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Lesson plans for ages 15-18 in Language & Literature: The Depiction of Refugee Experience in Literature

Teaching Tools, 16 March 2007

LESSON 3: Critical analysis

Purpose

The section on Critical analysis allows students to examine short passages closely, providing an opportunity for them to polish their own writing skills.

Procedure

  • Both the poem and the short story are vehicles for the respective writers to convey deep emotions. Which form of writing affects you the most? Why?
  • Not all writing is great, simply because it is published. There are many qualities by which literary merit is judged. At least two of them are revealed in the contrast between Brecht's and Worknehe's treatments of a broadly similar theme, the refugee's sense of alienation in a foreign land.
    These two qualities could be summed up as fluency of expression and evocative use of language.
    • a) Fluency of expression
      Paragraph five of the short story opens with the following sentences:
      After travelling much of the distance back to the camp, sweating and panting under the load of the bundle, the unexpected happened. Unfortunately he met an aggressive local Turkana armed with knives and arrows and was asked to throw the bundle he was carrying down. Poor chap!
      Here, Worknehe employs language which is neither well adapted to the seriousness of the incident he is describing nor to his theme. Rewrite the passage in more effective English prose.
    • b) Evocative use of language
      In paragraph four of the short story, there is a sentence that is composed of only one word. Sometimes a writer can use the physical shape or length of his words and sentences to create an impact. How effective is the use of "Shame" in this instance?
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