Sample Lesson: Reading The Alchemist and Sonnet Writing

  • Opening Session: Review yesterday’s reading
  • Work Session: Alchemist pg. 73-107; Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda / Write your own sonnet
  • Closing Session: Vocab Quiz!!

ELAGSE9-10RL2 Determine a theme or central idea of text and closely analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Learning Target – What am I going to learn?

I can analyze Soneto XVII by Pablo Neruda by considering the translations of the poem so that I can write my own love poem.

Opening Session:

Reading discussion! Let’s review what happened in yesterday’s selection from The Alchemist.

  1. What lessons does Santiago learn by working at the crystal shop?  How does the crystal merchant’s explanation for not taking the pilgrimage to Mecca (p.55) highlight the difference between Santiago and the merchant?  What effect does the merchant say Santiago has had on him?
  2. Specific words can carry a deep meaning. The crystal merchant introduced Santiago to the Arabic word maktub (it is written). This is mentioned at several important moments in the story. Why do you think he speaks this word when he and Santiago part ways? (61)
  3. Santiago is an educated young man who wants to learn the Language of the World. He has come to realize in the first part of the novel that there is a language that goes beyond speaking and writing. The language without words is the same language he uses with his sheep. What are some of the literal and figurative languages that Santiago realizes he has learned by the time he completes his first year of work for the crystal merchant? 
  4. The Englishman and his goals are described on pp.65-70.  What is he looking for? What does he demonstrate to Santiago that he already knows?
Work Session – How am I going to learn it?

Reading time! Today you should read from page 73-107 (orange book / 71-104 brown book). 

As you read, fill in the lit circle chart with your thoughts on this section of reading. We will have a brief discussion after our reading time 🙂

Write two questions you can discuss in your groupFind a quote in the book you connect with.  Why? Discuss in GroupConnect what you read to a real world situation.
Discuss with your group

Now let’s talk love poems!

Consider “Soneto XVII” by Pablo Neruda in English and Spanish:

“Sonnet 17” from One Hundred Love Sonnets
by Pablo Neruda, Translated by Mark Eisner 

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,

except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.
“Soneta 17” de Cien Sonetas de Amor
de Pablo Neruda

No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

Robin Williams reads the poem in English, from Patch Adams

The poem read in its original Spanish (try not to laugh at the couple in the background… it was the best video I could find)

After reading and analyzing Soneto XVII, use it as inspiration to write your own love sonnet. Here is the format for an Italian (sometimes called Petrarchan) sonnet, which you should follow exactly (otherwise it’s not a sonnet!)

  • Number of lines: 14
  • Syllables per line: 10
  • Rhyme scheme:
    • A
    • B
    • B
    • A
    • A
    • B
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • C (or E)
    • C
    • D
    • C (or E)
  • The 9th line is called the volta, and it should be some kind of turning point in the poem.

Have fun writing your own love sonnet – you can write a romantic one, or you can write an Ode to Mac and Cheese (or whatever else you love) if you don’t feel like writing to another person 🙂

Closing Session – How will I show that I learned it?

Share out! Let’s take a few volunteers to share their sonnets aloud 🙂