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  1. There Will Come Soft Rains By Ray Bradbury

  2. Unit Learning Intentions • To examine and analyse the characters in the story; • To appreciate the style and language used in the story; • To practice skills in Textual Analysis; • To explore imagery and learn how to analyse images at Higher level; • To explore the thematic content of the story; • To develop group work skills; • To learn critical essay skills.

  3. There Will Come Soft Rains This is a science-fiction story that is set in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. The futuristic house is the only one remaining in the city and still serves its now absent family, following the same daily routines as it always has. In the end, a fire starts and the house is destroyed.

  4. Today’s Lesson Learning Intentions: • To read the story; • To test your understanding of the story; • To develop skills in evaluating the story; • To begin working in pairs or groups.

  5. Today’s Lesson Working in pairs or groups, answer the following questions. Each person should write their own answers down. You should answer in full sentences to help you revise the story in the future.

  6. How do you know that no one is living in the house? Identify some of the ways the author lets you know this from the start of the story. • Find and write down the line from the story that lets us know what has happened to the city. • The author includes some beautiful descriptions of the house. Find two such descriptions and for each, explain why you think the author included them. • What happens to cause the fire, and how does the house try to combat it? • Why do these methods fail to put out the fire? What do you think this says about the fire? • Do you find the ending satisfactory? Explain why.

  7. Characters Learning Intentions: • To examine the use of characters in the story; • To begin analysing the characterisation; • To develop skills in group work.

  8. Characters Bradbury’s story is unusual in that it contains no living human characters at all. This means we must look elsewhere when talking about characters.

  9. Bradbury uses non-human and inanimate characters in his story. He does this by using personificationto bring the inanimate objects to life. You are going to work in groups to analyse one character.

  10. Group Work Your group will be given questions to answer. Your answers to these questions will be collected, photocopied and distributed to the rest of the class so it is important that you answer them as fully as possible so your classmates will benefit from them.

  11. Language and Style Learning Intentions: • To examine the language and style of the author; • To begin analysing the imagery and techniques used at Higher level; • To continue developing group work skills.

  12. Language and Style As has already been discussed, this story uses a lot of personification to give life to the characters – particularly the house and the fire. However, there are other images and techniques worthy of discussion.

  13. How to deal with imagery… When looking at images, it is not enough to say what it means. You must explain the connotations of the image as well. This means really getting to the heart of it and being as specific as possible.

  14. For example… As Samantha walked past the bus stop full of wolf-whistling boys, she looked as proud as a peacock. Question – Comment on the use of this simile.

  15. A possible answer could be: This simile is effective because it shows that Samantha was proud, just like a peacock. While this answer isn’t wrong, it doesn’t really have enough depth to gain any marks at Higher.

  16. Consider this answer instead: This is an effective simile because peacocks are proud and vain creatures that strut around showing off. This suggests that Samantha is also vain and, like a peacock, is parading confidently past the boys at the bus stop in an attempt to make them notice her and enjoying the attention they are giving her.

  17. This answer is MUCH more detailed – there is absolutely no doubt that the person who wrote it understands the image very well. This is the level of depth that is required in your discussion of the images on your sheet. Again, your answers will be shared with the class so make sure your notes will make sense to the rest of the class.

  18. As a Class Let’s discuss the following image: The only mention of the humans in the story is the description of the silhouettes on the wall: “The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places … ball which never came down.” (p.111)

  19. Example Answer – Number One The images of the family left behind in paint suggest the lifestyle this family had. The father is mowing the lawn and the mother is picking flowers, suggesting this house is in a suburban area where the gardens were well maintained – stereotypical white-picket fence neighbourhood. The image of the children playing adds to the tragedy of the incident. The fact that they were killed during play makes the nuclear attack seem worse – it has killed innocence. The phrase “a ball which will never come down” makes the image all the more poignant as it highlights how vast the destruction has been: the children will never finish their game of catch; they will never be anything other than images in paint.

  20. Themes Learning Intentions: • To start identifying the main themes of the story, • To be able to select relevant areas of the story that exemplify that theme, • To create a mind-map / revision aid poster for display on one of the themes.

  21. Themes Bradbury’s story is science-fiction. Most sci-fi stories contain some sort of message about what the future could be like. • What do you think are the main themes or messages the story is trying to communicate? • How do these themes manifest themselves in the story?

  22. Themes Having discussed these themes broadly, you are now going to work together to produce a mind-map style poster focussing on one theme. Your poster should include: • What the theme is (obviously!) • Key incidents or events from the story to exemplify the theme, • Quotations from the story that could be used in an essay.

  23. Critical Essay Practice Learning Intentions: • To begin familiarising ourselves with the sorts of essay questions you may be faced with at Higher, • To look at example essay questions and be able to identify the best question for our essay, • To look at how to plan and structure the essay, • To work together to produce an essay on the story.

  24. Essay Questions Hopefully from Standard Grade and S5, you should be familiar with how the essay questions from exam papers are worded. They are always general in terms of the text you can write about and they will ask you to focus on a generalised area of a text – e.g. theme, characters, setting etc.

  25. Let’s look at an example Higher paper. Notice it is split into sections: Section A – Drama Section B – Prose (fiction and non-fiction) Section C – Poetry Section D – Mass Media Section E – Language.

  26. Section B - Prose The questions in this section are split into fiction and non-fiction. In more recent papers, they have divided them with sub-headings. Let’s look at the 3 fiction prose questions. We will discuss each one in turn.

  27. Question 5 • The fact that this question requires you to focus on a novel means that in an exam you couldn’t do it. For the purposes of today, we’ll imagine it says ‘novel or short story’. • ‘important human issue’ – what could that be?

  28. Question 6 • In an exam you could do this: ‘novel or short story’. • ‘conflict between two main characters’ – how could this apply to our story? • ‘important theme’ – what theme does the conflict explore?

  29. Question 7 • Again, the questions specifies novel, but for today we will imagine the phrase ‘or short story’ is included. • This question focuses on the ‘effectiveness of [the] ending’ – why is the ending effective? • ‘Explain how the ending satisfies you and adds to your appreciation of the novel [or short story]’ – why is the ending appropriate to the story?

  30. Which Question??? Using all we have discussed, it is now down to you to pick a question to answer as a class. If we all do the same question, we can all help each other.

  31. Reading the Question Once you’ve picked your question it is important to read it carefully so you know what you are being asked to do. • ‘conflict between two main characters’ – house and fire. • how conflict is used ‘to explore important theme’ – survival? Technology?

  32. Planning Your Essay Learning Intentions: • To look at how to plan an essay to respond to the question, • To understand the importance of planning, • To look at how to structure paragraphs to ensure they meet the standard of Higher.

  33. Planning Your Essay To write a detailed and informed answer to the question, you must think of how you can best organise your knowledge of the story to suit what the question is asking. One of the most effective ways to do this is to make a plan.

  34. Why Plan? When you plan you are: • Sorting through your knowledge of the text so that you know what you’ll talk about; • Getting the ‘thinking’ part of the essay out of the way – if your thoughts are in order before you start writing, all you have to do is write! • Giving yourself a checklist – essays sometimes take on a life of their own and things can get missed out. • Making sure you don’t lose track of what you are meant to be doing – it’s easy to get caught up in analysis that doesn’t actually deal with the question.

  35. How to Plan Spider Diagram Checklist Paragraph 1 Point A Paragraph 2 Point B Paragraph 3 Point C Paragraph 4 Point D

  36. Writing the Essay Learning Intentions: • To learn how to write introductions, • To learn how to structure main paragraphs, • To learn the importance and function of conclusions.

  37. Writing the Essay An introduction at Higher is the same as in any other essay you’ve ever written. It must: • Mention the title and author • Explain what the essay will focus on. However, at Higher, you need to be a lot more sophisticated with how you go about writing it. Look at the following examples:

  38. Example Intro One The short story ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’ by Ray Bradbury focuses on a conflict between two of the main characters. In the end the conflict results in the destruction of one of the characters raising the issue of survival. In this essay I will discuss this theme and how the conflict between the two characters illustrates it.

  39. Example Intro One - Comments • Too general – say who the characters are; • Too mysterious – it’s OK to give away the ending; • Too basic – “In this essay I will…” is not very sophisticated.

  40. Example Intro Two The short story ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’ by Ray Bradbury skilfully uses a conflict to illustrate the theme of survival. In the story, a fire destroys a house and, through the use of personification, Bradbury portrays the fire as a conflict between two sentient beings. This conflict, and the house’s attempts to put out the fire, highlights the theme of survival and shows how powerful the desperation to survive can be.

  41. Example Intro Two - Comments • Specifies characters and themes; • Gives an overview of the story; • Makes links between the conflict and the theme to allow the reader insight as to what the essay is about; • Is subtle in the statement about what the essay is about.

  42. Intro Practice Write an introduction to your critical essay. When finished, swap with a partner to compare how you’ve gone about it. Swap back, and write a second introduction, changing the first one significantly. Swap jotters again to share the intros that have been written.

  43. Structuring Your Paragraphs From S5, (and possible from S4) you should be familiar with the following structure: • P– Point: make a statement that you will explore in your paragraph • E – Evidence: provide evidence in the form of a quotation to prove your point (sometimes called example) • A – Analysis: explain how the evidence supports your point (sometimes called explain)

  44. Planning Your Essay While there is nothing wrong with that structure, using it so rigidly will not serve you well at Higher. At best, you will get a C. Your paragraphs need to contain all of those things, but they should also be more fluid than that structure would suggest. Compare the following examples:

  45. Example Para One At the start of the story we get the impression that the house is able to survive anything. We learn that the house is the “one house left standing.” This lets us know that the house has managed to live through the terrible war which has reduced the city to “rubble and ashes” which creates the impression it is resilient. This impression continues when we learn that the house attempts to protect itself from the wildlife outside. When foxes or birds come near the house it shuts itself up in a way that is described as being “an old-maidenly preoccupation with self-preservation.” Here we get the impression that having survived the nuclear war, the house is determined to continue “living” as long as possible.

  46. Example Para One - Comments • It covers the things in the plan; • Info is all relevant and valid; • It is written clearly and fairly fluently; • It uses good quotations; • It has a slightly formulaic approach – see next slide; • Imbalance between evidence and analysis Points = yellow Evidence = red Analysis = green

  47. Example Para One At the start of the story we get the impression that the house is able to survive anything. We learn that the house is the “one house left standing.” This lets us know that the house has managed to live through the terrible war which has reduced the city to “rubble and ashes” which creates the impression it is resilient. This impression continues when we learn that the house attempts to protect itself from the wildlife outside. When foxes or birds come near the house it shuts itself up in a way that is described as being “an old-maidenly preoccupation with self-preservation.” Here we get the impression that having survived the nuclear war, the house is determined to continue “living” as long as possible.

  48. Example Para Two The house at the start of the story already has the persona of a survivor. We are told it is “the one house left standing” in a “city of rubble and ashes”. The fact that the city gives of a “radioactive glow” creates the impression that there has been a nuclear attack, so the fact that this house is the only one remaining suggests an air of defiance and victory. We already start to feel that the house has the ability to endure adversity and withstand great turbulence, that it is resilient and will not be conquered by anything. This will to survive is further illustrated by the house’s reaction to unwanted guests and strangers as we are told it has an “old-maidenly preoccupation with self-protection” as it tried to defend itself against the “lonely foxes and whining cats” that come past. All of this create the impression that the house can withstand anything and is strong and stead-fast.

  49. Example Para Two - Comments • Has more analysis of the character; • The quotations flow much more easily into the structure of the sentences; • The quotations serve to promote rather than back up claims already made – they are used as part of the point itself.