Author:
Emily Scherer, MSDE Admin, Kathleen Maher-Baker
Subject:
Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
High School
Grade:
9
Tags:
Author's Style, Character Analysis, Craft, MSDE, MSDE ELA, Maryland State Department of Education
License:
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Language:
English

Education Standards (18)

Grade 9 Author's Craft: Character, Diction, and Structure Lesson #1 (MDK12 Remix)

Grade 9 Author's Craft: Character, Diction, and Structure Lesson #1 (MDK12 Remix)

Overview

In this lesson, students will read and analyze "The Interlopers" by Saki (H. H. Munro). Lesson 1 from the Author's Craft unit focuses primarily on character. Students will examine how the motivations of Georg and Ulrich drive the plot, develop the theme, and enhance the irony. The lesson requires student to collect evidence, discuss, and complete a writing assignment. It also offers additional stories to extend the lesson. 

Image source: "Forest" by flo222 on Pixabay.com.

Warm Up

Students can view the Khan Academy lesson on irony in preparation for reading the story. The video reviews situation, dramatic, and verbal irony.  

Khan Academy Lesson on Irony

View the lesson above and take notes on dramatic, situation, and verbal irony in preparation for the story you will read today.

Read the text for meaning.

Have students read the text the first time for meaning. A LibriVox recording of the story is linked in the resources that can be played for students as they follow along in the story. Alternatively, students can be linked to the CommonLit version of the story, which allows them to play the story and asks guiding questions to check comprehension.

Today you will read and analyze the story "The Interlopers" by Saki.  Read the story using the link below. As your read, check your comprehension by answering the 6 guided reading questions.

"The Interlopers" on CommonLit

Examine character motivation.

Working independently or in pairs, students should collect evidence from the text that reflects the motivations of the two characters, Ulrich and Georg. Students can create a copy of the Padlet and add relevent quotations to the columns. When they identify common motivations, evidence can be dragged to the center column.

After students have worked independently, teachers may choose to create a class Venn diagram on the board.

Padlet for comparing Ulrich and Georg's motivations

On your own or with a partner, make a copy of this model Padlet for analyzing character motivation. Select evidence from the text that reflects each character's motivations and add it to the Padlet.  Title each post by identifying the motivation.  If you find motivations the two characters have in common, add them to the center column.

Discussion

Students should discuss how the character's motivations drive the plot and help create irony in the ending. Students could discuss in groups or the teacher could lead a whole class discussion based on the questions below.

  1. Why is the word "Nature" capitalized in paragraph 4?  How is Nature characterized in the story? 
    • Nature could be considered a character in the story with her own motivations. Her aggression could make her the true antagonist.
  2. How does the arrival of the wolves at the end of the story create irony?
    • The dispute over the land and the reconciliation of Georg and Ulrich become meaningless when they are trapped and defenseless. The irony suggests that the concerns of men are meaningless to nature.
  3. To whom does the title refer?  
    • Both Georg and Ulrich consider each other interlopers due to the dispute over who owns the land. 
    • The wolves could be considered interlopers when they arrive at the end of the story, as they are not part of the land dispute.
    • Georg and Ulrich are interlopers against Nature.
  4. Who owns the forest? 
    • The story implies that the forest is entirely in the domain of Nature. Man's attempts to claim nature are destroyed first by the falling branches and then by the wolves.

Profile of a wolf's head starting intently to the right.

Image source: "Wolf" by Pixel-mixer on Pixabay.com

Discuss the following questions based on the text. Use evidence from the text to support your answers.

  1. Why is the word "Nature" capitalized in paragraph 4? How is nature characterized in the story?
  2. How does the arrival of the wolves at the end of the story create irony?
  3. To whom does the title "interloper" refer?
  4. Who owns the forest? 

Writing

Students will solidfy their ideas about how the development of the characters contributes to the plot and theme of the story through writing. Teachers may adjust the length of this assignment between a paragraph and an essay, or may even consider making it a comparison essay by including one of the texts from the extension task below.  

Students should address the following prompt:

Analyze how the Saki's use of characterization contributes to the plot and develops the theme of "The Interlopers."

Hands typing on a laptop keyboard

Image source: "Arbeit" by by burst on Pexels.com

In an essay, address the following prompt:

Analyze how the Saki's use of characterization contributes to the plot and develops the theme of "The Interlopers."

You may wish to use the attached graphic organizer to plan out your writing.

Extension

To extend this lesson on how characters drive plot, students may also choose to consider the following two short stories:

Read the following stories and examine how characterization is used to drive the plot and create irony.  Consider how they relate to "The Interlopers."