes

At the beginning of class, we will review our reading from the last class, wherein we met Faber and learned all the ways that he is different from everyone else in society. I will ask students what makes him different. I will also ask their impressions of him: do you think he's just a wimp or does he have a right to be afraid? What do you think of his lifestyle? (RL.9-10.3)

 

This conversation is important because it gives the students a chance to think about what they have read and vocalize it, something that they wouldn't do on their own, unless they really took Faber's advice to heart. It is also an appropriate transition into the section we will read today.

Read: Meeting Mildred's Friends

50 minutes

page 93-103

The section of text that we will read today is great to read together because we hear from some of Mildred's friends, who are just as superficial as she is. We are going to read this section using scripts I copied and highlighted for each speaking role, so that each character is read by a different student. The scripts helps us hear the distinctive voices of the characters, which in turn highlights the pervasive nature the superficiality and selfishness and its destruction, a theme of the novel (RL.9-10.2). Here's a glimpse of the class. As we read, we will pause to discuss key elements of the text (SL.9-10.1):

 

  • Families: would you want these women, who seemingly "kick" their kids and send them to school as much as possible, as your mother? 
  • Politics/war: They speak so carelessly about war, what does that show? (RL.9-10.2)
  • Fire Imagery: Montag looks around at the woman and describes them in terms of fire. They are lighting cigarettes, while "examining their blazing fingernails;" they have "sun-fired hair" and "feverish breathing" (95). Why are they described this way? (RL.9-10.4)
  • Dover Beach: Montag reads two stanzas of this poem. We will look at it in more detail next class, but I will ask students to decipher what they can from it now.

 

Focusing on each of these elements will highlight the difference between Faber and these women, which, in turn, actually shows how a life spent "unthinking" destroys everything that makes you human.

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

In the last few minutes of class, I will assign the homework. Students will finish the second section of the text, select a quote that stands out to them, and explain their choice in a paragraph (W.9-10.10). The writing helps them read actively, making connections to the text, instead of purely separate from themselves.