Common Core Standards: ELA
Analyze a case in which grasping point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).
Breakin’ it Down:
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This can be a dangerous standard not to master. If students don’t catch on to sarcasm or can’t read between the lines, they risk missing or misinterpreting an important message in the text.
At this level, pinpointing the irony or sarcasm is all about paying attention to contextual clues. Students should be able to identify an author’s tone early on in the reading and red-flag the statements, descriptions, or sentiments that don’t seem to fit.
The standard lays out the most important literary terms that students need to know to master this one. This literary terms webpage gives a great explanation of the difference between satire, sarcasm, understatement and verbal irony under the ‘irony’ listing: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/lit_term.html
You can also check out Shmoop’s new literature glossary: http://www.shmoop.com/literature-glossary/
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Using this Standard
- 1984 Teacher Pass
- A Rose For Emily Teacher Pass
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Teacher Pass
- Animal Farm Teacher Pass
- Beowulf Teacher Pass
- Fahrenheit 451 Teacher Pass
- Fences Teacher Pass
- Frankenstein Teacher Pass
- Hamlet Teacher Pass
- Heart of Darkness Teacher Pass
- The Aeneid Teacher Pass
- The As I Lay Dying Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales General Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Cask of Amontillado Teacher Pass
- The Catch-22 Teacher Pass
- The House on Mango Street Teacher Pass
- The Iliad Teacher Pass
The Daily Grind: Teaching the Standard
NOVICE/ INTERMEDIATE: Figurative vs. Literal Language
This is a standard students should have been working with since middle school, but it never hurts to make sure they can distinguish between literal and figurative language in higher-level texts. At this point, students should be getting comfortable with analyzing extended metaphors, hyperbole, and other elements of figurative language.
Now they need to be able to identify when the author is making statements that they don’t mean in order to be funny or critical. Ask students to look for the following:
- Conflicts or mismatches in characterization
- Example: The king walks around bumping into walls and talking to his hand, yet his servants walking behind him call him “Oh Greatest and Wisest King.”
- Events or descriptions that don’t quite add up
- Example: The narrator claims that he loves the mayor’s plan to build a new movie theater, but he keeps throwing in comments that don’t show support for the plan: I can’t wait to see the fantastic line of four customers that show up on opening night. I hope the mayor remembers to extend the sidewalk so there won’t be a traffic jam!
ALL-STAR: Texts made completely of untruths: Satires and Spoofs
Most students are probably already familiar with the art of satire, thanks to Saturday Night Live. Now it’s time to make them laugh their socks off while they’re reading.
An astute reader will be able to tackle works in which the entire time the author does not mean what is said or is poking fun at the topic at hand. For older texts, students will need a lot of cultural and historical background knowledge to understand the humor or criticism of an archaic topic.
Recommended text: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift