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Magical Musical Tour (part 2)

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Lesson 3: Simile

Ask a student to define simile. Work until you get a good definition (comparison of two things using "like," "as," "than," or a verb such as "resembles").

Remind students that the purpose of similes, like all figurative language, is to help the reader or hearer to truly feel what the writer is trying to convey. We use our senses to do that, so figurative language usually involves the use of senses.

Explain that John Denver wrote this song for his first wife, Annie, and it went to Number 1 on the charts in 1974. Because students will probably not be familiar with his work, you may want to mention that he was killed in a plane crash in 1997 when the small plane he was piloting crashed into Monterey Bay off the coast of California.

Play song with lyrics showing, then play again, pointing out and discussing similes. Hide the explanation at the end that mentions their divorce until after they have heard it all.

Annie's Song by John Denver

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,
like the mountains in springtime,
like a walk in the rain,
like a storm in the desert,
like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

Come let me love you,
let me give my life to you,
let me drown in your laughter, let me die in your arms, let me lay down beside you,
let me always be with you.
Come let me love you, come love me again.

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,
like the mountains in springtime,
like a walk in the rain,
like a storm in the desert,
like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses,
come fill me again.

Lesson 4: Metaphor

Ask a student to define metaphor. Work until you get a good definition (comparison of two things without using "like," "as," "than," or a verb such as "resembles" — saying that something actually IS something else, not that it is just like it in some way).

Remind students that the purpose of metaphors, like all figurative language, is to help the reader or hearer to truly feel what the writer is trying to convey.

Challenge students to find out what "the dance" is being compared to in this song. Play The Dance, displaying lyrics.

Ask for ideas on what "the dance" is. If a student comes up with "life" or "the good things in life," discuss this idea. How is life a dance? Is it like a single dance or can it also be compared to a dance in the larger sense like a prom or homecoming event? If students do not come up with the metaphor, play the song again with the commentary lyrics, and then ask again at the end.

Have students fill out the "life is" metaphor, and then pass it to another student. Have that student list three ways this metaphor is true.

Another class period, play I am a Rock. Ask students to identify the figurative language used here. Bring out that it is a metaphor because he is saying that he actually is a rock, he is an island, not that he is simply like one.

Play a second time with the commentary lyrics. Have student fill out the "I am a ______" metaphor, and then explain how it is true.

The Dance by Garth Brooks

Looking back on the memory of
the dance we shared 'neath the stars above…
For a moment, all the world was right.
How could I have known
that you'd ever say goodbye?

And now, I'm glad I didn't know
the way it all would end,
the way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
but I'd have had to miss the dance.

Holding you, I held everything.
For a moment, wasn't I a king?
But if I'd only known how the king would fall…
Hey, who's to say?
You know I might have changed it all.
And now I'm glad I didn't know
the way it all would end, the way it all would go.

Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
but I'd have had to miss the dance.
Yes, my life — it's better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
but I'd have had to miss the dance.

 

I Am a Rock by Simon & Garfunkel

A winter's day
in a deep and dark December
;
I am alone,
gazing from my window to the streets below
on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock.
I am an island.

I've built walls,
a fortress deep and mighty,
that none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship;
friendship causes pain. It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock.
I am an island.

Don't talk of love.
Well, I've heard the word before.
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books and my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock.
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain.
And an island never cries.

I am a(n) ________________________________.
Ways in which this is true: ________________________________________________________________________________________

Life is a ___________________________________________________________.
Ways in which this is true: ________________________________________________________________________________________

Lesson 5: Imagery

Have students look up the definition of imagery in a text book glossary or dictionary. Have them complete the Frayer Model vocabulary development tool below. Note: you can create your own Frayer model tool for any word.

List the five main senses on the board. Play Summer Breeze, asking them to look for language that appeals to the senses.

Play the song again, using a highlighter to note use of imagery the students identify. Analyze which senses are used most often. Why do you think that is?

Discuss that imagery is one way authors convey tone. Tone is the author's attitude towards the subject or story. In this song, what is the author's attitude towards his home? What specific words tell you this? If the songwriters wanted to change the tone of this to very happy-go-lucky, what are some words they could substitute in?

Also point out the wonderful personification of July dressed up and playing a tune.

Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft

See the curtains hanging in the window
in the evening on a Friday night.
A little light a-shining through the window
lets me know everything's alright.

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
blowing through the jasmine in my mind.
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

See the paper lying on the sidewalk,
a little music from the house next door.
So I walk on up to the door step,
through the screen and across the floor.

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
blowing through the jasmine in my mind.
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom.
July is dressed up and playing her tune.
When I come home from a hard day's work,
and you're waiting there, not a care in the world.

See the smile a-waiting in the kitchen,
food cooking and the plates for two.
Feel the arms that reach out to hold me
in the evening when the day is through.

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
blowing through the jasmine in my mind.
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

Lesson 6: Narrative voice

Distribute Explanation of Narrative Voice handout (below) and discuss using analysis questions (answers: 1 – first person; 2 – third omniscient; 3 – third limited; 4 – third objective; 5 – third limited).

Using a piece of rope, have groups demonstrate the four types of narration. Lay the rope out in a circle on the floor. Designate one student as the narrator and three others as characters A, B, and C (print out the role signs (included in the .pdf), punch holes in the top of the page where the white circles are, string through with yarn/string, and have students wear them to identify themselves). Say the name of one type of narrative voice and have the students act out what that looks like.

  • If the narrator is inside the story, the narrator should stand inside the circle with the characters
  • If the narrator is outside of the story, the narrator should stand outside the circle.
  • If the narrator can read the character's mind, the character should face the narrator.
  • If the narrator cannot read the character's mind, the character should have his/her back to the narrator.

Play Cat's in the Cradle and have students discuss first person point of view (POV). How do we know that it's first person? What are two clues?

Play Major Tom (Use the Peter Schilling version — not the David Bowie version.) Have the students prove that the POV is third person omniscient. Identify at least one instance when the mind of "control" and the mind of Major Tom are understood.

The song Major Tom is a great example of the building of suspense. This is pointed out in the lyrics explication.

An explanation of narrative voice

The point of view of a story is the relationship between the narrator and the story, including the characters in it. You are required to know four types of point of view.

  • First Person Narrative: the main character tells his own story. The narrator refers to himself by using the pronoun "I."
  • Third Person Omniscient: The narrator is all-seeing, all-knowing. All thoughts are revealed. The author enters the characters' minds as an observer of the inner man. The story is told in the third person (he/she/it/they).
  • Third Person Limited Omniscient: The story is told in the third person, but as seen through the eyes of one character only. The author only enters the mind of one character, not all of them. This is the most common form of point of view.
  • Third Person Objective: The story is told in the third person and the thoughts of the characters are not revealed. The objective viewpoint is often called the "door keyhole technique" because it's like looking at the story playing out in front of you as if you were looking through the keyhole of a door. The characters reveal themselves through what they say about themselves and others and through their actions.

In the diagrams below, the large circle represents the story; the N shows the relationship of the narrator to the story; A, B, and C are characters. If the line from the narrator to the character ends in an arrow point, then the narrator can enter that character's mind.

Playing with narrative point of view

Using your "An Explanation of Narrative Voice" handout as a reference, note the best answer to the questions. Possible answers are: First Person | Third Person Omniscent | Third Person Omniscent | Third Person Objective

  1. If you are a narrator and you want to be in your story, which is the right narrative point of view for you?
  2. If you really like reading minds, which is the best narrative point of view for you?
  3. If you are the narrator, and you are in the story and then you shift to being outside the story and able to look into the mind of only one character, to which narrative point of view did you switch?
  4. The narrator of a story is unreliable because she can't read the minds of any of the characters and keeps misunderstanding their motives. Which point of view should she switch to in order to be able to read the minds of all of the characters?
  5. If a narrator is clearly biased in favor of the point of view of one particular character, which point of view is the narrator most likely using?

Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin

My child arrived just the other day.
He came to the world in the usual way,
but there were planes to catch and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
he'd say "I'm gonna be like you, Dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little Boy Blue and the man on the moon.
"When you comin' home, Dad?"
"I don't know when, but we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?"
I said, "Not today. I got a lot to do."
He said, "That's okay."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed,
and said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little Boy Blue and the man on the moon.
"When you comin' home, Dad?"
"I don't know when, but we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, he came from college just the other day,
so much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them, please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little Boy Blue and the man on the moon.
"When you comin' home, Dad?"
"I don't know when, but we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired; my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you, if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time.
You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu.
But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."

And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me —
he'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little Boy Blue and the man on the moon.
"When you comin' home, Dad?"
"I don't know when, but we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

 

Major Tom by Peter Schilling

Standing there alone, the ship is waiting.
All systems are go. "Are you sure?"

Control is not convinced,
but the computer has the evidence,
No need to abort.

The countdown starts.
Watching in a trance,
the crew is certain.

Nothing left to chance,
all is working.
Trying to relax, up in the capsule,
"Send me up a drink,"
jokes Major Tom.
The count goes on.

4 3 2 1
Earth below us drifting, falling,
floating weightless
calling, calling home…

Second stage is cut.
We're now in orbit.
Stabilizers up, running perfect.
Starting to collect requested data
"What will it affect when all is done?"
thinks Major Tom.

Back at ground control,
there is a problem.
"Go to rockets full."
Not responding.
"Hello, Major Tom, are you receiving?"
Turn the thrusters on. We're standing by."
There's no reply.

4 3 2 1
Earth below us
drifting, falling,
floating weightless
calling, calling home…

Across the stratosphere
a final message…
"Give my wife my love."
Then nothing more.

Far beneath the ship,
the world is mourning.
They don't realize he's alive.
No one understands, but Major Tom sees.
"Now the life commands.
This is my home. I'm coming home."

 

Continue to Part Three (Lessons 7-9)