Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Craft Lesson-Point of View

Materials: Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of Emmett Till By: Chris Crowe

Purpose: Point of view can change the way a reader reacts to and interprets a story. However, young readers sometimes have trouble using point of view in their personal writing. In this lesson students will take a look back (they will have already read the entire book) at the point of views Chris Crowe used to tell Emmett Tills story and how this impacted them as readers.

Script: In the fiction novels we have read the authors mainly told a story from one character’s point of view. In Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case, Chris Crowe uses numerous points of view to tell Emmett’s story. Today we are going to look at these different pints of view, how they added to the story, and analyze how the reader’s reaction could have been different if the story had been told from a different point of view.

First, what is the purpose of point of view? (Allow students to answer then talk about how Crowe used different points of view to tell Emmett’s story.) As a class let’s list the people involved in the murder case.

  • Emmett Till
  • Mamie Till Bradley
  • Emmett’s Uncle, Mose Wright
  • Emmett’s Cousins
  • The white woman behind the counter
  • The killers, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam
  • The Sherriff
  • The Attorneys
  • African American People
  • Southern White/Black People
  • The jurors
  • The judge
Students may come up with more, but this is a good start.

(To students) What do you think would have happened if the story had been told from a different point of view? What would your reaction have been if Emmett’s mother told the story or the sheriff? (Give students a chance to answer). Now, get into groups and write a portion of the story from different character’s perspectives. (Remind students to keep their writing classroom appropriate) When students are finished have them share their accounts of the story and discuss what it was like to write from different perspectives. Discuss how a story can become completely different depending on who is telling it.

If time permits, you may also want to discuss whether it was easy or hard to write using point of view and how students can use this technique in their own writing.