This denotation and connotation activity is an excellent way to introduce Fahrenheit 451 to your students. It encourages students to think carefully about Bradbury’s word choices, what emotions they invoke, and how they add importance to the novel’s opening. It also makes highlighting the differences between Montag and Clarisse that exist in the beginning of the novel very easy to detect. The activity will additionally become useful later in the novel as a compare and contrast resource for Montag’s character once he starts to change.
This activity hits a few specific CCSS standards, including:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.10: Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.3: Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
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Keywords: Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbery, Fahrenheit 451, denotation, connotation, close reading, literary analysis, reading activity, reading activities