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'The Flowers' by Alice Walker

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1 'The Flowers' by Alice Walker
Analysis and Evaluation Unit

2 Academic goals: to learn about turning point, mood and symbolism, and be able to explain how these are created in a story. Social goals: to take turns in discussion; to reach consensus; to listen actively.

3 Read ‘The Flowers’ aloud in your groups, starting with number 1 and going clockwise.
Once you have finished, discuss what you think the story was about – the plot and theme. Now find your 3 o’clock date. Starting with the taller of the two of you, explain your group’s interpretation. Then go back to your group. Starting with number 3, share your date’s explanation and decide whether or not your group’s ideas were right.

4 In your groups, number 2 reads out the definition of a turning point:
A turning point in a story is the point when there is a significant change in the way a character is thinking or behaving, in the mood or atmosphere of the story, in the tension and so on. Decide where in the turning point occurs in ‘The Flowers’. Be prepared to explain your reasoning to the class. Once you agree, number 4 should cut the story in two at that point.

5 In your groups, numbers 1 and 2 will now work on the first section of the story, and numbers 3 and 4 will work on the second section. We are going to look at how the author creates mood. The mood before the turning point is much happier than after it.

6 For your section of the story, highlight the following:
references to light and colour references to setting references to Myop’s actions.

7 Now discuss with your partner how these references help to create mood.
You’re going to explain what you think to the other pair in your group, starting with numbers 1 and 2. Numbers 3 and 4 should ask questions to clarify the explanation. Now swap over so numbers 3 and 4 explain their findings and numbers 1 and 2 ask questions. Be prepared to share your discussions with the whole class.

8 Next we’re going to think about symbolism.
In the story, flowers could be said to be symbolic, which means they are used to represent an idea. For your half of the story, find all the references to flowers. Now share your findings with the others in your group.

9 In your groups, take turns to read out the references to flowers
In your groups, take turns to read out the references to flowers. Think about what’s happening at the point in the story when flowers are mentioned. Discuss what the flowers might represent. Each of you should now fill in a table like the one on the next slide. Be prepared to share your answers with someone else.

10 Reference to flowers What’s happening in the story What the flowers might represent 'silver ferns and wildflowers grew' Myop is near her home and picking flowers

11 Find your 6 o’clock date. Starting with the eldest, take turns to share your ideas. If you don’t agree, try to reach a consensus. Now report back to the class.

12 Finally, we’re going to see if you can explain what we’ve learned.
In your groups, discuss the following: How does Walker create mood, use a turning point and use symbolism in her story? Stand and deliver until everyone can explain these three points.

13 Now meet your 9 o’clock date.
Starting with the shorter person, explain what you have learned. The person who is listening should ask questions to clarify the explanation.

14 So how well have we learned? Use fist to five to rate the following:
How well do I understand mood, turning point and symbolism in this story? How well do I think I understand these terms in general? How well was I able to explain them to others? How well did I listen, take turns and reach consensus?

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