English Teaching the Love Song of J Thesis

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Teaching the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock to High School Students or Undergraduates:

Learning for History, Literature, and Personal Involvement

Teachers of high school English and undergraduate general courses are of utmost importance. Their class may be some students' only exposure to literature and literary theory. Because of this, teachers at this level have utmost responsibility. It is their duty to engage students, to impress them with the importance of the subject and the contributions it has made to history, literature, and one's personal life. T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is a work of much complexity that can leave many seasoned readers grasping for meaning. On the other hand, Eliot's rhyme, imagery, energy, and seeming nonsense makes the work tangible to students whose idea of literature is filled with dry puritanical poems and Greek epics. Thus, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" makes for an interesting early introduction to literature for both its accessibility and its literary value. Indeed, through this poem, teachers can engage students in deciphering a literary work's importance as literature through from, importance to history through author and contribution, and importance to one's self through personal response. The following lesson plan will address each of these areas, allowing students to use this piece of literature not only for its own value and understanding, but also as a bridge to understanding literature's place in society.

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Thesis on English Teaching the Love Song of J. Assignment

To begin teaching this complex work, the teacher must begin with its form. As a poem, students are likely to feel some alienation with the work at first. Perhaps their only associations with poetry are those formed when exposed to the literary from in previous classes. Perhaps they have written angst-filled poetry and are about sensitive about the topic. They may think that poetry is hard to understand, silly, useless, or even a "disgusting" way to express "mushy" feelings. Confronted with the title of this poem, they may groan in reaction to "another love poem," but just a simple reading of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" will show them that this is not just another silly love song. Thus, it is important to gather student reactions to or assumptions about poetry before the first initial reading. The final objective of this lesson is to teach students that poetry comes in many sizes, shapes and forms. Students must understand that as readers and writers, form should be observed "as a tool, rather than as a requirement" ("Compiling Poetry Collections"). T.S. Eliot's mixture of form and freedom in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is the perfect model for this understanding, but to fully comprehend, students must write a poem of their own.

Activity 1: Ask the students to take out an index card, or supply an index card for them. Tell them to write down the first things that come into their mind when you say, "poetry." They can write full sentences, words, phrases, whatever they want to get the idea across. If they have a personal story about writing poetry, they can choose to write about that. Challenge some of the more engaged students to write a poem about poetry. Give about 10-15 minutes for this exercise.

Activity 2: Ask students to trade cards with a partner and talk about their ideas for 5-7 minutes. Some questions for discussion: How did you see poetry differently than your partner? Who likes poetry and who doesn't? Why?

Activity 3: Ask students to share what they and their partner came up with. What do most people in the class see as poetry? As the students supply answers, write their words and phrases on the board in a confetti or graphite style.

Activity 4: Pass out a copy of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and ask students to read the poem to themselves. They can choose to make notes, or to just sink into the reading without worrying about note taking. Give about 10 minutes for this initial reading.

Activity 5: Explain to students both sound and vision are important to poetry. Tell the students that in order to appreciate the poem fully, it must be read out loud, but first, tell them you want to show them how some poetry is more visually oriented. Place E.E. Cummings' "Snow" on the overhead projector. Then, read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" out loud, followed by a reading of "Snow" out loud. Ask the students to discuss which of the poems is more visually oriented and which is more audibly oriented.

Activity 6: Ask the students to get into their pairs again and discuss what poetry is. How have their definitions changed? Erase the words on the board, and write the word "everything" in block letters. Poetry can be everything.

Activity 7: Ask the students to get out an index card. Tell them that in the next 15 minutes, they will write a poem. Remind them that poetry can be everything, but put some popular forms on the board -- haiku, limerick, etc. Tell the students to use the form as a tool if they wish, but remind them that it is not a requirement.

Teaching "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" as History

Just as high school students or undergraduates will benefit from a discussion of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" as poetry, it is also important that they understand the historical significance of the work. Not only will this enable them to coincide literature with history in order to make an informed understanding of the past, but also this will allow students to obtain a preliminary grasp of literary criticism and analysis. Although this may seem unimportant to students who do not intend to go into a literary field, teachers can inform them that they will use these skills throughout their careers and students and beyond. They will need to think critically when writing book reports, analyzing situations in their personal lives, and making career decisions. In order to think critically, students will need to look at the context of the work or situation that they are analyzing. Looking at "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" will allow them to practice this skill. The following lesson plan is meant to immediately follow the former.

Activity 1: Ask students to get out the poems that they wrote in the previous class period and read them again. If they wish, they can make changes, but they need not feel obligated to do so. Give about 5 minutes for students to refresh their memories of their work and make any changes.

Activity 2: Tell the students to get into partners or small groups and read their poems out loud to one another. Take this opportunity to remind the students that some poems make use of more audible techniques and some use more visual techniques. Ask the students to identify audible and visual techniques. Then, ask the students to discuss the poems in the small group. Questions for discussion include: what is the poem about? Why would the author have chosen this subject? How does the author feel about this subject?

Activity 3: Ask the students to come together as a group and discuss one or two of the poems. Have each author tell a little bit about themselves. Then, have several students talk about your environment, including the political climate, culture of the area, and important historical events. Finally, ask students to discuss what they see in each of the poems that may reflect the current time period or author's personality.

Activity 4: Pass out an information sheet about T.S. Eliot and his time period. Make sure the information sheet includes quite a bit about Eliot's personality, such as his feelings of "self-doubt," in addition to historical information, such as pictures of the industrial revolution ("The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Eliot, T.S.: Introduction"). Ask the students to read the sheet and talk a bit about Eliot and his time.

Activity 5: Ask one of the students to re-read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" out loud. Then, ask students to take out an index card and write for five minutes about what parts of the poem could have been inspired by Eliot's personality or his time period.

Activity 6: Have students meet in small groups again to discuss what they have written. Ask the groups, together, to compose a narrative or poem from Eliot's point-of-view or from the point-of-view of another person alive during his time period.

Teaching "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" With Personal Response

While teaching students to understand literary forms, historical significance, and the analysis that accents both is certainly important, it is also important to teach poetry as the impetus of personal response. Instead of simply teaching literature for its academic value, this teaches students to appreciate literature for pleasure. Not only will this help cultivate in students a love of reading,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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