The unit plans for literature (Faulkner, Carver, Chopin, Shaw and Duras)

unit plan / theme / literature pieces / love

Essay Topic:

The unit plans for four major literature pieces on love.

Essay Questions:

What are the main plan themes for all the four literature pieces?

In what ways are the unit plans adapted for 12 graders?

In what way love may be considered that the definition of love is the main concern of all the four unit plans?

Thesis Statement:

The understanding of love, as a spiritual and emotional phenomenon is extremely important for 12 graders in order to create their own cognitively based opinion about how different it can be and be able to define what love is.


The unit plans for literature

(Faulkner, Carver, Chopin, Shaw and Duras)

Difference is not only in love and in the manner of

loving, but now also in being human versus subhumanĒ

John Steinbeck ďThe MurderĒ

Title: The theme of this unit plan is ďLove, Freedom and Personal ChoicesĒ.

Introduction: This unit plan is designed for 12 graders. The choice of the theme is based on the age peculiarities of young people of these grades due to the fact that the leading psychological formations of the age of 17-19 are inter-personal relationships and self-determination.

Length: The length of this unit plain is 6 weeks. This gives a student approximately one week per literary piece.

Goal: By the end of the unit students should be able to define what love, freedom and personal choices are; reveal their attitudes towards different manifestations of love and analyze it in terms of personal freedom and choices.

Description: Both of these themes are powerfully revealed in numerous literature pieces and are of an essential meaning for the formation of the readerís attitudes and perception of the world. The understanding of love, as a spiritual and emotional phenomenon is extremely important for 12 graders in order to create their own cognitively based opinion about how different it can be and be able to define what love is. Freedom is a theme that is an ever-companion of love, for true love has nothing to do with perceiving the loved person as an object of possession and suppressing an individual, but a source of self-realization and self-improvement. Choices, is what makes the result of every single situation in the life of a person and the main thing for the students to understand is that it is the personal choice of an individual to decide what kind of love of freedom in his life he truly needs.

Unit contents: To deliver the true meaning of the theme to the students the next literary pieces were chosen as the perfect match:

1. William Faulknerís "A Rose for Emily".

2. Raymond Carverís "What we talk about when we talk about love"

3. Kate Chopinís "The Storm".

4. Irwin Shawís "The Girls in their Summer Dresses".

5. Marguerite Durasís ďThe LoverĒ.

The writers listed above were chosen as the authors of the most profound and deep literary pieces on the topic of love, freedom and personal choices. Each given piece carries a special message to the student. All of the stories and books are absolutely different and this will help the students to find exactly what seems more appealing to them. Students should be able to prove their opinion in class discussions.

1) William Faulknerís "A Rose for Emily"

It is a story of the past confronting the future where the past is represented by Miss Emily Grierson, an old women that has always been different from the rest of the people in town. This aristocratic and grotesque difference made the dwellers of the city develop a ďspecificĒ attitude towards Miss Grierson that was full of reprobation, fear and hidden rejection, which was secreted under the mask of pity.

It is the story of a woman that had had once a chance to get married and become happy but did not manage to do it because the man left her. This woman keeps a secret throughout her whole life Ė she killed the man who was the grease love in her life and is unhappy her life until she dies.

Central questions:

1. Why did Miss Grierson kill the person she loved the most? Was it revenge, an impulsive act or may be something deeper?

2. What choice from your point of view could have changed Miss Griersonís whole life?

3. Can this situation considered to be a demonstration of true love? Why?

4. What was Miss Griersonís attitude towards love?

5. Has Miss Grierson ever experienced the feeling of freedom throughout her life? Why?

2) Raymond Carverís "What we talk about when we talk about love"

It is a story about two couples who gather on a pre-dinner drinking meeting and one of them-Mel, starts talking about love. He cannot admit that his wifeís abusive ex-husband, Ed, could possibly love her while he was dragging her around the room by her ankles. "Thatís not love, and you know it," Mel says. "I donít know what youíd call it, but I sure know you wouldnít call it love." His wife Terri does not stop trying to persuade him that it was love.

Though Terri understands that her ex-husband may be called a sadist and even pathological she still explains his conduct basing on the feeling he had for her. Deep inside she believes that he just could not find another way to free his feelings other then by violence. His love erupted in violence and than he committed a suicide.

Central questions:

1. Why does Terri, Melís wife talk about Ed with some sort of nostalgia though he was an abuse person?

2. Do you consider that Terri thinks that Mel will not ever love her like that? Explain you opinion.

3. What is freedom in love in Terriís understanding?

4. Can the most abusive type of love be ďnormalĒ if it is a individualís personal choice?

5. Can either Terriís marriage to Ed or to Mel be considered a real-love relationship?

3) Kate Chopinís "The Storm"

The main character is Calixta, a married woman that turns out to stay alone at home during a storm, while her husband and little son stay at the store to wait until the storm stops. A gentleman named Alcee appears, asking for shelter on Calixtaís porch. She lets him in and at the moment when she accidentally falls into his arms they free out their passion for each other. It was a storm in the first place inside the house, a storm of a forbidden passion and only then an outside rainstorm.

The fact Calixta is able to continue her married life without guilt and without punishment after her one-shot affair seems extremely shocking. And even more that that Ė Calixta becomes enlivened and even a better woman than she was before. It seems so unreal and strange. It completely shows that the author has sexually-liberated vision of marriage.

Central questions:

1. Does Calixtaís behavior appear to be a unreal and strange?

2. What does this story reveal, except the sexually-liberated vision of love and marriage?

3. Can be Calixtaís affair respected as it was her personal choice and was it something else?

4. Is Calixta ďfreeĒ in her family?

5. What is the true reason of the ďstormĒ in Calixtaís house?

4) Irwin Shawís "The Girls in their Summer Dresses"

It is a story about a couple walking down the Fifth Avenue. Michael holds Francesís hand but keeps looking at every girl passing by with a look of a single man. They start discussing this problem in a bar and Frances seems very hurt. Michael assures Frances that he has not touched another woman since their wedding. But some words he says completely shock: ďI canít help but look at them. I canít help but want them. I love you, but I also want them...".

After these words Frances makes Michael admit that one day he is going to make a move. And when he does that the only favor she asks him for is at least to stop talking how pretty this or that woman is. And they just go on being together and decide to call their friends to spend the weekend.

Central questions:

1. Can Michaelís behavior be interpreted as a pathological attraction to other women he can do nothing about?

2. What is freedom for Michael and what is freedom for France in the story?

3. What consequences will have Franceís choice o accept Michael the ďway he isĒ?

4. Is it possible to achieve self-improvement in this type of ďloveĒ? Why?

5. Why does France make a choice of accepting the fact that Michael will one day make a move towards another woman?

5) Marguerite Durasís ďThe LoverĒ

It is a story where a French fifteen-year-old girl, abused by her ďbeggarĒ-family and living in her own little world meets the son of a Chinese millionaire on a ferry and starts a relationship with him. She herself does not consider this affair to have anything to do with love. She constantly denies she has any feeling except sexual desire for this young man and does not acknowledge it even at the moment of losing him. She recognizes it too late and says: ďThe story of my life does not existĒ. With her lover she is as cold as an iceberg, not letting herself show even a minimal manifestation of love. She is just letting him to love her without giving any tenderness and understanding in response. The woman tries to hold her feelings and does not confess she is in love. The novel is very dramatic and reveals the importance to speak out feelings; it challenges the existing relationship stereotypes.

Central questions:

1. In what way is ďThe LoverĒ a rebellion in the world of stereotype relationships and ordinary understanding of love?

2. It is a love story without any real continuation but with millions of them in the head of each of the lovers. What choices would have changed the present situation?

3. What is a ďstandard loverĒ like? How can be love and freedom understood in terms of its definition?

4. Why cannot an individual be truly free in this type of love?

5. Does a forbidden, imaginatory relationship give a person more spirituality then a real one?


1. At the end of the unit students will work in groups. The task will to reinvent in an 10-page essay the end of each of the literary pieces in terms of their understanding of ďhealthyĒ love with freedom and proper personal choices.

2. Students will write an essay on three literary pieces which had the greatest impression on them personally in terms of their perception of love, freedom and personal choices.

Final analysis: The unit is to get the students acquainted with different types of love, freedom and personal choices through reading corresponding literary pieces, teach the students how to reveal their thoughts and identify their own perception of love and freedom.


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