WWII Creative Actitivies: Assiging a Literary Analysis of a WWII Novel

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WWII Novel Literary Analysis

Goal: Students will either read an independent novel with a WWII setting or theme or a teacher assigned novel with a WWII setting or theme. Students will also write a literary analysis.

Materials Needed: A World War II novel. This link gives a great number of possible novels. Popular choices include Night by Elie Wiesel, Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene, The Diary of Ann Frank by Ann Frank, Hiroshima by Lawrence Yep, Soldier Boys by Dean Hughes, or Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

Step 1 – Assign students to read a novel. Select one particular novel or give a list from which to choose.

Step 2 – Teach students to write a literary analysis. Explain the following:

This is not a book report. Do not write about what happened at the beginning, middle and end. Instead focus on what the author is trying to communicate or tell what was the author’s point. Examine the literary devices used in the novel:

  • How the plot worked
  • Use of figurative language
  • Tone the author uses
  • Use of imagery and symbols
  • Use of characters
  • Use of setting
  • Use of allusions
  • Point of view

Choose three main ideas that you want to discuss in your paper. The paper can discuss three literary devices used or a more in-depth discussion of one literary device.

Decide on a thesis statement for the paper. A thesis statement is one sentence that tells the reader what the paper will discuss. For example: The novel ________ by ____________ shows the author’s strong sense of morals through his use of imagery and symbols.

Organize it in a five-paragraph essay format.

  • Introduction: introduce novel and thesis statement
  • Body paragraph 1 – one main detail to support thesis statement by using examples from the text.
  • Body paragraph 2 – one main detail to support thesis statement by using examples from the text.
  • Body paragraph 3 – one main detail to support thesis statement by using examples from the text.
  • Conclusion: Sum up paper and leave the reader with an interesting thought.

Step 3 -- Tell students to write a rough draft. Give students the rubric that you will use to grade the final copy.

Step 4 – Tell students to peer edit the rough drafts. Then assign them to write a final copy.

Writing a literary analysis is an in-depth way for students to discuss their books. After students have written their essays, discuss what they learned about World War II through the novels.

This post is part of the series: World War II Creative Activities

A four part series of lessons on how to integrate social studies and language arts with the study of World War II. The lessons use many of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.

  1. Persona Journals for World War II
  2. Lesson Plan: Recreating A WWII Era USO
  3. Writing and Producing a Newspaper for the WWII Time Period
  4. WWII Creative Actitivies: Literary Analysis