English, French, Russian & American Authors

Unit 7: Short Stories and Poetry

Unit Descriptions:

Through the short story and poetry unit, students will gain insightful understanding of fictional and poetic work. They will analyze the elements of each story and poem and construct meaning based on textual evidence as well as the effectiveness of the use of literary techniques. They will connect author’s purposes with the technical aspects of the writing as well as making the thematic connections. Students will also examine the texts through the skills listed in the common core standards and prepare themselves for the in-depth reading by creating various types of multiple choice questions.

Essential QuestionsHow to determine a tone implied in textual evidence?

  1. How to identify a pattern in details or examples (evidence)?
  2. How to determine the connection between a specific part and the work as a whole?
  3. How to derive at “so what” based on the evidence provided?
  4. Connecting a specific part to the overall meaning ( theme) of a work
  5. Making the implicit explicit ( finding the hidden meaning-inference)
  6. Understanding the purposes of specific textual details such as character descriptions, setting, a dialogue or conflict etc.
  7. Determining tones.
  8. Understanding the purposes of specific literary techniques such as figurative language, repetition, alliteration and symbolism etc.
  9. Determining the purpose (tone) of a work. How do we use a tone to determine an author’s purpose?

Formative Assessments:

  1. Annotations
  2. Vocabulary Quizzes
  3. Generating central ideas based on a passage
  4. Notice and Focus .Method response
  5. PBFF response
  6. Quizzes

Summative Assessments:

  1. Textual Analysis essay
  2. Multiple Choice questions based on several texts


Works by Charles Dickens(https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/d/dickens/charles/)

  1. The Bleak House by Charles Dickens (https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/d/dickens/charles/d54bh/chapter1.html)
  2. The Great Expectations (https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/d/dickens/charles/d54ge/contents.html)
  3. The Piano ( two versions)  by D.H. Lawrence (http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~keith/poems/piano.html);
  4. Boule de Suif by Guy de Maupassant (http://americanliterature.com/author/guy-de-maupassant/short-story/boule-de-suif)
  5. In the Court by Anton Chekov
  6. The Huntsman (http://americanliterature.com/author/anton-chekhov/short-story/the-huntsman)
  7. The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
  8. The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James (https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/j/james/henry/j2b/contents.html)
  9. The Jolly Corner by Henry James (https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/j/james/henry/j2j/contents.html)
  10. The Story of an Hour by Kate CHopin
  11. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe
  12. 180 Poems High School Students must read
  13. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Lesson 1 : Chapter i of The Bleak House by Dickens


  • Book Summary (http://study.com/academy/lesson/bleak-house-by-charles-dickens-summary-analysis-quiz.html)
  • Why Charles Dickens? (http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/teaching-dickens-with-the-new-york-times/?_r=0)
  • Worksheets 9http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/Bleak%20House%20worksheets.pdf)

Objectives: Students will determine the purpose of the author’s descriptive language that describes the London weather.

Aim; How does Dickens portray London in the chapter? Why?

Text: The Bleak House by Charles Dickens (https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/d/dickens/charles/d54bh/chapter1.html)

Do Now:  What do we know about Charles Dickens? Why Dickens still?

  • Book Summary (http://study.com/academy/lesson/bleak-house-by-charles-dickens-summary-analysis-quiz.html)
  • Why Charles Dickens? (http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/teaching-dickens-with-the-new-york-times/?_r=0)

Mini Lesson: Complete the worksheet-Worksheets 9http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/Bleak%20House%20worksheets.pdf)

Guided Reading- Chapter 1

Students will annotate the text while reading and in particular ask questions that will help think deeply about the meaning of the text.

Homework: Select one literary technique and discusses how Dickens uses it to achieve his purpose.

Respond to the following questions. Be sure to use textual evidence to back your responses.

  1. What do we know about the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case?
  2. How is the Chancellor described?
  3. HOw is the court system described?
  4. Why does Dickens use fog and mud as motifs?

Lesson 2

Objectives: Students will analyze why Dickens use imagery to develop a central idea about the English court system as depicted in the first chapter of The Bleak house.

Aim: How does Dickens use imagery to develop a central idea about the English court system as depicted in the first chapter of The Bleak house?

Do Now: Review the notes from homework based on the 4 questions assigned.


Write a 2-3 paragraph essay in which you describe how Dickens uses imagery to develop a central idea about the British court system in the 19th century.

Be sure to:

• Identify a central idea in the text
• Analyze how the author’s use of one writing strategy (literary element or literary technique or rhetorical device) develops this central idea. Examples include: characterization, conflict, denotation/connotation, metaphor, simile, irony, language use, point-of-view, setting, structure, symbolism, theme, tone, etc.
• Use strong and thorough evidence from the text to support your analysis
• Organize your ideas in a cohesive and coherent manner
• Maintain a formal style of writing
• Follow the conventions of standard written English

Homework: Use the Regents prep book to study the following writing strategies. Define or  each strategy and describe how each strategy contributes to meaning development.

  1. structure ( chronological narration, anachronistic narration, using flashback, stream of consciousness, beginning, middle and ending, etc)
  2. characterization,
  3. conflict,
  4. denotation/connotation,
  5. metaphor, simile,
  6. irony,
  7. language use,
  8. point-of-view,
  9. setting,
  10. symbolism,
  11. theme,
  12. tone,

 Lesson 3

Objectives: Students will make a claim more precise by examining the implications of the supporting details and the connections  ( pattern) they share.

Aim: How do we use the reciprocal relationship between a claim and supporting details to help us make the claim more precise and details more appropriate?

Do Now: Share in pairs your claim statement and supporting details. Select a stronger claim ans share with the class. Explain why the claim is better. Post the shared claims on the board.

Mini Lesson

How to develop a stronger and more precise claim?

  • A strong claim  should be focused on  the overall meaning of the text, state a shift and sound debatable.
  • A claim can be based on cause and effect, definition, value or solution.
  • Use a compound or complex sentence for your claim statement.
  • Use of specific verbs


  1. To help to meet her goal, Shaw, in a segment of her speech, used the technique of exposing  the irony behind the devoid of the vote and addressed the hypocrisy evident in this situation.
  2. The tone of the given passage in which the speaker analyzes the government of the United States and its limitations to voting can be described as critical and persuasive.
  3. The author of this passage uses rich, vivid imagery to discuss how the more you know about a topic, for example, the author’s once-beloved Mississippi RIVER, the less beautiful it appears.
  4. The author of the passage attempted to figure out why when something so beautiful is over-analyzed, the original beauty dissipates.
  5. The author of this text intended to make the reader question their perception of life and the idea of living ; this is done through the use of figurative language.
  6. The author of the passage attempted to get readers to find something in their life that they can learn from and appreciate; symbolism is used to enhance the central idea.

How  do we make sure that the evidence used is relevant and effective?

  1. Bring out the implications in your textual evidence. How does the hidden meaning relate to your claim?
  2. How does each evidence relate to your claim? Or how does each evidence support an aspect ( dimension) of your claim?
  3. How do all the evidence provided help fully support or illustrate your claim?
  4. What is the connection you can make among the evidence? How does the connection help develop the central idea?

Student Independent Practice:

  1. Use the check list provided for both claim statement and evidence to evaluate and revise your own thesis and evidence.
  2. Interpret your evidence and explain how it connects to your claim ( central idea).
  3. Explain how effective each example ( evidence) of the writing strategy is in helping develop the author’s central idea.

End of the Lesson Assessment: Which strategy ( strategies) worked the best for you in the process of revising your claim or identifying more relevant evidence?

Homework: Revise the analysis essay based on your revised claim and evidence ( based on Chapter 1 In Chancery of The Bleak House by Charles Dickens).

Lesson 4 The Bleak House Chapter 1 & To Room Nineteen by Doris Lessing

Objectives: Students will understand how authors use specific strategy to convey a central idea by examining the use of imagery in the excerpt by Dickens and point of view as way as the structure in the short story To Room Nineteen

Aim: How do authors use strategy to enhance or develop meaning?

Do Now: Review the Worksheet based on In Chancery by Dickens, an excerpt from The Bleak House

Mini Lesson: Review the following strategies

  1. structure ( chronological narration, anachronistic narration, using flashback, stream of consciousness, beginning, middle and ending, etc)
  2. characterization,
  3. conflict,
  4. denotation/connotation,
  5. metaphor, simile,
  6. irony,
  7. language use,
  8. point-of-view,
  9. setting,
  10. symbolism,
  11. theme,
  12. tone,

Unpack the fist 6 pages of “To Room Nineteen” and discuss how point of view and structure are used by Lessing to reveal a central idea. What is the central idea?

Student Independent Practice: 

In a small group of 3-4, continue unpacking the short story to page 540 and identify other strategies Lessing uses to enhance the central idea.

Homework: Read 3 more pages to 543 of the short story. Annotate. Study vocabulary, in particular the verbs we can use in an essay.

Lesson 5

Objectives: Students will hone in their skills in detecting a central idea and identifying supporting evidence.

Aim: How to discuss a central idea through the lens of writing strategies?

Do Now: Share an exemplary student work and jot down the strengths you have identified in the essay.

We will share your notes in class.

Mini Lesson

Identify a different central idea  based on the 1st chapter of The Bleak House ( not about the court system).

Use characterization or figurative language ( simile, metaphor or personification or hyperbole) to illustrate your central idea.

Student Independent Practice

In pairs, complete the essay based on our discussion.

Homework: Complete the essay ( ON DEMAND IN 40 MINUTES) and review grammar and usage in the ELA Regents book.

Lesson 6

Objectives: Students will examine how Lessing uses literary techniques to convey a central theme to her readers.

Aim: How does Lessing uses literary techniques to convey a central theme to her readers?

Do Now: Make a list of literary techniques you have noticed. Give an example of one of them them and explain what central idea is revealed.

Mini Lesson

Let’s read the  first pages together and underline parts that grab your attention for any reason. In particular, pay attention to the use of Point of View,  details that portray the narrator or her life. What kind of conflict have you noticed? How do you know? How does she describe her husband and their marriage? What is the deeper meaning the author tries to convey through this narrative?

Student Independent Practice

Select a short passage and do a PBFF response. Be sure to find a passage that includes a writing strategy and its effective use should be obvious to you.

Homework: Complete the PBFF response and study vocabulary from the voc list given.

Lesson 7

Objectives: Students will review tactics to write an effective argument essay

Aim: How do we use rhetorical appeals to counter argue effectively?

Topic : Scientists Curbing the Use of Science

Your Task:

Read the various articles in the Scientists Curbing the Use of Science website and write a counter-argument paragraph.

Article 1: The Lesson of Asilomar

Article 2: The Case of Embryonic Stem Research

Article 3: The Role of Patents

Article 4: Bring Back the Office of OTA

  1. State the Topic: Scientists Curbing the Use of Science
  2. State your position
  3. Sate your claim
  4. Write the counter-argument paragraph.

Homework: Write a complete essay on the topic ( on demand 60  minutes).

Lesson 8

Objectives: Students will read an excerpt by Christopher Nolan and gain insight from his unique technique of using multiple points of view for his narrative.

Aim: How can the use of points of view and diction complicate a narrative?

Do Now: Do research about Christopher Nolan and select some interesting details to share wit the class.

Mini Lesson: 

Using multiple points of view ( narrator’s point of view)

free indirect discourse

On Modernism

Teacher-Led Discussion:

Read the excerpt from Christopher Nolan’s story. HOW does the author use multiple point of view to show internal conflicts in the narrator and his mental growth?

Independent Practice

Write a personal narrative in which you feel there are two voices speaking about a certain issue and you need to struggle to gain a grip on it.

Homework: Complete he 1st draft of the personal narrative.

Lesson 9

Writing Session

Objectives: Students will share their narratives to gain insight about multiple points of view used in narration; students will also gain understanding how writers can transcend the meaning of an ordinary object into something more metaphysical, such as numbers.

Aim: How do we use multiple points of view to reveal a character? How do we use mathematical language to describe various aspects of life?

Do now: Share your narrative with a partner and point out one example of effective use of multiple points of view (-free indirect discourse).

Share in class.

Read the short story Araby and identify examples where point of view gets shifted in and out of the character’s mind.

Mini Lesson– Thinking Creatively about mundane things we are used to seeing

Read the Opinion article from the New York Times and the poem numbers and discuss the versatility and symbolism of numbers.

Questions to

1. Division and Its Discontents

Division and Its Discontents

There’s a narrative line that runs through arithmetic, but many of us missed it in the haze of long division and common denominators. It’s the story of the quest for ever-more versatile numbers.The “natural numbers” 1, 2, 3 and so on are good enough if all we want to do is count, add and multiply. But once we ask how much remains when everything is taken away, we are forced to create a new kind of number — zero — and since debts can be owed, we need negative numbers too. This enlarged universe of numbers called “integers” is every bit as self-contained as the natural numbers, but much more powerful because it embraces subtraction as well.A new crisis comes when we try to work out the mathematics of sharing. Dividing a whole number evenly is not always possible … unless we expand the universe once more, now by inventing fractions. These are ratios of integers — hence their technical name, “rational numbers.” Sadly, this is the place where many students hit the mathematical wall.

There are many confusing things about division and its consequences, but perhaps the most maddening is that there are so many different ways to describe a part of a whole.If you cut a chocolate layer cake right down the middle into two equal pieces, you could certainly say that each piece is “half” the cake. Or you might express the same idea with the fraction 1/2, meaning 1 of 2 equal pieces. (When you write it this way, the slash between the 1 and the 2 is a visual reminder that something is being sliced.) A third way is to say each piece is 50 percent of the whole, meaning literally 50 parts out of 100. As if that weren’t enough, you could also invoke decimal notation and describe each piece as 0.5 of the entire cake.This profusion of choices may be partly to blame for the bewilderment many of us feel when confronted with fractions, percentages and decimals. A vivid example appears in the movie “My Left Foot,” the true story of the Irish writer, painter and poet Christy Brown. Born into a large working-class family, he suffered from cerebral palsy that made it almost impossible for him to speak or control any of his limbs, except his left foot. As a boy he was often dismissed as mentally disabled, especially by his father, who resented him and treated him cruelly.A pivotal scene in the movie takes place around the kitchen table. One of Christy’s older sisters is quietly doing her math homework, seated next to her father, while Christy, as usual, is shunted off in the corner of the room, twisted in his chair. His sister breaks the silence: “What’s 25 percent of a quarter?” she asks. Father mulls it over. “Twenty-five percent of a quarter? Uhhh … That’s a stupid question, eh? I mean, 25 percent is a quarter. You can’t have a quarter of a quarter.” Sister responds, “You can. Can’t you, Christy?” Father: “Ha! What would he know?”Writhing, Christy struggles to pick up a piece of chalk with his left foot. Positioning it over a slate on the floor, he manages to scrawl a 1, then a slash, then something unrecognizable. It’s the number 16, but the 6 comes out backwards. Frustrated, he erases the 6 with his heel and tries again, but this time the chalk moves too far, crossing through the 6, rendering it indecipherable. “That’s only a nervous squiggle,” snorts his father, turning away. Christy closes his eyes and slumps back, exhausted.Aside from the dramatic power of the scene, what’s striking is the father’s conceptual rigidity. What makes him insist you can’t have a quarter of a quarter? Maybe he thinks you can only take a quarter of a whole or of something made of four equal parts. But what he fails to realize is that everything is made of four equal parts. In the case of something that’s already a quarter, its four equal parts look like this:Since 16 of these thin slices make the original whole, each slice is 1/16 of the whole — the answer Christy was trying to scratch out.A version of the same kind of mental rigidity, updated for the digital age, made the rounds on the Internet a few years ago when a frustrated customer named George Vaccaro recorded and posted his phone conversation with two service representatives at Verizon Wireless. Vaccaro’s complaint was that he’d been quoted a data usage rate of .002 cents per kilobyte, but his bill showed he’d been charged .002 dollars per kilobyte, a hundredfold higher rate. The ensuing conversation climbed to the top 50 in YouTube’s comedy section.About halfway through the recording, a highlight occurs in the exchange between Vaccaro and Andrea, the Verizon floor manager:

V: “Do you recognize that there’s a difference between one dollar and one cent?”
A: “Definitely.”
V: “Do you recognize there’s a difference between half a dollar and half a cent?”
A: “Definitely.”
V: “Then, do you therefore recognize there’s a difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents?”
A: “No.”
V: “No?”
A: “I mean there’s … there’s no .002 dollars.”

A few moments later Andrea says, “Obviously a dollar is 1.00, right? So what would .002 dollars look like? I’ve never heard of .002 dollars… It’s just not a full cent.”

The challenge of converting between dollars and cents is only part of the problem for Andrea. The real barrier is her inability to envision a portion of either.

From first-hand experience I can tell you what it’s like to be mystified by decimals. In 8th grade Ms. Stanton began teaching us how to convert a fraction into a decimal. Using long division we found that some fractions give decimals that terminate in all zeroes. For example, 1/4 = .2500…, which can be rewritten as .25, since all those zeroes amount to nothing. Other fractions give decimals that eventually repeat, like

5/6 = .8333…

My favorite was 1/7, whose decimal counterpart repeats every six digits:

1/7 = .142857142857….

The bafflement began when Ms. Stanton pointed out that if you triple both sides of the simple equation

1/3 = .3333…,

you’re forced to conclude that 1 must equal .9999…

At the time I protested that they couldn’t be equal. No matter how many 9’s she wrote, I could write just as many 0’s in 1.0000… and then if we subtracted her number from mine, there would be a teeny bit left over, something like .0000…01.

Like Christy’s father and the Verizon service reps, my gut couldn’t accept something that had just been proven to me. I saw it but refused to believe it. (This might remind you of some people you know.)

But it gets worse — or better, if you like to feel your neurons sizzle. Back in Ms. Stanton’s class, what stopped us from looking at decimals that neither terminate nor repeat periodically? It’s easy to cook up such stomach-churners. Here’s an example:


By design, the blocks of 2 get progressively longer as we move to the right. There’s no way to express this decimal as a fraction. Fractions always yield decimals that terminate or eventually repeat periodically — that can be proven — and since this decimal does neither, it can’t be equal to the ratio of any whole numbers. It’s “irrational.”

Given how contrived this decimal is, you might suppose irrationality is rare. On the contrary, it is typical. In a certain sense that can be made precise, almost all decimals are irrational. And their digits look statistically random.

Once you accept these astonishing facts, everything turns topsy-turvy. Whole numbers and fractions, so beloved and familiar, now appear scarce and exotic. And that innocuous number line pinned to the molding of your grade school classroom? No one ever told you, but it’s chaos up there.


George Vaccaro’s blog provides the exasperating details of his encounters with Verizon.

The transcript of his conversation with customer service is available here.

For readers who may still find it hard to accept that 1 = .9999…, the argument that eventually convinced me was this. They must be equal, because there’s no room for any other decimal to fit between them. (Whereas if two decimals are unequal, their average is between them, as are infinitely many other decimals.)

The amazing properties of irrational numbers are discussed at a higher mathematical level here.

The sense in which their digits are random is clarified here

2. Poem Numbers


Mary Cornish

I like the generosity of numbers.
The way, for example,
they are willing to count
anything or anyone:
two pickles, one door to the room,
eight dancers dressed as swans.

I like the domesticity of addition–
add two cups of milk and stir
the sense of plenty: six plums
on the ground, three more
falling from the tree.

And multiplication’s school
of fish times fish,
whose silver bodies breed
beneath the shadow
of a boat.

Even subtraction is never loss,
just addition somewhere else:
five sparrows take away two,
the two in someone else’s
garden now.

There’s an amplitude to long division,
as it opens Chinese take-out
box by paper box,
inside every folded cookie
a new fortune.

And I never fail to be surprised
by the gift of an odd remainder,
footloose at the end:
forty-seven divided by eleven equals four,
with three remaining.

Three boys beyond their mothers’ call,
two Italians off to the sea,
one sock that isn’t anywhere you look.

from Poetry magazine

Volume CLXXVI, Number 3, June 2000


Option 1: Discuss and analyze the versatility and symbolism as described in the opinion article and poem.

Option 2: Write a poem about the world without numbers .

Option 3: Write a poem about the unique nature of numbers.

Reading Session

Objectives: Students will analyze how Mrs. Rowling comes to an impasse psychologically.

Aim: How does the author reveal gradually that the narrator has reached her impasse?

Do Now: Write freely for a few minutes to describe the details that narrator has imparted with her readers, which reveals her predicament.

Pair share. Then share in class

Mini Lesson

Close Reading strategies-

  1. identify points of view
  2. identify examples of figurative language. What do they imply?
  3. Piece together the narrator’s life story by identifying important details that define her life
  4. Sift through her feelings and identify events that actually took place
  5. List details that pertain to her husband, and details to the narrator. What do you notice? What stands between them? Why is their marriage a sham?

Student Independent Practice

Identify details that denote and connote the narrator’s psychological deterioration, which eventually leads to her suicide.

Homework: Identify 3 quotations from Fredan’s article that you feel provide a theoretical lens to help readers understand the short story ” To Room 19″.

Lesson 10

Writing Session

Objectives: Students will analyze how suspense and comic effects are created through dialogues and theme of destruction.

Aim: How does the author create suspense? How does the story end ironically?

Resource: Background information about the short story

Do Now: How is irony created in a literary work? Give an example.

Mini Lesson

Guidelines for using questions to deepen understanding-

  1. Before we go deeper with meaning, we need to have a clear understanding of what has happened. Analysis begins with what is on the paper( physical descriptions or sketches).
  2. Then ask: What is so unique about the language? What stand out to me the most?
  3. What’s the author’s real purpose of providing such unique descriptions of characters or settings?
  4. How does the author’s purpose  relate to something more universal?

Independent Practice

Read the short story ” The Destructors” by Grahams Green and ask questions using the questioning guidelines.

Consider the following while reading-

  1. Consider the symbolic meaning of the  “Old Misery’s” house.
  2. Consider  Old Misery’s and Emily in the community.
  3. Consider how the gang are portrayed .
  4. Consider the motives for destruction in the story.
  5. What do  the imagery imply?
  6. Consider the tone and mood . How are they developed?


  1. Respond to the 6 questions above.
  2. Showcase at least 5 questions that illustrate various reading techniques.

Final Exam Essay based on the Short Story of “To Room Nineteen” by Doris Lessing

Select one of the following topics for your in-class essay-

Essay Topics for “To Room Nineteen” by Doris Lessing

  1. Symbolism in To Room 19 ( Demon and the Green color)
  2. Imagery and Depression in Tom Room 19
  3. Mental Disorder in To Room 19
  4. The Symbolism of Setting and its Emotional Impact on Mrs. Rawlings
  5. Use of Multiple Points of View and other Narrative Styles
  6. Susan’s Final Decision
  7. Why Room 19?
  8. The Impenetrable Relationship of Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings
  9. Social Issues in Marriage
  10. Alienation and Insanity
  11. Keep up with the Joneses
  12. The Dichotomy in Susan
  13. Children’s Role in Marriage
  14. 1950s American Women’s Symptoms in To Room 19
  15. Duality in To Room 19


In your essay be sure to include –

  1. Introduction with a clear thesis and a quotation from Fredan’s “ The Problem That Has No Name”
  2. Body ( 3 paragraphs)
    1. Topic sentence
    2. Context
    3. Quotation
    4. Analysis
    5. So What
  3. Conclusion (another Fredan’s quotation)








Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *