Analyzing the Author's Use of Symbolism in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

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Objective

SWBAT identify and analyze patterns of symbolism by completing a chart of examples of symbols in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian.

Big Idea

What can Kentucky Fried Chicken symbolize in a story about poverty?

Activator

10 minutes

I want my students to begin to think about what a symbol is and how it communicates a message. I begin this lesson with an activator that is meaningful to their daily lives by asking them to brainstorm a list of logos for sports teams, clothing/products in advertising or other popular movements.  To check for understanding, after about five minutes I ask students to share their answers while I make a master list on the board.

 




Building Background Knowledge

20 minutes

I use the Symbolism Power Point as an introduction and lead-in to filling out the Symbolism chart they will use during the student activity.  Modeling how a symbol such as the death of "Oscar" can exemplify a theme of the novel addresses the standard RI.9-10.2  which requires students to determine the central ideas of the text and analyze their development.

I first ask each student to take out their Theme Chart while encouraging them to choose the theme that they think Oscar exemplifies. I then model in slides #7 and 8 how the symbol of Oscar's death exemplifies the theme of Poverty. We then discuss the event on pages 10-13 and how the shooting of Oscar has deeper meaning for Junior and his life on the reservation.

Student Learning Activity

35 minutes

Next I ask my students to complete the Symbolism Chart stating what the following symbolize: Oscar, Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Geometry book, Basketball, and Turtle Lake. While they work on this task I  circulate among students checking for understanding and keeping them focused on the task.

I ask them to find the chapter in which the symbol is used and read the event addressing the standard RL.9-10.1. They need to analyze the event and paraphrase the evidence which supports their answers.  This lesson can occur anytime within the reading of the novel.  I choose to address symbolism after they've understood the main events and how the characters advance the theme.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

Wrap-Up

To help students summarize what they've learned about the author's use of symbolism,  I compile a few student's answers by writing a master chart filling in a blank symbolism chart with the meanings students share. I  facilitate a class discussion on symbol's meanings and how they connect to the chosen themes.