Me, Myself, and I: Examining Personal Identity in Short Texts

Lesson 14


Unit 1

9th Grade

Lesson 14 of 20


Analyze how the author uses diction and figurative language to show contrasting perspectives on the speaker's hair.

Readings and Materials

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Target Task

Discussion & Writing Prompt

How does the speaker's diction and figurative language reveal the contrast between how the speaker views her hair versus how others view it? Provide evidence from the text and carefully explain your thinking.

Criteria for Success

  • Identifies that while the speaker embraces her hair, society sees it as something to be fixed.
  • Explains that the speaker's figurative language for her own hair is positive ("breathing" "ancestors spiraling," "a curtain").
  • Explains that the figurative language she uses for other people's view of it is negative ("this wild tangle of hair that strangles air," "wild curls").

Sample Response

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Key Questions

Close Read Questions

  • What examples of figurative language (i.e., simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole) does the poet use? How do they enhance the meaning of the poem? 

  • Look at the pronouns in the poem. Who is the "you," and "they", and what is their attitude towards the speaker's identity?

  • What is revealed about the relationship between the speaker and her mother in the poem? What would the speaker do differently with her own daughter?





the process of claiming something back or reasserting a right

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  • L.9-10.5 — Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • RL.9-10.2 — Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail 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.
  • RL.9-10.3 — Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
  • RL.9-10.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

Supporting Standards

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Lesson 13


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