Lesson 3: Analyzing Plot Conflict
- Learning Goal
- Analyze a Character vs. Character plot conflict.
- Approximately 2 Days (40-45 minutes for each class)
- Necessary Materials
- Provided: Reporting Conflict Chart 1, Reporting Conflict Chart 2, Character Conflict: Dorothy vs. The Wizard (Student Packet, page 16)
Not Provided: Chart paper, markers, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Before the Lesson
Read Chapters 13-18; Complete Student Packet Worksheets for Chapters 13-18
Activation & Motivation
Choose two students to act as classic fairytale characters—Cinderella and Cinderella’s stepmother. Have the rest of the class act as reporters documenting the conflict between the two characters. For five minutes, have the students acting as reporters ask the characters interview questions. If students are struggling, prompt them by asking "What do you want? What are your challenges? Who is in your way? What happened?" Encourage students to act as real reporters gathering information. Together, fill out a Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Chart. Explain to students that a real journalist would answer these questions in an article to give the reader a complete view of the conflict. Note: See Reporting Conflict Chart 1 for specific examples.
will remind students about at least one kind of conflict in a plot—Character vs. Character. A good reader will analyze a Character vs. Character conflict to deeply think about what is happening in the plot. For example, in Cinderella, it is not just that Cinderella gets locked in the attic that is important, it is that her stepmother wants her out of the way so that her own daughters have a shot with the Prince. By examining the conflict, readers can get a better understand the plot of the story. Good readers analyze a Character vs. Character plot conflict by answering Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why?, and How? This helps readers get to the heart of the causes, desires, and obstacles faced by characters in the plot of a story.
I will model acting like a reporter and asking the five questions about a conflict in The Wizard of Oz, recording my responses on chart paper. First, I will ask, “Who is this conflict between?” I will start with the conflict between the Wicked Witch of the West and the Wizard of Oz. I will write their names on chart paper. Next, I will ask, “What is the conflict about?” The conflict is about power over Oz, particularly the Wizard maintaining his power. Next I will ask, “How did it happen?” When the The Wizard of Oz’s balloon landed in Oz, the people thought he was a magical sorcerer from the clouds and offered him the chance do whatever he wanted. He liked the power he had and pretended to be all-powerful. He thought that if the evil witches discovered that he was a fraud, they would destroy him and take control of the city he had his subjects build. Next, I will ask, “Where and When did it happen?” The Wizard lived fearful in the Emerald City for many years, until Dorothy killed both witches. Finally, I will ask, “Why did this happen?” It happened because the Wizard did not want to be exposed as a fraud that had no “real” powers. Note: See the Reporting Conflict Chart 1 for specific examples.
Ask: "How can I analyze a Character vs. Character plot conflict?" Students should answer that you can analyze a Character vs. Character plot conflict by asking and answering a reporter’s questions—Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?
As a class, we will analyze the conflict between the Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy. We will record their names under the question, “Who is this conflict between?” on chart paper. We will answer the remaining questions for the conflict on chart paper:
What is the conflict about? The conflict is about Dorothy trying to kill the Wicked Witch of the West and the Wicked Witch of the West trying to steal Dorothy’s magical silver slippers.
Where and When did it take place? It took place in the Western territory of Oz, where the Wicked Witch of the West rules. It happens after Dorothy requests her wish to the Wizard to return home.
How did it happen?After the group decided to go destroy the witch to get their wishes granted, they journeyed to the West. The Wicked Witch of the West sent the winged monkeys who hurt the Tin Man and Scarecrow and brought Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion to be her slaves. She could not hurt them because of the kiss on Dorothy’s forehead.
Why did it happen?It happened because Dorothy thought the Wizard would send her home magically if she brought him evidence of the Witch’s demise.
Note: See Reporting Conflict Chart 2 for specific examples.
will analyze the conflict between the Wizard and Dorothy by completing the Character Conflict: Dorothy vs. the Wizard Worksheet in your Student Packet. (See page 16 in the Student Packet.) You will answer the reporter’s questions as though you were a reporter observing the events in Oz. After you complete the reporter’s questions, you will write a one page news article using your answers.
will come together and two volunteers will read their explanations of the plot conflict between Dorothy and the Wizard. To help students to start thinking about theme, ask students to discuss whether any of the conflicts discussed have a “good vs. evil” structure (a common element of fantasy fiction). Ask, "Are the motivations of the characters (their desires) what makes them good or evil, or do their actions make them good or evil? Are all of the characters either good or evil or is it sometimes unclear?"
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Build Student Vocabulary vexed
|Tier 2 Word: vexed|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||"The waiting was tiresome and wearing, and at last they grew vexed that Oz should treat them in so poor a fashion, after sending them to undergo hardships and slavery."|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||Vexed means annoyed and irritated. We read that Dorothy and her friends grew vexed at Oz for making them wait. That means that Dorothy and her friends became annoyed with Oz.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word vexed with me: vexed|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||I feel vexed when I have to wait in a long line at the subway and I miss my train. My mother used to get vexed when my sisters and I would wake up early and make a lot of noise.|
|Students provide examples||What makes you feel vexed? Students should say, “I feel vexed when…”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? vexed|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||rejoice, hasten, bulge, contented, modest|