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LIGHT UP YOUR CLASSES WITH A BIT OF LIT

by Annabel
Fernandez.
ABSTRACT
This article explores why literary texts should be used in
the EFL classroom and explores its benefits. A
methodological framework will be examined and a set of
activities is presented. The set consists of five
contemporary and authentic literary texts with activities
designed for teenage and adult EFL students at an early
to mid-intermediate level and includes: a short story, two
extracts from novels and two poems. The author will
finally suggest that using literature can be highly
motivating for EFL students as well as a springboard for
creative writing and personal enrichment.
INTRODUCTION: Why use literature in EFL?
Reading has a strong positive impact on second language
development (Lao & Krashen 2000), especially free reading and
students who report more free reading achieve higher levels of
competence in second language acquisition.
Literary works provide authentic components of language and if we
direct classroom activities to the unconscious acquisition of language
rather than the conscious learning of the rules (Krashen, 1997) we
find in literature meaningful memorable contexts for processing and
interpreting new language (Lazar, 1994).
Literature can provide good opportunities for extensive and intensive
reading. Also it is good for practicing reading subskills including
skimming, scanning, and finding the main ideas. Reading in literature
is a combination of reading for enjoyment and reading for information
(Khatib, 2011a).
It can be a source for language practise in the other skills as well:
literature shows to set a good ground for creative activities for writing
practice (Khatib, 2011a). For speaking purposes, the events in a
poem, novel, or short story can be associated with the learners own
experience in real life. Such a practice paves the way for hot topics
for discussion in language classes. Having the students freely reflect
on the events and having them critically comment is also facilitative
for advancing speaking proficiency (Khatib, 2011a).
For listening purposes, the learners can be exposed to the audio
versions of the poems, short stories, or novels. Also the musical
elements in poetry stimulate the learners desire for approximating
their speaking patterns to the native speaker norms by adhering to
the principles of rhythm, rhyme, and intonation. Students in the 21st
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century live in a digital age, dominated by ICT tools which provide


immediate short-term gratification and in general do not demand
sustained concentration. On the other hand, reading literary texts
requires concentration over a period of time, hard work from the
reader and considerable patience (Carter & Long, 1991). If as EFL
teachers we are to engage our digital age students in reading and
enjoying literature we may as well use ICT tools to our advantage and
present literary texts broadcast on YouTube, poems accessed through
websites
(Sivaplan,
2009)
like
the
Poetry
Archive
(www.poetryarchive.org) or short-stories presented on computer
game video clip format. Many of these activities show that poetry, or
literature at large, can be a collaborative medium which can be coauthored, slammed, recorded or filmed by makers working together in
the same real or virtual space (Dymoke & Hughes, 2009).
The use of literature can also inspire students to take risks with the
target language, enrich their vision, fostering critical thinking,
stimulating their creativity and promote their greater cultural
tolerance and sensitivity (Wen Su, 2010). As literature abounds in
imaginative language it provides students with a context to engage
emotionally with the language and nourish their capacity for
imaginative and expressive use of language by giving them agency
and voice (Sivasubramaniam, 2006).
METHODOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO USING LITERATURE IN
THE EFL
It is essential for teachers to choose an approach to help us develop
our own classroom materials and for using these materials in a way
that is relevant to our students (Lazar, 1993).
The three main approaches to teaching literature (Carter & Long,
1991) differ in terms of their focus on the text. The first approach
regards the text as a cultural artefact; in the second the text is used
as a focus for grammatical and structural analysis and for the third
approach the text is the stimulus for personal growth activities
(Khahib, 2011b).
1- THE CULTURAL MODEL
This model represents the traditional approach to teaching literature,
it requires learners to explore and interpret the social, literary and
historical context of a specific text. It is teacher centred and has been
largely rejected by TEFL. (Carter & Long, 1991).
2- THE LANGUAGE MODEL
This is the most common approach to literature in the TEFL enables
the learners to access a text in a systematic and methodical way in
order to exemplify specific linguistic features (Carter & Long, 1991).
This approach lends itself well to the repertoire of strategies used in
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language teaching-cloze procedure, prediction exercises. (Savvidou,


2004).
3. THE PERSONAL GROWTH MODEL
It focuses on the particular use of language in a text and placing it in
a specific cultural context. Students are encouraged to express their
opinions and feelings to make connections between their own
personal and cultural experiences and those in the text. Learners are
encouraged to express their opinions, feelings and make connections
between their personal experiences and those expressed in the text
(Savvidou, 2004).
4. AN INTEGRATED APPROACH
These models are necessarily abstractions and ideal types but in
reality there is a greater overlap between the models and this is what
I aim to do here, to advocate for an approach that integrates the
three models. An integrated approach stresses that literature in a EFL
classroom can make the learning experience much more enjoyable
and stimulating than classroom instruction that requires mere
acquisition of the linguistic component of the text (Savvidou, 2004).
This approach therefore contributes to students personal
development and it enhances their cultural awareness and develops
their language skills. Students are encouraged to articulated their
thoughts and feelings on texts and explore why they responded as
they did.
As Gillian Lazar (Lazar, 1999) explains:
By exposing students to the rich language of the
text, we can expand their language awareness, their
overall knowledge of how words and grammar can
be used. By presenting students with the complex
themes in the literary text we can motivate them to
reflect imaginatively on their own experience and on
that of writers in different societies. By gently
encouraging them to make their own interpretations
of a text, we can develop their confidence in forming
well-reasoned interpretations of the language that
they read and hear
LITERATURE AS A RESOURCE: A SET OF ACTIVITIES:
The EFL set I have prepared consists of a collection of activities that
revolve around 5 authentic contemporary literary texts: including 2
poems, 2 excerpts from novels and 1 short story. My choice was less
concerned with evaluating the aesthetic merits of texts and view
literature with a small l rather than with a capital L (McRae, 1991).
Therefore I chose texts that can be stimulating for students and that
can be read between the lines. I also bore in mind the language
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difficulty factor because access is restricted if students cannot attain


a basic level of comprehension and as a general rule it is better to
choose texts which are not too far beyond their normal reading
comprehension (Carter & Long, 1991).
Another key factor for my choice of texts was access on an
experiential level, that is, students need to be able to identify with the
experiences, thoughts and situations depicted in the text to be able to
discover the kind of pleasure and enjoyment that comes from making
the text their own knowledge of themselves and of the world that
they inhabit. The themes of the texts chosen are: love and loss,
sadness over a deprived childhood, racial, sexual and aesthetical
discrimination, everyday pleasures and dreams.
The extracts from novels are both letters, one is from Angelas
Ashes by Frank McCourt and the other one from Eat, Pray, Love by
Elizabeth Gilbert both novels have been made into films. Students
enjoy watching a film and it is more likely for them to have seen the
film version of a book than it is for them to have read the text so it is
engaging and motivating to appeal to texts they have had access to
outside the EFL classroom. If the text is difficult students may find
than the film is a superb way in, (Carter & Long, 1991), however in
the activities I have designed case I have just used the film trailers a
lead-in activity into the text.
However here the film trailers are used as an aid in language teaching
but I do not dispense with the text but supplement the study of the
printed version. I also use two captions of the film Pretty Woman to
make students think on a deeper level of the narrative voice of Grace
Nichols poem The Fat Black Woman goes shopping and to foster
group discussion.
Listening to a recording or watching a video clip of a literary work
may certainly be stimulating for some students and I have used
Dorothea Grossmans reading of her own poem Future Past and a
film that illustrates Dan Rhodes short story Toy. Though watching
and listening can be a passive process, (Carter & Long, 1991), reading
a literary work is certainly not passive, and though reading literature
may be harder it is part of the learning process and, hopefully, a
pleasure. However in this process of discovery the audio and video
feature of the literary texts help me to capture students attention and
interest and then allows me to move on to work on the literary texts.
This set of activities is designed to be used with teenage and adult
EFL in 2nd and 3rd level at EOIs, so at a pre-intermediate to
intermediate level. There is practice for the four skills and for what
John McRae calls the fifth skill: thinking.
Following Lazar guidelines (Lazar, 1999) I have prepared different
type of activities and for every text and there are:
1)
2)
3)
4)

Warm-up activities
Vocabulary activities
Comprehension activities,
Activities concerning the language of the text
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5) Activities to encourage inference and interpretation


6) Activities to encourage creative writing
The questions posed are aimed at different levels of understanding of
the texts, and they range from low-order to high-order and they try to
help students work out for themselves what the texts mean. There are
language-based vocabulary activities to help them deal with texts and
encourage them to find the meaning of words from context. On the
one hand there are factual reading comprehension activities that
focus on the factual meaning of the text and on the other hand there
are activities concerning the language of the text which focus on the
linguistic and literary qualities of the text: unusual uses of collocation,
binary oppositions, figurative language, rhyme and style.There are
activities designed to encourage inference and interpretation, to
make students reflect on their own experiences in connection with the
texts.
Finally creative response activities are designed to encourage
students to take risks and play with the language creatively and
imaginatively (McRae, 1991) either speaking or writing. If we regard
creative writing as the production of texts which have an aesthetic
rather than a purely informative, instrumental or pragmatic purpose
(Maley,2009). One of the main feature of creative writing texts is a
playful engagement with language, stretching and testing its rules to
the limit in a guilt-free atmosphere, where risk is encouraged (Maley,
2009).
Creative writing puts the emphasis on the right side of the brain, with
a focus on feelings, physical sensations, intuition and musicality which
is a healthy restoration of the balance between logical and intuitive
faculties (Maley, 2009) and it increases students self-confidence and
self-esteem because they discover things for themselves about the
language and about themselves too (Maley, 2009).
In a nutshell, these activities are designed to help students discover
the kind of pleasure and enjoyment which comes from making a text
their own and to create conditions under which students can develop
genuine response to literary texts. As Elliott (Elliott, 1999) points out
My feeling is that literature can only be understood if
the student develops literary competence. The exact
nature of this competence is hard to define but it must
intricately involved with readers response.
WRAPPING IT UP: A conclusion.
After working with my students with this set of activities I can
conclude that literature provides a motivating drive for language
learning and teaching due to its spectacular features not readily found
in any other texts (Khabib, 2011a). Literature as an EFL resource is a
priceless pedagogic tool and the more it is used in ELT the more
students will be able to acquire literary competence, use their critical
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skills, grow personally and gain both systematic knowledge of the


language and meanings interpreted. Furthermore it develops EFL
students motivation in learning English and in reading literature and
it enhances the enjoyment of reading in English.
Students showed deep personal involvement with the texts, engaging
imaginatively with literature and shifting the focus of their attention
beyond the more mechanical aspects of the foreign language system
and interpretations (Sivasubramaniam, 2006). The creative writing
texts I corrected were rich, interesting and genuinely enjoyable to
read possibly the best pieces of writing I have ever come across.
As EFL teachers we can use our particular stage to promote interest
on reading and literature and its wealth, in the belief that literature
provides language learners with highly motivational material of an
incomparably rich nature (Elliot 1990). Probably the key to success in
using literature in the EFL classroom depends on the works selected
and in working in a communicative and interactive way which
involve students experiencing language, playing with language,
analysing language, responding to language and enjoying language
(OSullivan, 1991). Last but not least, another key component which
underlies students successful engagement with the literature in EFL
is teachers enthusiasm for it and their ability to convey this
enthusiasm to students and to help them respond with the same
enjoyment and pleasure. Motivated teachers can be highly motivating
for their students.
Furthermore I believe that we as teachers should engage with
extensive and intensive reading ourselves and in the same spirit in
creative writing , (Maley, 2009),. The benefits of teachers
participating in creative writing are remarkable: it keeps our English
fresh and vibrant and it has an effect on the writers level of energy in
general (Maley, 2009) and this inevitably impacts on our relationships
with students. I think it is worth embarking on this journey that is
rewarded with motivated and therefore motivating teachers,
motivating classes and motivated students.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Akyel, A., & Yalcdin, E. (1990). Literature in the EFL classes: A study of
goal achievement incongruence. ELT Journal, 44.
Carter, Ronald & Long, Michael. (1991). Teaching Literature, Longman.
Duff, Alan and Alan Maley. (1990). Literature, Oxford University Press.
Dymoke, Sue & Hughes, Janette (2009). Using a poetry wiki: How can
the medium support pre-service teachers of English in their
professional learning about writing poetry and teaching poetry writing
in a digital age?. English Teaching: Practice and Critique December,
2009, Volume 8, Number 3
Elliott, Roger. (1990). Encouraging reader-response to literature in ESL
situations, ELT Journal.
Hae-Ri Kim. (2003). Literature circles in EFL curricula: Establishing a
framework.
The English Teacher. XXXII, 1-15
Khatib, M., Rezaei, S., Derakhshan, A. (2011a). Literature in EFL/ESL
Classroom. English Language Teaching Journal 4(1)
Khatib, M., Rezaei, S., Derakhshan, A. (2011b). Why & Why Not
Literature: A Task-Based Approach to Teaching Literature.
International Journal of English Linguistics 1 (1)
Krashen, Stephen. D. (1982). Principles and practice in second
language acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Krashen, Stephen. D. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and
implications. Harlow: Longman.
Lazar, Gillian. (1993). Literature and Language Teaching: A Guide for
Teachers and Trainers, Cambridge Teacher Training and Development.
Lazar,
Gillian.
ELTJournal,48(2),

(1994).

Using

literature

at

lower

levels.

Lazar, Gillian. (1999). A window on literature, Cambridge University


Press.
Maley, Alan. (2009). Creative Writing for language learners and
teachers,
British
Council.
http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/creative-writinglanguage-learners-teachers.
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Mason, B. & Krashen, S. (1997). Extensive reading in English as a


foreign language. System, 25(1), 91-102.
McRae, J. (1991). Literature with a small l. London: Macmillan.
McRae, John.(1999) Now Read on. London: Routledge.
OSullivan, Radhika. (1991). Literature in the Language Classroom,
The English Teacher Vol XX October.
Savvidou, Christine. (2004) An Integrated Approach to Teaching
Literature in the EFL Classroom, The Internet TESL Journal.
Shanahan, D. (1997). Articulating the relationship between language
and culture: Toward a new agenda for foreign language teaching and
research. The Modern Language Journal, 81(11).
Sivapalan, Subarna and Wan Ahmad , Wan Fatimah and Ishak, Nur
Khairun Nisya (2009) A web-based multimedia approach to literature
in Malaysian Secondary Schools: Design and learning preferences. In:
18TH Melta International Conference, June 11-13, 2009, Johor Bahru
Sivasubramaniam, Sivakumar. (2006). Promoting the Prevalence of
Literature in the Practice of Foreign and Second Language Education:
Issues and Insights Asian EFL Journal, Volume 8, Number 4 254.
Wen Su, Shao. (2010). Motivating and Justifiable: Teaching Western
Literature to EFL Students at a University of Science and
Technology. TESL-EJ, 14.1.

ANGELAS ASHES by Frank McCourt


WARMING UP

What school did you use to go to as a child? Did you


have Religious Education as a subject?
Were you baptized? Did you learn the Catechism?
Did you do the Communion and Confirmation?

What kind of written assignments were you given at


school? Did you enjoy them? What did you like
writing about best?

Where did you grow up? What was the weather like?

ABOUT THE BOOK


Angela's Ashes is Frank McCourt's autobiographical novel told from
his own point-of-view as a child. Because of this perspective, the
novel is often as funny as it is tragic.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzAyZygyfjo
VOCABULARY
Match the words with their definitions below:
1. Manna
2. Fists
3. Consumption
4. Damp
A) a hand with the fingers and thumb held tightly in
B) slightly wet, especially in a way that is not pleasant or
comfortable
C) (in the Bible) a food which dropped from heaven and
prevented Moses and his people from dying of hunger in
the desert
D) old-fashioned for tuberculosis

READING AN EXTRACT

JESUS AND THE WEATHER


This is my composition. I don't think Jesus Who is Our Lord would
have liked the weather in Limerick because it's always raining and
the Shannon keeps the whole city damp. My father says the
Shannon is a killer river because it killed my two brothers. When
you look at pictures of Jesus He's always wandering around ancient
Israel in a sheet. It never rains there and you never hear of anyone
coughing or getting consumption or anything like that and no one
has a job there because all they do is stand around and eat manna
and shake their fists and go to crucifixions.
Anytime Jesus got hungry all He had to do was go up the road to a
fig tree or an orange tree and have His fill. If He wanted a pint He
could wave His hand over a big glass and there was the pint. Or He
could visit Mary Magdalene and her sister, Martha, and they'd give
Him His dinner no questions asked and He'd get his feet washed
and dried with Mary Magdalene's hair while Martha washed the
dishes, which I don't think is fair. Why should she have to wash the
dishes while her sister sits out there chatting away with Our Lord?
It's a good thing Jesus decided to be born Jewish in that warm
place because if he was born in Limerick he'd catch the
consumption and be dead in a month and there wouldn't be any
Catholic Church and there wouldn't be any Communion or
Confirmation and we wouldn't have to learn the catechism and
write compositions about Him.
The End.
READING COMPREHENSION EXERCISES
1. In the text there is a clear contrast between life in Ancient Israel
and life in Limerick in the 1940s. Classify the words used to
describe each place:
LIMERICK
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

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ANCIENT ISRAEL
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________
___________________

2. What are the connotations linked to each place?


3. What has the writer chosen to focus on and why?
4. What is the relationship of character to place?
5. What does the extract suggest about the story?
6. Write your own composition from the perspective of an eightyear-old explaining how your childhood was affected by the
place and the time you were brought up in. Make it as
humorous as you can.

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The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping


by Grace Nichols
Shopping in London winter
is a real drag for the fat black woman
going from store to store
in search of accommodating clothes
and the weather so cold
Look at the frozen thin mannequins
fixing her with grin
and the pretty face salesgals
exchanging slimming glances
thinking she dont notice
Lord is aggravating
Nothing soft and bright and billowing
to flow like breezy sunlight
when she walking
The fat black woman curses in Swahili/Yoruba
and nation language under her breathing
all this journeying and journeying
The fat black woman could only conclude
that when it come to fashion
the choice is lean
Nothing much beyond size 14

The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping by Grace


Nichols
WARM UP ACTIVITY
B

STUDENT

When was the last time you went shopping for clothes?
What did you buy?
Did you try it on? Was it the right size?
Was the shop assistant helpful? Why/not?
Do you enjoy shopping for clothes? Why/not?
READING ACTIIVTY

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Jigsaw reading. Your partner has the first half of the poem and you
have the second one. Explain to each other in your own words what
the text is about.
Shopping in London winter
is a real drag for the fat black woman
going from store to store
in search of accommodating clothes
and de weather so cold
Look at the frozen thin mannequins
fixing her with grin
and de pretty face salesgals
exchanging slimming glances
thinking she dont notice
Lord is aggravating

GRACE NICHOLS

SPEAKING
Ask each other questions about their picture to find similarities and
differences between both pictures.

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The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping by


Grace Nichols
WARM UP ACTIVITY
A

STUDENT

When was the last time you went shopping for clothes?
What did you buy?
Did you try it on? Was it the right size?
Was the shop assistant helpful? Why/not?
Do you enjoy shopping for clothes? Why/not?
READING ACTIVITY

Jigsaw reading. Your partner has the first half of the poem and you
have the second one. Explain to each other in your own words
what the text is about.
Nothing soft and bright and billowing
to flow like breezy sunlight
when she walking
The fat black woman curses in
Swahili/Yoruba
and nation language under her
breathing
all this journeying and journeying
The fat black woman could only
conclude
that when it come to fashion
the choice is lean
Nothing much beyond size 14
GRACE
NICHOLS
SPEAKING
Ask each other questions about their picture to find similarities and
differences between both pictures.

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The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping by Grace


Nichols
READING ACTIVITIES
2.

In the poem there is a clear contrast


between Britain and British women and the
Fat Black Woman and her country of origin.
Classify words that are connected to each of
these ideas:

BRITAIN
BLACK WOMAN
______________________
________________________
______________________
________________________
______________________
________________________
BRITISH WOMEN
______________________
______________________
______________________

BLACK WOMANS COUNTRY


________________________
________________________
________________________

3.

In the poem you will find examples of Patwa English, an


English-lexified creole language with West African influences
spoken primarily in Jamaica. Write down a few examples.

4.

Yoruba and Swahili are spoken in the countries coloured in


yellow in the maps below. Do you think the Fat Black Woman is
from any of those countries? Who may think so, and why?

15

5. Does the fat black woman enjoy shopping? Find evidence in the
text that backs up your answer.
6. Student A watches a clip and describes what he/she sees to
Student B. Now swap Student B watches another clip and
describes it. Together find the differences and similarities between
both clips.
CLIP

1:http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=Ed7C3gAXQNA&feature=related
CLIP
2:http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=tTtVVHg41kU&feature=related
7. Do you think the Fat Black womans shopping experience in
London would have been different if she were:
a) Slim and pretty

a) A rich black woman

b) A black man

b) A White woman

In pairs discuss how and why.


6.

What do you think are the implications of the line Lord is


aggravating? Who is he aggravating with and why?

7.

In the book The Beauty Myth Naomi Wolf (b.1962)


states that Contemporary standards of feminine beauty have
devolved to a point that can only be described as anorexic, and
Americas young women are paying the price through a near
epidemic of bulimia and anorexia. The most effective way to
combat this epidemic, Wolf argues, is to show how what we call
beautiful is a cultural myth that has been framed for certain
purposes-essentially, Wolf believes, to keep women under
control by imprisoning them in their bodies. Do you agree or
disagree with her views?

8.

Do you feel beauty is an important asset in our society? Have


you ever been discriminated against for not being beautiful
enough? Do you know anybody who has experienced it? Do you
know anybody who suffers from any eating disorders? How long
have they been in this situation? What do you think are the
roots of this growing
social epidemic?

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FUTURE PAST by Dorothea Grossman


PRE-READING TASKS
1) This is the first line of a poem by contemporary American write
Dorothea Grossman, how would you finish this sentence
yourself?
If I had stayed asleep I would have missed
...
.
2) Did you write something ordinary or extraordinary? Ask around and
found out what other people in class answered and write down
the two you like the most.
If _________ had stayed asleep he/she would have missed
...
.
If _________ had stayed asleep he/she would have missed
...
.
If _________ had stayed asleep he/she would have missed
.

...
3) The line can be read as an invitation to become aware of what is
really important in life or just finding pleasure in simple,
everyday acts. Complete the second line of the poem with basic
ordinary things that you find enjoyable to do:
The fun of

.
The fun of

.
The fun of

17

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WHILE READING
Now have a listen to the poem and complete the gaps with one of the
words provided below:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/audioitem.html?id=2174
From min 4:33 to 4:45

Dreams

English

satisfaction

speaking

If I had stayed asleep


I would have missed the fun of _____________ ______________
The quiet ______________ of appointments kept
The way ____________ change when you try to describe them
Dorothea Grossman
AFTER READING
1. Where you surprised by the poets choice? Is speaking English
good fun to you? Why/not?
2. Do you usually describe your dreams? Why/not? If you do, who
do you describe your dreams? Is it an easy thing to do?
3. Do you think the attempt to describe a dream changes or spoils
it? Why/not?

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Toy by Dan Rhodes

Dan Rhodes was born in England in 1972 and he has


published two collections of short fiction:
Anthropology: And a Hundred Other Stories (2000),
which contains very short stories about
WARM UP:

Do you like playing computer games? Do you have a


Nintendo, a Wii or a PSP?
Which are your favourite games?
Do you usually play computer games by yourself? With
friends, family, boyfriends or girlfriends?
How often do you play computer games? When do you
play them?
THE FILM

Now you are going to watch a film which illustrates a short


story by Dan Rhodes in a Grafik Magazine DVD 'Sound
and Vision'.
http://www.youtube.com/results?
search_query=toys+dan+rhodes&aq=f

LISTENING COMPREHENSION
1. What is the story about?
2. Is it a happy or sad one? Why?
3. What games does the narrator play in the
story?
4. How does the narrator feel at the end of the story?
5. Now listen again and fill in the gaps below with the missing
words:

On the last day of our relationship my girlfriend


brought toys. I had no idea our ______________ had
ended and was ______________ to join her in a
Connect 4 contest. Its over she told me, halfway
through the game. Whats over? I asked, happy
to be having so much fun. You and me she
replied ______________ Connect 4 and AstroWars. I
dont want to see you anymore. I tried to see how
much she was scoring but was ______________ by
tears. I knew the game just by listening I could tell
she was doing very well.
6.
There are many positive adjectives in the text to describe how
the narrator is feeling while playing the computer game, write them
down:
______________________________________________________________________
_________________________
7.

Is this the end of a happy relationship or of a failing one?

______________________________________________________________________
_______________________
8.
CREATIVE WRITING: Now you write a 101 word story about love
starting

On the last day of my relationship

Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert


PRE-READING ACTIVITY
In this autobiographical book Elizabeth Gilbert explains her travels to
Italy, India, and Indonesia after a traumatic divorce and a crushing
depression resulting in panic, confusion, and weight loss. This is the
story of her travels and explorations of three different cultures, in an
effort to find balance in her life again. The book has been adapted
into a film. Watch the trailer to get a gist of what the
story is about.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjay5vgIwt4
DISCUSS IN PAIRS
1. What was Elizabeth experiencing before she set
off on her journey?
2. How would you describe Elizabeths personality?
3. Have you ever had such a major life crisis? What
started it? How did you get over it?
4. Do you know anybody who is going through a similar
experience right now?
Dear God.
Please intervene and help end this divorce. My husband and I
have failed at our marriage and now we are failing at our
divorce. This poisonous process is bringing suffering to us and to
everyone who cares about us.
I recognize that you are busy with wars and tragedies and much
larger conflicts than the ongoing dispute of one dysfunctional
couple. But it is my understanding that the health of the planet
is affected by the health of every individual on it. As long as
even two souls are locked in conflict, the whole of the world is
contaminated by it. Similarly, if even one or two souls can be
free from discord, this will increase the general health of the
whole world, the way a few healthy cells in a body can increase
the general health of that body.
It is my most humble request, then, that you help us end this
conflict, so that two more people can have the chance to
become free and healthy, and so there will be just a little bit less
animosity and bitterness in a world that is already far too
troubled by suffering.
I thank you for your kind attention.
Respectfully,

Elizabeth M. Gilbert

READING COMPREHENSION ACTIVITIES


5. What is the purpose of addressing her letter to God? What is her
humble request?
6. What does she think are the main things God should be dealing
with?
VOCABULARY EXERCISES:
A) Match the following words which are used to describe her
divorce with their definitions:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Animosity
Bitterness
Suffering
Poisonous
Failing

A) when you experience


physical or mental pain
B) very unpleasant and hurtful
C) an unpleasantly sharp taste
D) strong dislike, opposition, or
anger
E) a fault or weakness

B) In the text we find two parallels: one between wars in the World
and the narrators messy divorce and the other between a
human body and our planet, classify the words which are used
to each category:

discord dysfunctional
healthy

soul

troubled
free
dispute

WARS / A DIFFICULT DIVORCE


A CONFLICT-FREE BODY / PLANET
CREATIVE WRITING
1. Write a letter to your divinity expressing the things you wish for.

Biodata
Annabel Fernandez has been an EFL teacher for 14 years. She has taught EFL in private
language schools, state secondary schools and for the last seven years in Escoles Oficials
dIdiomes. She holds a BA in Sociology of Education from Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona
and spent a year in the University of East London where she took Literature and Gender
Studies subjects as part of her degree. Her main field of interest is innovative ways of using
literature in the teaching of EFL.