Great Expectations Unit Plan

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

''Great Expectations'' is a novel replete with dynamic characters, meaningful symbolism, and rich language. This unit plan will help you engage your high school students in discovering everything from historical context to symbolism and irony.

Great Expectations

Charles Dickens' classic novel, Great Expectations, follows a young boy named Pip on his journey of self-discovery and moral development. With this unit plan, you can help your high school students explore the depth of the characters he encounters along the way. In addition, you can guide your students through analysis of figurative language, irony, and symbolism. Providing adequate time for discussion and reflection is important when tackling a complex and lengthy novel, and there are resources here to help you guide student thinking, as well. Harness student creativity with a summative lesson and writing assignment. In addition, an extension is provided for students to identify elements of Gothic literature in the novel.

Historical Context

Social class was a big part of European society during the time of this novel. An aristocratic government defined the class of its people and many stayed in the class into which they were born. Explore this Types of Government Lesson Plan to familiarize students with the impact of government on the class system of England at the time of this novel. Consider comparing it to the United States using this American Class System Lesson Plan. This lesson extension will help you engage students in relating to the characters and provide them with a frame of reference for understanding this important aspect of the novel. Challenge their thinking even further by adding this Social Stratification Lesson Plan, as well.

Pip has big dreams of moving from his current class to one of the aristocrats. The Industrial Revolution was in large part the reason this was even possible. Before the Industrial Revolution, classes were typically assigned at birth. Use this European Industrial Revolution Lesson Plan and these Industrial Revolution Activities & Games to help students understand the impact of this preceding time period on the setting and events of the novel.

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