Lesson Plan : Death of a Salesman - Ethics

Teacher Name:
 M. I. Friedman
 Grade 11-12
 Literature Activities

 Biff, the Golden Boy
 This is the third lesson in a series of lesson that examines Biff's character in terms of ethics. This lesson focuses on Biff's first experience with Willy's questionable ethics. It is by discovering that Willy is cheating on his mother, that Biff first recognizes the truth about his father. This lesson ties the "I'm Number 1!" handout with the "Disillusionment" handout, and allows students to understand how Willy bears much of the responsibility for Biff's failure in life.
 Aim: How can an examination of the cause of his disillusionment explain Biff's conflict with his father? Outcomes: 1. Through an examination of Biff's reaction to discovering Willy with another woman, the students arrive at an understanding of Biff's animosity toward his father. 2. Using this understanding, they determine how much responsibility Willy bears for Biff's failure in life.
 Students will be able to see the connection between the cause of conflict between Biff and Willy, and Biff's failure in life.
 Death of a Salesman "I'm Number 1!" handout "Disillusionment" handout
 Read-Aloud: Read aloud pp. 227 - 121. Teacher reads Willy, and assigns Biff and the Woman. Quick Write: Briefly write your thoughts about what we just read. What is revealed, in terms of the cause of Biff and Willy's conflict. Turn and Talk: Have the students share their thoughts about the scene with their groups. Have them consider what this scene means in terms of Willy's responsibility for Biff's failure in life.
 Classroom Discussion: 1. Throughout the play what have we seen as the conflict between Biff and Willy? How does the scene we just read help us to understand the source of that conflict? 2. We know from Willy's conversation, earlier, with Bernard, that Biff was not the same when he returned after going to see Willy in Boston. What were the immediate results of Biff's experience in Boston? Why do you suppose this happens? 3. What do we know of the long term results of the Boston trip? 4. Refer to your responses to the "I'm Number 1!" handout, in yesterday's lesson. When Willy accuses Biff of doing things to spite him, do you think Willy is right? Why would Biff want to spite Willy
 Whole Class Instruction: 1. Distribute the "Disillusionment" handout. 2. Instruct the students to examine the climactic scene--the one in the "Read-Aloud." 3. Instruct the students to answer questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13 on the handout.
 In engaging the students in a sharing of their responses to the assigned questions, have them focus on questions 10 - 13, as 1 - 5, and 7, are pretty much covered in the "Classroom Discussion" section of this lesson.
 Students will demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of the relationship between Willy and Biff, as well as the source of their conflict.

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