Lesson 1 – Reviewing Settings

LESSON 1: REVIEWING GOTHIC/DYSTOPIAN SETTING
Grade: 9-12 (Elective course)
Duration: 54 minutes
Objectives: By the end of the lesson, students will…

  • Consider the role of setting in narrative.
  • Review characteristics of standard Gothic settings.
  • Review characteristics of standard dystopian settings.
  • Discuss the similarities between these two genres’ settings.
  • Reimagine characters when situated in different settings.
  • Reflect upon the relationship between an individual and her/his surroundings.
    • “In what ways are we products of our environments?”
    • “What happens when an individual ventures into a new, unfamiliar setting?”
    • “How much of our conception of a person is rooted in where that individual comes from or resides?”

MATERIALS

PROCEDURE

  • Students will begin class by responding to a five-minute quick write: “What role do settings play in narratives? ‍How drastically can a setting change before the story changes as well? ‍Are there any stories in which the setting doesn’t matter? Are there any in which the setting is the most important element?”
  • After students have been given ample time (approximately five minutes), the class will regroup so as to read and discuss responses.
  • At this point, the class will be split in half, with students asked to independently do one of two things:
    • List as many characteristics of a typical Gothic setting as possible. Then, give an example of one such setting and describe how it exemplifies these characteristics.

[OR]

    • List as many characteristics of a typical dystopian setting as possible. Then, give an example of one such setting and describe how it exemplifies these characteristics.‍
  • After students have independently responded, they will be put into complementary pairs (one addressing the Gothic and one addressing the dystopian). Students will be encouraged to look for similarities as they discuss their findings.
  • The class will come together again, this time discussing what the pairs discovered. As we review the paired discussions, we will take note of the defining qualities of Gothic and dystopian settings, marking any similarities encountered.
  • The final activity of the class will see the students writing a one-page narrative response to one of following prompts:
    • “Take a character that we encountered in a dystopian text and place her/him in a Gothic setting. Describe how this proverbial fish out of water responds to being in a new time and place.”

[OR]

    • “Take a character that we encountered in a Gothic text and place her/him in a dystopian setting. Describe how this proverbial fish out of water responds to being in a new time and place.”‍

HOMEWORK

  • Finish one-page narrative!
  • Read the “Letters” section of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein!

[next up: lesson 2]

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