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Common Core Standards: ELA See All Teacher Resources

Grades 11-12

Reading RL.11-12.7

Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)

Breakin’ it Down:

It’s your students’ favorite standard (for real this time)….movie day! But seriously, it’s important to expose students to multiple versions of a classic text. Advanced students should be able to critique the creative and interpretive choices of each version, noting where there are subtle differences and discussing how these choices affect the meaning.

And yes, the English gods have spoken: you should make sure you do this at least once with a Shakespearean play.

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The Daily Grind: Teaching the Standard

Your imagination is the only limit here. You might have to explore the depths of YouTube or dig through the discount bin at the local movie store to find adaptations and interpretations of great literature, but they’re out there! This standard lends itself well to fieldtrips to the local theater or a university to watch a live performance. Poets also give readings of their poems, many which have been recorded for your viewing and learning pleasure.

Or you can use your classroom as a stage. Let students develop their own interpretations of plays, poems, or scenes from novels. For added discussion and analysis, tape the students’ performances and have them analyze the merits, shortcomings, and overall effects of each interpretation.

Quiz Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

  1. For each of these practice questions, you will need to read or watch two different interpretations of the same text. Make sure you are paying attention to similarities and differences between the two.

    Activity 1:

    Interpretation 1: Original:Interpretation 2: Modern:
     Genre: Play                                                                                                                                        Title: The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare                  http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=MobTami.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all Genre: Movie                                                      Title: 10 Things I Hate About You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWmjzCZr0Jw or http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi32480537/

       Sir, let me be so bold as ask you,
    Did you yet ever see Baptista's daughter?

       No, sir; but hear I do that he hath two,
    The one as famous for a scolding tongue
    As is the other [famous] for beauteous modesty.

       Sir, sir, the first's for me; let her go by.

       Yea, leave that labour to great Hercules;
    And let it be more than Alcides' twelve.

       Sir, understand you this of me in sooth:
    The youngest daughter whom you hearken for
    Her father keeps from all access of suitors,
    And will not promise her hand [in marriage] to any man
    Until the elder sister first be wed:
    The younger then is free and not before.

       If it be so, sir, that you are the man
    Must stead us all and me amongst the rest,
    And if you break the ice and do this feat,
    Achieve the elder, set the younger free
    For our access, whose hap shall be to have her
    Will not so graceless be to be ingrate.

    A main difference between the original play and the modern interpretation is…

    Correct Answer:

    the conditions the father has set for his daughters’ relationships are different in each interpretation.

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (B). In the movie version, the youngest daughter is not allowed to date unless her older sister is dating, while in the play, the youngest daughter is not allowed to get married until ‘the elder sister first be wed.’ Answer (A) isn’t right because the Tranio says one sister is known for a ‘scolding tongue’ and the other for ‘beauteous modesty,’ so the sisters are definitely at different ends of the spectrum in the play too. Option (C) is wrong because two different men are pursuing the daughters in the play, and (D) can’t be right because the father in the movie is definitely strict and has strict rules for his daughters.

  2. The character of Bianca Stratford in the modern version corresponds to which character description in the original play?

    Correct Answer:

    “as is the other [famous] for beauteous modesty”

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (C). In both the movie and the play, the younger sister is the one known for beauty. In the movie, Bianca is the popular girl that leaves all the boys drooling! Option (A) is referring to the amount of strength it will take to get the oldest sister, not the youngest. Options (B) and (D) also correspond to the sassy older sister, who is Kat Stratford in the movie.

  3. Activity 2: Read the excerpt from the short story and watch the Claymation interpretation. Then answer the questions below.

    Interpretation 1: Original:Interpretation 2: Modern:
    Genre: Short Story                                                           Title: “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/English_Literature/Rose/el-text-E-Rose.htmGenre: Claymation Film                   Title: “A Rose for Emily Clay Animation” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69P3FbzZX1I&feature=related

    When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant—a combined gardener and cook—had seen in at least ten years.

    It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps—an eyesore among eyesores.

    Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town. […] Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily's father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying. Only a man of Colonel Sartoris’ generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it.

    When the next generation, with its more modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen, this arrangement created some little dissatisfaction. On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. February came, and there was no reply. They wrote her a formal letter, asking her to call at the sheriff's office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. The tax notice was also enclosed, without comment.

    What element of the original story is lost in the Claymation interpretation of the work?

    Correct Answer:

    The inconvenience that Miss Emily causes the town is missing.

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (A). It is clear from the story that members of the community are spending time and energy to get Miss Emily to comply with rules and pay her taxes, but in the movie, there is no interaction between the community members and Emily. (Maybe they were tired of building little clay people, or maybe they thought it was an unimportant detail.) Option (B) can’t be right because Emily definitely dies in the video. The creators show her death with the first text flashed on the screen and a beautifully carved clay grave. Answer (C) is wrong because Miss Emily does have a servant that we see briefly wobbling in and out of the clay house, and for option (D) you should have noticed in the short movie clip that Miss Emily doesn’t really interact with anyone except her crush and the servant.

  4. What element of the setting has changed in the Claymation interpretation of the story?

    Correct Answer:

    The house and the neighborhood in the story are in a state of decay, but the Claymation version omits this element of the setting.

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (B). In the story, the ruin of the setting mimics the ruin of Emily, but the creators of the video did not decide to keep that part of the author’s original text. If you chose (A), be careful not to choose answers without evidence to back them up. There is nothing about the video that indicates we are in the age of the Jetsons! Option (C) can’t be right because the second paragraph of the original text gives a lot of detail about the house and the neighborhood. Don’t be tricked by (D)! There are no dates at all in the Claymation, so we can’t be completely sure about the time period.

  5. Activity 3:

    Modern Interpretation:
    Genre: Behind the Scenes Interviews                                                                                                Title: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: The Comedy of Errors on tour (production footage) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G7TX-czblg&feature=related

    Based on the behind the scenes interviews, what artistic choice does the director make with Shakespeare’s twin characters?

    Correct Answer:

    She decides to use the same actors to play both of the twins to add to the humor of mistaken identities.

    Answer Explanation:

    The correct answer is (C). Shakespeare’s decision to write a play about multiple sets of twins becomes even funnier when the audience is also mixing them up. However, there are no instructions to use the same actors in multiple roles, so the director makes that choice. For Option (A), the interviews do talk about making mistakes, but the director is not encouraging the actors to mess up her production! If you chose (B), you’ve mixed up the director’s choices with Shakespeare’s choices. The interview says that Shakespeare’s play is already about mistaken identities and funny mix-ups. There’s no evidence for (D) at all. In fact, when she introduces the play, she mentions both sets of twins.