Lesson Plan Spunk by Zora Neale Hurston

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After a few share their thoughts, I tell them that we are going to watch a short video on the life of Zora Neale Hurston. I know most of the students have never been to the southern part of the United States and they are definitely not used to reading dialogue that is written to create a certain regional accent. I hope that by showing them a brief biography of Hurston, they will make connections between her life and the characters in Spunk.

Next I take a few volunteers to answer the question and give an example about how Hurston had to jump at the sun. I tell them their job is to dig deep into the deaths of Joe Kanty and Spunk Banks. The first thing I need to do is to make sure they understand the basic plot of the story. If they are confused about what happens in the story a discourse on literary devices will not go well.


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Each group has to answer the question that matches their group number. They have to use evidence from the text to support their answers. The students have to determine the precise purpose of figurative language and how the figurative language shapes the text CCSS.


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Who is the narrator? How reliable is the narrator? Explain your answer. What impact does the reliability of the narrator have on the story? What is tone? How does Hurston use language to establish the tone? Create tension? Why does Huston foreshadow his death? I divide the questions among the groups.

Mystery, Tension, and the Supernatural in Zora Neale Hurston's Spunk

Four groups will answer each question. There is more than one example of each literary element. I hope that the groups give different examples. I circulate the room to provide guidance when necessary. Once the students have finished the article under the headline: Elements that Impact the Story.

I ask each group to share their write up with the class. Next the class tackles characters. They have to list the major and minor characters, I put the list on the board. The next question asks them to make a connection between Zora Neale Hurston and the characters. They have to fill choose the character they can prove " is jumping at the sun!

We define internal and external conflict. They have to identify both and internal and external conflict and write their article for the newspaper. The supernatural threads the text. After killing Joe, Spunk sees a black panther and believes it is Joe seeking revenge.

Each group shares their example of the supernatural. Finally, all of the elements of orality within the fiction are available to the reader who is brought into the Eatonville community through the narrative style. Her use of orality exemplifies the Harlem Renaissance concern with creating an art form vested in the African American experience.

Her aesthetics of voice, physicality, and community strongly reflect a culture influenced by oral tradition. While some narratives may create tension or dis-ease when combining print and orality, Hurston creates oral-print as a narrative dance: two partners with individual styles, coming together to create something new and beautiful through their collective motion. And the entire community is invited to join in. Basu, Biman. Bauman, Richard.

Verbal Art as Performance. Benesch, Klaus. Brigham, Cathy. Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Third Edition.

Teaching Spunk

General Editor Larry D. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, Crosland, Andrew. Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. New and Expanded Version. New York: HarperPerennial, Frever, Trinna S. Michigan State University, Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. New York: Oxford University Press, Harris, Trudier.

Full Lesson Plan Overview

Athens: University of Georgia Press, Hurston, Zora Neale. Alice Walker. New York: Feminist University Press, Perennial Edition. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Ann Charters. Sixth Edition. Martins, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Perennial Library Edition. Kraut, Anthea.

Zora Neale Hurston

Otto, Whitney. How to Make an American Quilt. New York: Ballantine Books, Peters, Pearlie M. Russell, Sandi. London: Pandora Press, Vickers, Anita M. Walker, Alice. Prefatory Material.

Tenth grade Lesson Mystery, Tension, and the Supernatural in Zora Neale Hurston's Spunk

Zagarell, Sandra A. Rather, I suggest that certain elements of orality are observable across a range of contexts, though they may manifest differently in each text in which they appear, with respect to culture, nation, region, socioeconomic class, gender, individual artistry, and other factors relating to identity and text. While this theory of orality is, to a degree, posited as cross-cultural, I encourage its application with credit to the cultural context of the text discussed.

I do not see direct narration as the only criteria for a creative community, as noted by these examples. In Otto, for example, the characters do not narrate their individual tales, but create their stories through story quilt blocks that are conveyed to the reader-listener, representing the characters as creative participants in narrative construction.

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