Lesson 1: What’s the Point of View?
The House on Mango Street | 870L
- Learning Goal
- Identify the point of view in multiple short stories, including third person limited and omniscient.
- Approximately 2 Days (35 minutes for each class)
- Necessary Materials
- Provided: Point of View Definitions Chart, Pointing out the Point of View Excerpts, Example Pointing out the Point of View Chart, Pointing out the Point of View Worksheet (Student Packet, page 6)
Not Provided: Chart paper, markers, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Before the Lesson
Read and complete the Student Packet Worksheets for “The House on Mango Street” – “Gil’s Furniture Bought & Sold.”
Activation & Motivation
Have each student turn and share a memory with a partner. When the student shares the memory, he or she should go into some detail, describing what happened and how he or she felt. Next, ask students to share their partner’s memory with the class. Repeat this with more than one student.
will explain that the memories we heard were told from different points of view. When you shared your memory with your partner, you spoke using “I.” For example, “I remember the taste of my grandma’s chili.” When your partner shared your memory with the class, she/he spoke using the third person. For example, “Jason remembered the taste of his grandma’s chili.” Just like when we retold our stories, short stories also contain a point of view. In a story told from the first-person point of view, the narrator tells the story and is a character in the story. In a story told from the third-person point of view, the narrator tells the story from someone else’s viewpoint and is not a character in the story.
I will review the two different types of third-person view: third person limited and third person omniscient. Both points of view are written as though a narrator is telling the story and is not a character in the story. However, third person omniscient is written as if the narrator is watching all that is happening and knows what each character is thinking. Third person limited doesn’t include the character’s thoughts, while third person omniscient does. For example, a sentence told in third person limited, could say, “Jason remembered the taste of his grandma’s chili.” In third person omniscient, the sentence might sound like this: “Jason remembered the taste of his grandma’s chili and thought to himself he’d like to have a big bowl right now.”
When we are reading short stories, we want to know who is telling the story. Is it the main character? Another character in the story? An all-knowing voice beyond the story? This is the point of view. I will use the Point of View Definitions Chart to explain how to identify the point of view of a short story. One way to figure out the point of view is to look for pronoun clues in the text. For example, the pronouns “I” or “We” are used to identify first person. “His,” “Her,” “They,” “Him,” “She,” etc. are used to identify third person. To distinguish between third person omniscient and limited, I will look for evidence of character thoughts. It is important to note is that there may be dialogue in the story. If you see “my” in dialogue quotations, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are reading a story written from the first person point of view, because the speaker of that quotation may not be the storyteller.
I will identify the point of view in the first three Pointing out the Point of View Excerpts. (Note: Begin reading first excerpt aloud.) As I begin reading the first excerpt aloud, I will look for pronouns and clues in the text. I notice that in the first excerpt that “I” is used by the narrator, who is a character in the story. Another clue is the reference of “Mom” rather than, “his mom” or “the mom.” I will write these clues on my Pointing out the Point of View Chart.
I will look at my clues and draw a conclusion about the point of view of the first excerpt. I can conclude that the first excerpt is written in first person because of the pronoun usage of “I” and the reference to “Mom.” If the story were written in third person, the sentence, “I secretly felt sorry for him, but I chuckled at his mistake” would be written like this: “Dakota secretly felt sorry for him, but she chuckled at his mistake.”
I will continue to identify the point of view in the second excerpt, looking for pronoun usage and other clues about the point of view. I will read aloud the second excerpt and point out pronouns that tell me that it is written in third person.
Since the second excerpt is written in third person, I will figure out whether it is written in third person limited or omniscient. I will think aloud: "Does this story share information about what the characters are thinking?" I will record any clues about a character’s inner thoughts on my Pointing out the Point of View Chart.
I notice that the second sentence of the second excerpt tells the reader what is going through Raoul’s mind as he is walking to the pawn shop. Therefore, I can conclude that this excerpt is written in third person omniscient because the narrator isn’t a character in the story, and the narrator has insight into Raoul’s private thoughts and feelings.
I will read aloud the third excerpt and identify clues to figure out the point of view. I can conclude that it is written in third person. I do not see evidence of internal thoughts, so I know that it is written in a limited point of view.
Ask: "How can I figure out the point of view of a text?" Students should respond that they can look for pronoun usage to determine if a text is written in first person or third person. To determine if the text is written in third person limited or third person omniscient, they can look for text that describes thoughts or feelings the character might have.
will identify the point of view in the next four excerpts of on our Pointing out the Point of View Excerpts. We will begin reading excerpt four as a class or group. We will identify the pronouns used in the text, but not those in quotations. We will write these clues on our Pointing out the Point of View Chart.
We will continue reading aloud to see what other clues we can find to figure out about the point of view of excerpt four. For example, does the narrator give us insight into the character’s inner thoughts and feelings? (Have students identify the sentences that refer to the character’s inner thoughts/feelings.) We will write these clues on our Pointing out the Point of View Chart and then draw a conclusion about excerpt three. We will conclude that this excerpt is written in third person limited,and then we will continue reading the remaining three excerpts together and look for pronoun clues to draw a conclusion about the narrator’s point of view.
will read excerpts from The House on Mango Street on the Pointing out the Point of View Worksheet in your Student Packet. (See page 6 in the Student Packet.) You will use what you’ve learned about point of view to identify the point of view for each excerpt and record your reasoning for how you figured out the point of view of each excerpt.
will come together to share our findings about the point of view of each excerpt. We will discuss the questions: "Why do you think the author chose to write the book from first person point of view? How does the point of view impact the reader?"
Build Student Vocabulary inherit
|Tier 2 Word: inherit|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||Esperanza is talking about her neighbor Cathy. She says, “Cathy’s father will have to fly to France one day and find her great great distant grand cousin on her father’s side and inherit the house. How do I know this? She told me so.”|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||When you inherit something, you receive something that belonged to another person. When Esperanza says that one day Cathy will inherit a house, she meant that one day she will own the house that belongs to her distant grand- cousin on her father’s side when her cousin dies.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word inherit with me: inherit.|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||When my grandmother died, I inherited her necklace. When my grandfather died, my son inherited his coat. I inherited my father’s bad temper and my mother’s generosity.|
|Students provide examples||Have you or someone you know inherited something? Will you inherit something in the future? Start by saying, “I will inherit ________________________.” Or “I hope to inherit______________.”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? inherit|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||temporary, raggedy, sassy|
Texts & Materials
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