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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the story, and support their choices with details from the text.


The Consequences of Interfering with Fate

Despite Morris’ objections and warnings, Mr. White is determined to try to change something about his life, rather than being satisfied with all that he already has. According to Morris, the old fakir who bewitched the paw, “wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow.” The twisted irony of the paw is that it does, in fact, grant the wish; however, because magic interferes with the way things are supposed to be, the wishes are granted at a serious price.


The Danger of Taking Curiosity Too Far

Mr. White isn’t exactly greedy in his wish for £200; it’s more something he would like to have, and it’s a wish that seems sensible. It’s more of a test to satisfy his own curiosity than anything else. However, this curiosity leads to deadly consequences for Herbert, and absolute sorrow for Mr. and Mrs. White. Sometimes, questions are best left to be wondered about, rather than pursued.



The Monkey’s Paw

The monkey's paw is an opportunity for the Whites to seize any possibility in the universe, and to satisfy their curiosity. However, it is also a way to interfere with fate, and because of this, they are severely punished. Fate is something that cannot be changed, and when the Whites attempt to change it with the paw, fate finds a way to set things right.


The Cold Wind

The cold wind is a constant throughout the story. It his howling as the Whites await Morris, who is the harbinger of the paw and their subsequent bad luck. It howls as the next visitor arrives, delivering news of Herbert’s death. Finally, the cold wind surrounds the house as the Herbert’s corpse reanimates and attempts to get into the house. The wind is a foreshadowing of bad luck, and a warning to the Whites as they interfere with fate.



Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
  • [ELA-Literacy/SL/9-10/2] Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in “The Monkey’s Paw”. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from “The Monkey’s Paw” you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for examples that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



Themes, Symbols, and Motifs (Grades 9-12)
Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes, symbols, and/or motifs in the story. Illustrate instances of each and write a short description that explains the example's significance.
Proficient Emerging Beginning Needs Improvement
Identification of Theme(s), Symbol(s), and/or Motif(s)
All themes are correctly identified as important recurring topics or messages in the story. Symbols are correctly identified as objects that represent something else at a higher level in the story. Motifs are correctly identified as important recurring features or ideas in the story.
Most themes are correctly identified, but others are missing or incomplete. Most symbols are correctly identified, but some objects are missing or incomplete. Some motifs are correctly identified, but others are missing or incomplete.
Most themes are missing, incomplete, or incorrect. Most symbols are missing, incomplete, or incorrect. Most motifs are missing, incomplete, or incorrect.
No themes, symbols, or motifs are correctly identified.
Examples and Descriptions
Quotes and examples are accurate to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) that are being identified. Descriptions accurately explain the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are accurate to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motifs that are being identified. Descriptions mostly accurately explain the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s), and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are minimal, incorrect, or unrelated to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) that are being identified. Descriptions contain inaccuracies in their explanations, or do not highlight their significance to the story.
Examples and descriptions are missing or too minimal to score.
Depiction
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are accurate to the story and reflect time, effort, thought, and care with regard to placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are mostly accurate to the story. They reflect time and effort put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are inaccurate to the story. The depictions may be rushed or show minimal effort, time, and care put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Most depictions are missing too many elements or are too minimal to score. Little time or effort has been put into placement and creation of the scenes.
English Conventions
There are no errors in spelling, grammar, or mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions reflect careful proofreading and accuracy to the story.
There are a few errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions show accuracy to the story and some proofreading.
There are several errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. Most writing portions do not reflect proofreading or accuracy to the story.
Errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics in writing portions of the storyboard seriously interfere with communication.




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