1. At the beginning of class, explain to the students that
they will be applying what they have learned about literary
devices in order to analyze a challenging poem: “The
Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
the class a little background on the author, as well
as the poem itself.
the students find their notes on the
literary elements and plot diagramming. Explain to them
that they will be working in groups to analyze a section
poem with the help of their notes and their classmates.
Divide the students into groups of 3-4, giving each a
copy of the
poem. In this first stage of group work, students need
to accomplish two things.
they need to read and discuss the poem. What do they
notice first about the poem? What
is the poem about? Who is the speaker? Have all students
notes during the process of analysis, writing down their
answers to these questions.
the group must complete a partial
plot line diagram, detailing the exposition, conflict,
and rising action. The climax, falling action, and
resolution cannot be determined from this section of
students to make a prediction about how the poem will
end. Allow about 15-20 minutes to complete this first
of group work.
Bring the class together to review their findings from
the first stage of group work. Ask the
students such questions as:
is the plot of the poem?
is the main character?
- What is the setting?
the class characterize the
old mariner -
is he telling
his meaning literal or figurative?
might the albatross symbolize?
For the second stage of group work, the students should
complete the following three tasks:
they must re-read the poem, looking for and underlining
stylistic devices used by Coleridge.
they must identify each
example they have underlined and label it with the
- Third, students
should discuss and be able to explain how
these devices used by the author enhance the poem
overall. This second stage of group work should take
minutes; at the end of the period, students will
turn in their group’s
1. Return students’ notes (which you, if so desired,
have reviewed and assessed) at the beginning of class.
to the class that today they will use their findings
of the previous day in order to compose a short essay
explaining how the use of literary elements makes Coleridge’s
Rime of the Ancient Mariner” more powerful
and compelling. Students must choose 3 literary elements
to focus on, such
as metaphor, symbolism, and rhyme.
Explain that the
essay must be
well organized, with a thesis statement, supporting
evidence (such as direct
quotes), as well as a clear beginning, middle,
and end. Students will have the entire period to compose
their essays, which
will be collected at the end of the hour.
Ask the class if there are any questions. Remind the
that they do not have to summarize the poem;
to identify three literary elements in the text and
explain how these contribute to the compelling and
nature of the poem. Clarify any other parameters
you wish to set,
and then allow students to begin writing. The class
should have at least 40 minutes of writing time.
Collect essays at the end of the hour for assessment.
You may wish to allow students the chance
to finish their essays at home, depending on their comfort
level with timed writings.
work notes and students’ essays should be evaluated for
the ability to 1) outline the plot, 2) identify figurative language
and stylistic devices used by the author, and 3) explain how
these literary techniques contribute to the mood, setting, and
overall power of the text.