Attached are lists of suggested lesson plans, assignments, and keyword suggestions for Jane Eyre and The Remains of the Day, using the Norton Critical Edition, in a 201M. These two novels make a productive pair in a 201M, as they raise some comparable questions about narrative voice, class, domesticity, servitude, pride, and ambition.


 Jane Eyre ch. 1-13 (day 1)
keywords: novel, bildungsroman, gothic, tale, sentimental, romance, realistic, motif, theme

in class: •Who is Jane Eyre? •Unpack vaginal imagery in the red room. •Discuss Bessie, Helen, and Miss Temple as role models. •Ambition for women. •[Be sure to go over motif vs. theme before you give them an assignment that involves tracing a motif.] •Discuss the narrative arc of a single chapter: why does it begin and end as it does? •write characters’ names on board: Jane Eyre, Bessie, Mrs Reed, Mr. Reed, John Reed, Georgiana and Eliza Reed, Miss Temple, Helen, Mr. Brocklehurst, Mrs. Fairfax, Adèle Varens,  Mr. Rochester, Grace Poole. •how many people have read Jane Eyre before? don’t give away ending. •What kinds of questions is this book trying to answer? ask them to align characters with good questions. •What would need to be part of Jane’s life (that she does not have now) in order to make her happy? •  Consider Imlac’s advice in Rasselas, the book Helen is reading.

homework: (1) Write out definitions of keywords. (2) Based on your reading of chapters 1-13, which of the keywords would you say best describes Jane Eyre? (It can be more than one.) Write a paragraph saying why you chose the keywords you did. (3) In 2 pages, rewrite chapter 1 of the novel in one of the following ways: a) as a first-person account written by John Reed, b) as a third-person omniscient narrator, c) as a fairy tale, d) as a social worker’s report to be placed in the “Reed Family” dossier at the Charlottesville Child and Families Commission office [assignment 3 is Steve Arata’s].
notes for class: sympathy and imagination—18th-century priority on sympathetically imagining what others’ lives are like. 18th-century novel of sensibility or sentiment: encouraged readers to have an “adherence to strict morality and honor, combined with copious feeling and a sympathetic heart” Rasselas (book Helen Burns reads): Rasselas is the main character, whose mentor is named Imlac. “’Every man,’ said Imlac, ‘may, by examining his own mind, guess what passes in the minds of others.’” Later, Imlac warns Rasselas against “that hunger of imagination which preys incessantly upon life”—that is, the danger that wishing for a better life will take up all the time he should have spent actually living his life.

            The author of Rasselas, Dr. Samuel Johnson, wrote several prose pieces about imagination and the responsibility of novelists to write only novels that are accurate observations of the real world—he stresses that readers of novels interpret them as real life, and mistake them for memories of real experiences that they themselves have had just by reading novels, because their imaginations are convinced that this is the case. A novel, according to Dr. Johnson, seizes the imagination of its reader by force, and creates in a person a false memory of having experienced the events of the novel herself or himself.

 


 Jane Eyre ch. 14-17 (day 2)

keywords: theme, motif, reader-response criticism, Victorian period, domesticity

in class: •Who is Jane Eyre? •Historical backgrounds: Victorian domesticity; women’s possible occupations; role of governesses in society; education of women.  •Unpack: “Happily I do not mean to harm it…” (122); “I knew the pleasure of vexing and soothing him by turns…” (134) •Grace Poole’s laugh. •Jane’s passion. •Role of the “reader”: why draw attention to this as a novel, and the reader’s role in the novel’s meaning?  •Go over gothic conventions, Byronic hero conventions (“Byronic” is not in the Bedford.)  •Line drawings of period dress are available in FA library or on the web. •Today may be a good day to introduce the Little Red Schoolhouse concepts of problems, claims, reasons, evidence, acknowledgment and response. Their first paper is due in a couple of weeks.
assignment: Trace a theme or motif that you've observed in the book so far, briefly citing specific passages with page numbers. After the list, write a paragraph-long explanation of how the motif seems important to Brontë’s novel, of which characters it is associated with, and of any themes or issues that it either illuminates or obscures.


 Jane Eyre 18-26 (day 3)
keywords: character, feminist criticism, gynocriticism, psychological criticism
in class: •What is passion? •Unpack: “I had rather be a thing than an angel” (223). •Close-read chapter 24 (pp. 219 ff). • Debate: divide room, have them speak at podium at front of room. Choose two people for each side: all others take notes on opposing evidence. Ask a student to keep time. Afterwards, discuss which team has the most evidence from the text. •Might be a good time to discuss (in terms of future essay assignments) the differences between description and analysis, and identification and significance.
group assignment: In class, we will be debating the question: Should Jane and Edward marry? Each group will be assigned the task of compiling evidence for one side or the other of that question. Before meeting with your group, re-read chapter 24. As a group, note passages that support your position in preparation for our class debate. (2) Individually, write out your keyword definitions.

notes for class:  Debate on Jane Eyre: Should She or Shouldn’t She? [debate instructions by Jessica Feldman]

Resolved: Edward and Jane Should Marry.

Pro: Tim, Kim, Alex, Connie, Kelly

Con: Lindsey, Robert, Chelsie, Katy, Julian, Josh

How to prepare for your debate:

1. Set up a meeting soon! Tim and Lindsey: could I impose on you to get this going?

2. BEFORE you attend the planning meeting, please list the main points to be made for your side of the debate, including brief passages which you quote and analyze, and take them with you to the meeting. This is the document you’ll hand in to me.

3. List the best points, including brief passages worthy of quoting and analyzing, for your side. Together compose the best seven to ten-minute argument that you can.

4. Imagine what the other side will argue, and come up with rebuttals.

5. Decide on one person to present your arguments, the other to present rebuttals.

Format on the day of the debate:

1. Con team spokesperson will present for 7-10 minutes.

2. Pro team spokesperson will present for 7-10 minutes.

3. Con team spokesperson will rebut for 7-10 minutes.

4. Pro team spokesperson will rebut for 7-10 minutes.

5. Con team: 2 minutes for closing by either spokesperson.

6. Pro team: 2 minutes for closing by either spokesperson.


 Jane Eyre 27-30 (day 4)
keywords: plot, class, Marxism, Marxist criticism

in class: [it will be hard to keep the discussion on St. John and his sisters; overflow from Rochester chapters is probably inevitable.]  •Historical background: mad persons were kept in asylums and beaten daily; Mr. R’s treatment of Bertha is relatively humane. •Discuss relationship between Bertha and Jane. •Consider p. 270: the question at hand—is it better for JE to let R be driven to despair than to transgress the law of marriage? Better to save him than herself?  •How is the plot of the novel shaped by the narrator’s vocation as a governess? • Discuss student questions, review LRS concepts such as problem statement

assignment: If your last name begins with A through K, this assignment is for you. If your last name begins with L through Z, you get a break. This assignment is due before Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM. Post three questions about Jane Eyre  to the class e-mail address: ENLT201M-6@toolkit.virginia.edu. (Submissions to this address are sent automatically to everyone in the class.) These should be real questions—i.e., questions you don’t have answers to but believe are important to pursue. For each question, write a paragraph explaining why the question is worth asking and suggesting possible ways to begin answering it. You may want to consult “essayguidelines.doc” in the Materials section of our toolkit site. Before class on Wednesday, everyone should read all the questions posted by your classmates. [phrasing of assignment by Steve Arata]


Jane Eyre 31-38 (day 5)

keywords: feminist criticism, gynocriticism, novel, tale

additional reading: Read the critical essay I assigned your group in class: Rich (469-483), Gilbert (483-491), or Beaty (491-503) from the Criticism section of the NCE.

in class: •Who is Jane Eyre? •Historical background: £1 = approx. $100 today. £10/year was a living wage for domestic dependents. A competency was £5,000 or $500,000. Jane’s inheritance of £20,000 is worth about $2,000,000 today (though it’s hard to compare with our bloated expenditures).   

assignment: (1) Before meeting with your group to discuss the critical essay I assigned you, read the essay and then look back through your keywords and the Bedford Glossary. If you are reading Rich or Gilbert, review in particular feminist criticism, gynocriticism, and genre. If you are reading Beaty, review genre and reader-response criticism. In all groups, consider: What are the critic’s main claims? How does the essay support those claims? Are you persuaded by its reasons and evidence? (2) Individually, in 4-5 paragraphs, paraphrase the argument of the critical essay. In another 1 or 2 paragraphs, consider whether, in your opinion, the critic’s response is an adequate, persuasive, and/or accurate one to the novel. Be sure to keep your opinions separate from your summary of the argument.





The Remains of the Day day 1 (entire book due)
keywords: point of view, unreliable narrator, naïve narrator, implied author, implied narrator, irony
additional reading: Peter Rabinowitz on implied author/narrator/narratee/implied reader
in class: •Discuss what dignity means at various points in the book. Discuss Mr Stevens senior’s anecdotes about the tiger, being a chauffeur, and the General (pp. 36-42). What do these contribute to Mr Stevens junior’s evolving definition of dignity?  •If you decide to talk about unreliability on this day (alternatively, a good topic for day 3) you might want to help them see that Stevens is unreliable because he refuses to see developments which would require his curiosity, and curiosity for a narrator is essential. The narrator is obligated to be curious about the significance of his own story to a certain extent. How does this add to the evidence for or against his being merely a naïve narrator rather than a blameworthily unreliable one? Remind them too of the historical climate: presented with this post-WWII moment, he is obligated as well to articulate a moral stance. His definition of dignity may be said to be unreliable too—or just unstable. •If you are pairing this novel with Jane Eyre, you may want to begin by having the students review the list of questions that JE raised, and then volunteer suggestions to be put up on the board about what questions this novel is raising. Observe intersections between the themes, and ultimately the goals, of the two novels. Talk briefly about the fact that one is Victorian, the other post-WWII. Help them consider questions of class, domesticity, servitude, and narrative voice. Also consider Jane Eyre’s reliability as a narrator, and use her coyness (short of unreliability) to mark a contrast with Stevens’s downright unreliability.

homework: Rewrite one of the following passages from The Remains of the Day in the third-person point of view. OR Pick either a realism passage or a landscape passages and describe in one brief paragraph what it reveals about the narrator.

The Remains of the Day day 2
keywords: close reading, gaps, plot, realism

in class: •For whom is Mr Stevens writing this novel? What does his narratee need to know, need to be like, need to do in order to get the most out of the book?  •Discuss the romance fiction passage on 164-69. Note “footing” wording throughout: Miss Kenton charges, marches, advances into the room, but is very “gentle” when she’s actually next to him. Is Mr Stevens actually passive here? Why does he say he’s reading a romance? Why is he actually reading a romance? Why is this passage located where it is in the novel? What new things do we learn about their relationship? •Why doesn’t Mr Stevens narrate his final meeting with Miss Kenton?

assignment. Evaluate a contemporary review of The Remains of the Day. What does a book set in the late ’50s, reminiscent of pre-WWII England, have to do with late-‘80s America? OR First review what Mr Stevens says about Miss Kenton’s letters. Write a list of page numbers with brief notes on the passages that contain information about Miss Kenton’s letters: content, tone, style, point of view. Then compose a letter from Miss Kenton to Mr Stevens (1-2 pages), incorporating as much information as you have from the text.

The Remains of the Day day 3
additional reading: a few pages from Frank Kermode’s Sense of an Ending, which talks about the way our sense of how a book will end shapes our reading experience from the beginning, and how good books help us come to terms with our own ending in death [Kevin Seidel’s suggestion].

in class: Show one or two scenes from the film and discuss differences/similarities between it and novel.
in class and/or homework: Each student should come to class prepared to discuss one pair of personal and political events that Stevens puts side by side, and explain why they are paired—what they say about each other, why he thinks of them in relation to one another. Which one reminds him of the other? Why? For example, the pair I like to discuss is Miss Kenton’s engagement (personal) with Mr Cardinal’s visit to the house (during the conference with the Prime Minister, political), pp. 212-228. Each student should be prepared to defend her/his theory of why her/his pair is a pair. (This could turn into an excellent paper topic.) 

homework: Rewrite a short section of dialogue that you hoped would be spoken near the end of the novel but wasn’t. Why doesn’t it end that way? OR Write a brief synopsis of the selection from Kermode and say how it applies to JE or RD. OR One brief paragraph on the significance of the title of the book, The Remains of the Day. OR If your last name begins with L through Z, do the assignment described for Wednesday, Feb. 4 (except of course you’ll be writing about Remains of the Day). You must post your three questions before Sunday evening at 6:00 P.M. Again, everyone in the class should read the postings before we meet on Monday.