Stop Making Sense: Questioning Morality through Examination of Style, Structure, and Substance in Historical Fiction

Megan Shellenberger, English, William Amos Hough High School

Final Unit (PDF)  Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


“Stop Making Sense” is a ten-day unit which will be taught as a part of the eleventh grade English curriculum, but can be adapted to twelfth grade as well. This unit seeks to uncover how we make sense of our world through examination of the relationship among style, structure, and substance in fiction. With a focus on close reading, students will explore techniques to help them understand the deeper meaning of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse—Five. Though this is a unit that focuses on examination of fiction, the strategies used for close reading will be helpful across curricula. This unit exposes students to ethical dilemmas and aims to aide in a student’s ability to make tough choices in the present and future. This unit will provide students with strategies for close reading and rhetorical analysis, as well as practice in narrative writing, argumentative writing, and expository writing.