Western Influences on Chinua Achebe: The Second Coming and Things Fall Apart (Day 1 of 2)
Lesson 5 of 16
Objective: SWBAT analyze how Chinua Achebe draws on the poem “The Second Coming” By W.B. Yeats for inspiration for Things Fall Apart.
Today, we will begin by reorganizing the groups to add variety and encourage students to interact with others in the class. As students walk in, I give them a handout on The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats. The goal is for students to define vocabulary in context (L 9-10.4c). I also want them access their prior knowledge by answering the the two questions on the first slide of The Second Coming powerpoint.
The questions are:
- What do you think "the second coming" is referring to? (RL 9-10.9)
- What Do you know about WWI?
After the students answer independently, I call on a couple of students to share their answers. I try to align this "Things Fall Apart" unit with when they cover WWI in their World History class. It is is hit or miss, so I write the responses to the second question on the smartboard so the students who need the information can take notes.
Now we read the poem. The students have a copy of The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats and I also have it on the smartboard. I read the poem once at my normal reading pace. I tell the students to just listen to the poem and try to get the gist of its overall meaning.
Next, I read the poem a second time at a slow pace. The students underline the lines of the poem that contain one of the vocabulary words. Before we begin to discuss the overall message of the poem, I want to make sure they comprehend the words. I review the term context clues (L 9-10. 4a) and tell them to discuss as a group the possible meanings of the vocabulary.
I assign groups to write their definitions on the board. I assign different groups to get a dictionary or use their phone to find the actual definition of the words. One of the students writes the dictionary definition on the board next to the context definition. As a class we discuss how close our definitions are to the dictionary.
Next, I ask if there are any other words in the poem that they do not understand. I repeat the same process with those words until the class is comfortable with the vocabulary.
Now, it is time to dive into this widening gyre of a poem. I have five questions on the The Second Coming powerpoint to help guide the analysis of the poem. Each group will answer one question and then share their response with the class. We have hopefully already discussed the opening couplet of the poem while we were working on vocabulary.
I lead with WWI and the key line of the poem in relationship to the novel, "Things fall apart." These questions align to the RL.9-10.1 and RL.9-10.4 standards.
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;”
The next questions are:
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.”
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,”
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
Each group has to dissect the question and respond thoughtfully to the different perspectives of their new group members. Eventually they have to summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and explain their answers to the class (SL.9-10.1d).
As the last group wraps up their answers, I ask if anyone has a question about the poem. Next, I assign their homework. They have to answer questions 1 to 4 on The Second Coming handout for the next class, and we will continue our analysis of this poem then.