Miguel de Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for his merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography with serious intellectual insight; his collection Essais, contains some of the most influential essays ever written. These lessons focus on a short excerpt from the essay “On Experience,” which focuses on the enjoyment of life.
There are many links to videos, interviews, resources for analyzing the passage from the longer essay. Also included are various interviews from BBC radio on authors well versed in Montaigne’s work, as well as a New Yorker profile on Montaigne and a link to a documentary by Alain de Botton, “Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness - Montaigne on Self-Esteem.” There are links to a Salvador Dali paintings based on Montaigne’s philosophy for students to analyze.
The lesson features a link to a prompt analyzing the passage from “On Experience,” as well as a graphic organizer designed as a rhetorical triangle where students will look for appeals from the passage. Students will craft a persuasive thesis sentence. Instructions and strategies are included on how to teach a rhetorical précis, and hold an inner and outer Socratic Circle. A link to 10 AP-style multiple choice questions is included.
These lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, World Literature or AP English Language or Literature class to prepare students for AP English Language exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities.
The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions.
Tags: Close Reading, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, the essay, philosophy, theme