Building a Mirror Factory: Finishing Fahrenheit 451 and Contemplating the Message

13 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT determine a theme of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details by synthesizing through discussion and writing the central ideas of Fahrenheit 451.

Big Idea

What does reading a book have to do with looking in a mirror?

Getting Started

15 minutes

Before we begin reading today, we are going to try to connect more personally with the text. I will ask that students spend a minute thinking about someone in their life who has died. Then I will ask them to think about what they miss about the person.


This think time will connect to our reading today. In the first part of what we will read today, Granger explains he misses him grandfather, so that Montag understand why he doesn't miss Millie. Granger's grandfather did things: "He shaped the world. He did things to the world." The people in Montag's life didn't do anything and they leave nothing behind. It's an interesting concept that we can discuss with more purpose after having thought about it in a personal way. And it will help us understand the theme of the text (RL.9-10.2).

Read: A Mirror Factory

20 minutes

Today we will finish the novel together. We will focus on these parts of the reading and these questions:


  • Remembering: Montag finally remembers where he met Mildred and he starts to remember sections of The Book of Ecclesiastes. Why can he remember now, in the woods? (RL.9-10.9)
  • The concept of "being" a book: Each of these men identify as a particular book and are responsible for representing it. They are a piece of history. How would that make you feel?
  • Not being important: It might make someone feel important to be responsible for The Republic or Walden, but Granger makes it clear to Montag that they are not important. Why aren't they important if they have vital information? What is Granger trying to convey? (RL.9-10.2)
  • Rebuilding the city by building a mirror factory: Before anything can be done, Granger says that everyone has to look in a mirror for a year. He wants people to truly evaluate themselves. This image brings us back to the beginning of the text, when Montag describes looking at Clarisse like looking in a mirror. Self-reflection is essential (RL.9-10.2).


I like finishing a novel all together. I feel like it gives closure to something, so I try to schedule the last 5-10 pages for in class reading. What did my students think of this novel? Take a look.

Final Assignment

20 minutes

We will spend 20 minutes talking about and reading through all the essays options students can select as their final assessment for Fahrenheit 451. There are 6 prompts, 5 of which are from The Big Read, and 1 that is mine (the last one). We will read the directions together, and then talk through each prompt, one at a time, so that everyone understands what the question asks and so that students can start sharing some ideas and maybe spread some inspiration. I will encourage students to jot down notes as we talk, so that they can ruminate over them later and create a masterpiece in the end (W.9-10.5). For this essay, students will write a primary argument, then support it with textual evidence (W.9-10.2, W.9-10.2a, W.9-10.2b).


This is the last essay students will write for 9th grade English, and as such, the students will write this essay at home with minimal guidance for me. I want to see how well they do without guidance, and to see how they have synthesized the informational essay writing skills we have practiced throughout the year. I'm excited to give them choices for this final assignment because I am confident that they are ready to write an essay like this, with relatively little teacher-led preparation. I want them to pick the prompt that inspires them, which I will tell them. I want to hear their voices in this essay, to know that they are responding to the text and have something to say.