Stylistic Voice and Questions of Speaking for the Voiceless in The Poisonwood Bible

byKristen S. Kurzawski

This unit, designed for a high school senior English class, will use Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible to examine how writers create voice, how voice creates character, and what the writer and the character are trying to convey through their choices in diction, syntax, detail, tone, and sensory language. The students will then examine how these stylistic techniques work together to create the larger meaning of the work as a whole, and how Kingsolver uses stylistic voice to raise larger questions about who is able or permitted to speak for themselves in society. During the unit students will have various opportunities to write analytical pieces, participate in large group discussions, and work with a small group to teach a portion of the novel to the class.

(Developed for AP English Literature and Composition, grade 12; recommended for AP English Literature and Composition, grade 12, and English, grades 11-12)

Comments (6)

    Alexandra Taylor (Hawaii Baptist Academy, Honolulu, HI)
    Subject taught: AP Literature, English 9, Grade: 12
    This is the most helpful free resource I\'ve come across in a long time
    Hi, I wanted to stop by and say that this unit plan is exactly what I was looking for. I\'m giving my beginning-of-the-year AP Literature unit an overhaul and decided on Poisonwood to go with Things Fall Apart, the kids\' summer reading assignment.

    I\'m ordering the resources listed on teaching voice, and I\'m excited about the idea of assigning student teachers to the work\'s different narrative voices. My only wish is that there were actual printable worksheet/lesson plans around the elements of voice that are alluded to in this unit. I\'d pay for them in order to avoid having to reinvent the wheel.

    Thanks so much for publishing this; it\'s a real brain wave and it\'s exactly what the doctor ordered for the beginning of the year in my AP Lit class. Please email me back about the lesson plans if at all possible.
    Azucena Pena (Bell High School, Gifted STEM Magnet, Bell, CA)
    Subject taught: AP English Literature, Grade: 12
    Thank you for publishing this unit! I would also pay for any worksheets that can save me some time, but thank you for taking the time to share this with everyone. I think it is a great introduction to the work students will be required to complete throughout the school year and on the AP Exam. Please contact me if you have any resources/worksheets to share.

    Mayra Ron (Franlin Academy HIgh School, Pembroke Pines, Fl)
    Subject taught: AP, HOnors, English, Grade: 12
    This is wonderful. Thank you so much. Is it possible to gain access to the lesson plans and the resources? Please advice me. I am planning the school year and this is perfect for my AP Literature students. I really appreciate your help and thoughts.


    Kelly Simon (Sandra Day O\'Connor HS, PHOENIX, AZ)
    Subject taught: AP Literature and Composition, Grade: 12
    Thank you so much for this lengthy amount of information. I have taught this novel at the start of the year for the past two years and love it. This gives me even more ideas on how to really examine voice in the novel. Is it possible to purchase some of your lesson activities that you use?
    Regards, Kelly
    John R Linker (Healdsburg High School, Healdsburg , Ca)
    Subject taught: AP English, Grade: 12
    Thank you so much for this. My students will soon begin reading the novel The Poisonwood Bible. I too was wondering if there are any handouts or worksheets to go along with this amazing unit. Thank you so much. John Linker
    Carol S Jackson (Dutch Fork High School, Irmo, SC)
    Subject taught: AP Literature, Grade: 12
    Ditto on document request
    I, too, would like to request the documents referenced in this plan. I appreciate the overview, but having the documents would make this usable.

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