This bundle includes a scaffolded literary analysis - argument essay:
1. Lit Analysis Meets TV Drama: The West Wing - Analysis Activity
This 2-4 day unit serves as a review, a reminder, or a ratcheting-up of high school students’ literary analysis skills, and it is designed for early in the school year.* The novelty here is that students are asked to analyze an episode of the TV drama, The West Wing, a potentially more engaging story form than written text, yet one that is fresh and challenging because so few students have encountered this particular drama before. As a stand-alone lesson, it provides an opportunity to hone analytical skills, applying them to an alternative “text” before embarking on more in-depth reading and literary analysis.
2. Lady Macbeth Meets Her Match? - Argument Essay
This engaging, argumentative essay assignment is designed to heighten and enhance students’ analytical and communication abilities by comparing protagonists from two dramas: William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing (“Two Cathedrals” episode).
Students will tackle this question:
“Who is the more influential character, Lady Macbeth
or Dolores Landingham?”
NOTE: Though not required, it is recommended that students begin the entire analytical process by experiencing the Literary Analysis Meets The West Wing exercise where they partake in general analysis of the “Two Cathedrals” episode. This will provide helpful context and equip students well for any future analysis or other pursuits related to these works and characters. So, the recommended sequence of exercises would be:
- Literary Analysis Meets The West Wing
- Lady Macbeth Meets Her Match?
This essay exercise encourages students to select and argue a highly subjective position involving nebulous language, thereby forcing them to define elements and dig deep into character analyses to support their positions. Students must not only develop criteria for what “influential” means, but also analyze these two significant characters whose contexts and themes converge and diverge in compelling ways.