Flannery O'Connor
Sample Lesson Plan for "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"


If at all possible, the activities outlined in this lesson plan should be combined with a visit to Andalusia, the home of Flannery O’Connor.

U.S. Highway 441 North
Milledgeville, Georgia 31061
478-454-4029
www.andalusiafarm.org
wiseblood@andalusiafarm.org

AMERICAN LITERATURE
SOUTHERN GOTHIC, FLANNERY O'CONNOR
BLOCK SCHEDULING: 1 DAY

Essential questions:

  1. How do we recognize characteristics of Southern Gothic literature?
  2. How do we participate in text-driven student-to-teacher, student-to-student, and group verbal interaction.

Opening:

Quick lesson on the history of Gothic literature (be sure to include Frankenstein and Dracula) and connect to students' lives by having them name modern books/films that were influenced by this tradition.
Review the meaning of symbolism and theme and how to identify them. Have the students pay close attention to two things (such as the heart and the car) in the story that demonstrate symbolism. Tell the students to be prepared to discuss their ideas on symbolism and the universal theme of the work.

Work session:

Listen to and read along with the story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" by Flannery O'Connor.
As a group, discuss the symbolism of the heart and the car using leading questions that will help the sudents recognize and understand how the heart symbolizes Mr. Shiftlet's morality and the car symbolizes the spirit. Also discuss irony as a literary element if time allows. Have students support their ideas with textual evidence.
Students should ask questions of the teacher and their classmates. Students should assert their ideas without being offensive or aggressive.

Closing:

Have students complete an Exit-Out-the-Door by answering the following questions:

  1. What Southern Gothic characteristics do you find in "The Life You Save May Be Your Own?"
  2. What symbolism do you find in the story?
  3. What is the universal theme for the story?
  4. What remaining questions do you have on the general characteristics of American Southern Gothic?

PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

ALRL3, 11LSV1

Lesson plan created by K. Hoyle, Southwest High School, Macon, GA

 

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