Lesson Plan : Recognizing Symbolism and Allegory

Teacher Name:
 Shameka Jiggetts
 Grade 9-10
 Language Arts

  The following lesson is designed to assist students in identifying and understanding the use of symbolism in literature. By expanding the common definition of symbolism to include characters, dialogue, narrator's description, events, actions, etc. as well as physical objects, students can more effectively identify symbolism and the important role it plays in the literature they read. (This lesson is especially suitable for allegorical stories such as "Lord of the filies"
 Following a brief discussion of symbolism/allegory in literature, each student will display his/her understanding of this literary convention by composing a list of ten (10) symbols that have appeared in our reading ("Lord of the Flies") to this point and interpreting the meaning of those symbols chosen.
 "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding
 Begin class with a brief discussion and analysis of chapter four. What is the significance of chapter four's title, "Painted Faces and Long Hair?" Use this summary to introduce symbolism/allegory to students. What is a symbol? What is an allegory? What are some common uses and benefits of symbolism in literature? Ask students to provide specific examples from the novel.
 Reiterate to students that "Lord of the Flies" is itself a symbol; It is an allegorical tale that works on many different levels, thus, reader interpretation of these symbols is of great importance.
 Following this discussion, have each student compose a list of ten symbols that have appeared in the novel to this point. These symbols can be physical, descriptive (i.e. narration), dialogue, actions and/or interactions, characters themselves, particular events, etc. Each example must be listed in the following form: "The conch represents ... because ..." Inform students that such symbols may carry more than one meaning and encourage them to explore as many of these meanings as possible for each symbol selected. Students' lists should be comprehensive and descriptive, and symbols should be discussed in-depth
Checking For Understanding:
 After checking for completion of previous day's assignment (list of ten symbols), place students in small groups for further discussion of symbolism/allegory in the novel. In this group setting, have students come up with a group list of "top ten" symbols by reviewing their individual lists and selecting what they feel are the the best or most important examples of symbolism from the novel. After compiling their "top ten" lists, groups will share their respective lists with the class as a whole. Each group will write their "top ten" on the chalkboard. Class discussion will follow.
 1) What are the similarities in or differences between the lists provided? 2) What common themes are represented or developed by the author's use of these symbols? 3) What significance do these themes have in the novel? 4) What purpose do these symbols serve in the novel? What is the significance of the author's use of symbolism/allegory in the story?
 Discuss, explain, and provide further details. Again, stress the importance of symbolism in this allegorical tale; Virtually everything in the novel has more than one meaning; The novel works on many different levels. Have students turn in their individual lists at the end of class for a grade.

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