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I recently had a day this spring when my students were supposed to begin leading their close reading seminars from our Family Themed Literature Circles Unit, and as we began to schedule them, I learned that over half of the students would be missing on the first day we had blocked out. What to do? I needed a filler lesson. A flash fiction story that we could do in one day. Since in our spring semester, we explore relationships through literature, I pulled out the short story (or is it nonfiction?) “Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood. This quick little piece always generates lots of conversations about male-female relationships and is a winner with the AP crowd. So this lesson can be used as an introduction to a longer unit or as a filler or as a review of the schools of literary criticism right before the exam. No matter how you choose to use it (there are three options on the lesson plan page), you can use it for one day or for three!
These discussion prompts cover several different schools of literary criticism and give the kids some great discussion options. I have included two sets of handouts, one that identifies the school of literary criticism and one that does not.
The story is not included in this lesson.
Please note this story has mature content is not appropriate for younger students.