I’ve given a possible lesson plan for each act in
. Please understand that they don’t detail
we will do. The family and universal themes mentioned earlier in the paper will be discussed when appropriate; writing themes will be derived from small- and large-group discussions.
ACT ONE: Part of our discussion will center on education and aspirations. Questions will include:
Why does the Stage Manager feel Joe Crowell’s education was “wasted”? Do you agree? Why? Why not?
What were George’s expectations, hopes for the future? Are his hopes in agreement or conflict with his parents’ hopes for him?
What are your hopes for the future? How can school help you attain these hopes?
Are your expectations in agreement or conflict with your parents’ hopes for you?
After reading “Among Schoolchildren”, we will discuss:
early school memories (which can also serve as bases for writing assignments);
hopes and aspirations in greater detail;
the importance of education as one of the shapes of our “selves”.
A student-generated questionnaire determining parental expectations of what school should do for and offer to students will be administered and discussed.
ACT TWO: Discussion will center on parents’ reactions to children growing up and moving away. Questions will include:
In what ways are Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb shown to be “protective” parents?
In what ways are Dr. Gibbs and Mr. Webb shown to be bemused by marriage?
How do Emily and George react to their parents’ attitudes?
How will Emily and George strengthen family ties?
The Stage Manager’s query, “How do such things begin?”, will be addressed by reading and discussing “The Self-Unseeing” by Thomas Hardy. We will focus on happy times—the little things, often taken for granted, which please us.
Possible writing assignment: react/respond to a view currently held by your parents about
. State the view . . . support it or refute it!
ACT THREE: We will read and discuss Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” and Hardy’s “Regret Not Me.” Thomas’ poem advocates rage as death approaches, since each life must have some regrets. Hardy’s poem cautions against regretting
, having lived a joyful life.
Students will be asked to recall a family member/friend who has died. They will try to evoke that person either in a poem or a “character/sketch.” Personal memory is stressed—rather than what the student has been told about a relative or friend.