This is a series of lesson plans for proficiency level students based around stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A. S. Byatt. Set the story as homework the week before, encourage students to bring any vocabulary questions to class.
Here is some vocab that your students might have trouble with:
- the box – the television
- parlour – a room in a kitchen where food is stored and prepared
- applique quilts – patchwork quilts
- rook – black bird and chess piece
- blacking out curtains – heavy curtains used during world war two to block light from the windows of the houses
- taffeta – material made from silk
- to snatch – to take something from another person aggressively
- jolt – a sudden violent movement
- drudgery – a boring, difficult job
- fidgeting / to fidget – to move comfortably and nervously
- to thwart – to prevent the completion of something
- a harlot – a whore / prostitute
- to grimace – to make an angry / annoyed face
Have your students discuss these questions in small groups or as a class:
- What happens in the story?
- Can you describe the characters?
- What do you think of Charlotte?
- How do you think she feels in her marriage? Trapped?
- What do her actions say about the position of women in the time the story was written?
- What do you think of Everard?
- How do you feel for him at the end?
- How do you feel for Charlotte?
- How can you explain the ending?
- Charlotte takes on the challenge of making the quilt, how important is it to have challenges and things to focus your attention on in life? Different stages of life. Things to look forward to etc.