Poetic Motifs: Concepts of Dreams Deferred in Langston Hughes' "Harlem" ("Montage of a Dream Deferred") and "A Raisin in the Sun."

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SWBAT analyze the representation of a the concept of dreams in two different artistic mediums: Langston Hughes' "Harlem" and the play, "A Raisin in the Sun."

Big Idea

What happens to a dream deferred; how does the concept of "dreams" develop in "A Raisin in the Sun"? Whose dreams are met; whose are deferred?

Intro & Welcome: It's National Hamburger Day!

3 minutes

We open today's class with a welcome to National Hamburger Day, and briefly discuss cheeseburgers vs hamburgers. As with all Daily Holidays, my objective is to build a sense of community, class identity, and trust in the classroom.

I note to students that we will be moving quickly between material today as we are coming up to the end of the school year, and I wish to share as wide a variety of material as possible these last few days, in order to provide them with a breadth of cultural literacy.

Whole-Class Review Act II, Scene 3

15 minutes

As we did with Act II, Scenes 1 and 2, in order to review strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text (RL.9-10.1), we hold  a whole-class review of the students' homework, reading Act II, Scene 3. Students have prepared by responding to a study guide that addresses textual evidence from Act II of the play, and today's review draws on, and expands upon, that preparation in order to hold a thoughtful exchange of ideas (SL.9-10.1a). Students propel the conversation by responding to these questions and relating the specific textual evidence to broader themes and ideas we have addressed (e.g.: home, family conflict, dreams) (SL.9-10.1c)

We are holding the whole-class review to check for students' understanding, but also to keep them engaged and motivated as the class winds down for the year--we are three days until finals at this point. 

Students will not be graded on this assignment, but as we discuss, I circulate the room to keep tabs on the students that have completed their homework and those that have blanks. This allows me to check both for questions to specifically address, and students to call on in place of volunteers. 

Critical Viewing: "A Raisin in the Sun" Portrayals (Act II, Scene 1)

15 minutes

In order to provide students with a visualization of the characters in the play and analyze how those characters interact with other characters, we watch the opening scene of Act II, in which Beneatha and Walter share a moment pretending to be tribal Africans and the audience first meets George Murchison (RL.9-10.3). This scene appears in the 1989 "American Playhouse" production of the play and the 1961 film. We are viewing the 1989 version today in class, as students are more familiar with Danny Glover's work than that of Sidney Poitier and the action is more exaggerated, as for the stage, in this version. 

As students view this scene, I ask them to take notes analyzing what is emphasized or absent in the film in contrast with the script as they read it (RL.9-10.7).

Following the viewing, students share their analysis in discussion in order to qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented in their peers' analysis (SL.9-10.1d

"A Raisin in the Sun." Dir. Bill Duke. Perf. Danny Glover, Starletta DuPois, Esther Rolle. American Playhouse, 1989. VHS. 

Poetic Analysis: Langston Hughes' "Harlem"

15 minutes

Langston Hughes' poem, "Harlem (Montage of a Dream Deferred)," opens the play "A Raisin in the Sun", inspires its title, and serves to highlight the driving theme of the play: the dreams of the Younger family and their loss or fulfillment. As we read the poem, students use the Harlem Renaissance Poetry Study Guide they have already received to determine the use of poetic devices and figurative language and their impact on the tone of loss in the poem (RL.9-10.4), and how those images and the tone reflect the characters of "A Raisin in the Sun" (RL.9-10.7).

We also identify how these images develop the theme of dreams set aside and not fulfilled as this theme develops over the poem (RL.9-10.2). Through this analysis, students will also draw comparisons between the representation in two different artistic mediums: the poem and the play, "A Raisin in the Sun" (RL.9-10.7).

We focus on a teacher-led discussion today in order to utilize time as efficiently as possible and to attempt to keep students focused this last week of school.

Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up & Reminders

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, I provide students with copies of Carl Sandburg's poems,  "Chicago" and "Grass", and ask students to read the poems for class tomorrow, responding to the attached questions. Students will be drawing connections and contrasts between the culture of Chicago in "A Raisin in the Sun" and that as portrayed in Sandburg's poem, "Chicago." ("Grass" is used to review and connect with ideas of Naturalism from the start of the semester.) I also offer an opportunity to ask any questions students may have regarding their upcoming final exam.