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Unit 8 - Reading and Writing about Mystery

Page history last edited by Russell 9 years, 3 months ago


Fri, Apr 22


DUE TODAY: (By end of class)

  • Viewing questions for the film
  • Clues from the film
  • Wrap-up questions about how the film meets "mystery" requirements


FOCUS: Film as text - mystery


Wrap up of "Rear Window"


Mystery Questions - answer in full sentences regarding "Rear Window":

(For characters give names and a bit about them/personality)

  1. Who is the main detective character?
  2. Who is the criminal?
  3. What is the crime?
  4. Who is the victim?
  5. Identify three to five clues that help solve the crime.
  6. What is one “red herring” that leads viewers away from the true solution?
  7. What is the motivation for the crime?
  8. In detail, write out the solution: who, what, why, where, when, how



Tue-Wed-Thu, Apr 19-20-21


DUE TODAY: FINAL DRAFT (and self-evaluation) of mystery story

HOMEWORK: None (except final revision and completion of the self-eval)

FOCUS: Film as text (mystery)


Here are the viewing questions for the mystery film "Rear Window"

  1. What is “Jeff’s” profession?
  2. What is Stella’s job?
  3. Why does Stella say there will be trouble in Jeff’s apartment?
  4. According to Jeff, what is “wrong” with Lisa Fremont? Why doesn’t he think she is a good match for him?

Here are the neighbors:

  • Dancer “Miss Torso”
  • Composer
  • Sunbather/sculptor
  • Married, arguing couple
  • Newlywed couple
  • “Miss Lonelyhearts”
  1. What does Lisa want from Jeff?
  2. What is Miss Lonelyhearts’ problem?
  3. What does Lisa think of Miss Torso?
  4. How is the relationship between the couple across the courtyard?
  5. What is the major conflict between Jeff and Lisa?
  6. What does Jeff hear and see at night that makes him suspicious?
  7. What part of the night’s events does Jeff NOT see?
  8. What does Jeff suspect about the couple across the courtyard?
  9. What does Lisa see that makes her want to hear Jeff’s story about the couple across the courtyard?
  10. What is the BIG QUESTION by the time Jeff calls his friend at the police department?


More questions:

  1. After Jeff tells Lisa all about the mystery, what information does Lisa gather for Jeff before heading home for the night?
  2. What does Stella think is in the trunk?
  3. What clues does Jeff tell Lt. Doyle?
  4. After Doyle does some investigation, what does he reveal about the Thorwalds?
  5. What about the handbag makes Lisa suspicious?
  6. How does it seem Lisa is gaining Jeff’s affection? At the start of the film they were fighting, now they’re closer. Why?
  7. What information from Doyle smashes Jeff and Lisa’s theories?
  8. What does Jeff see in the courtyard?


Mon, Apr 18


DUE TODAY: Full rough draft of mystery story

HOMEWORK: Work on revisions

FOCUS TODAY: Peer review using a scoring guide


English 9 – Agenda 

FOCUS: Students will use the writing process, including drafting, editing, revising


  1. Scoring Guide familiarity
  2. Mystery peer review – grouping
  3. Mystery peer review
    1. NOTE: Each person’s paper will have at least TWO readings from another student by the end of the day
    2. Give your paper to another person in the group, along with your scoring guide
    4. Wait until all group members are done before passing on the paper
    5. At the end of the review session, review your own paper
  4. Compare your score against the scores given from others
  5. Make a “PLAN OF ACTION” – what needs to be done to improve your score?




Overview and Timeline of the Mystery Unit (Reading Portion)


Checklist of Assignments – Mystery




  1. 3/21  Unit introduction notes
    1. Detective, crime, clues, surprise ending, suspense, irony
  2. “Full Circle”
    1. Reading notes in the form of a bullet list of events
    2. Pg 754 #1, 3, 4, 5 and a plot chart (looks like a mountain)
    3. T-chart or 2-column chart of valid clues vs. red herrings 
  3. “Wasps’ Nest”- 12 reading questions plus #4 from the book
  4.  “Trifles”
    1. Drawing of the kitchen
    2. 10 reading questions plus 2-column chart of clues/inferences
  5. Study guide table for all stories
  6. Multiple-choice test



















  • Student will be able to define and identify elements of the common literary genre “mystery” (detective story)
  • Student will be able to explain how an author of mystery creates effect through use of the elements of mystery
  • Student will compose a text in the genre of mystery that is designed to entertain
  • Student will pre-write to generate ideas
  • Student will produce a draft of a creative piece
  • Student will revise to improve text


1)      Day One: Monday, March 21

a)      Pg 739-740 - Identify and copy onto your own paper the seven typical traits of a detective story, plus the definition for each; identify and write a definition for the two types of irony mentioned

b)      Discussion and class notes on TV shows, films, and books that have the elements listed. Focus: surprise ending


2)      Days Two-Three: Tues-Wed, Mar 22-23

a)      READ the short story “Full Circle” and answer the following questions

(1)   Pg 754 #1, 3, 4, 5 and the item “Literary Analysis”


3)      Days Four-Five: Thu-Fri, Mar 24-25

a)      READ the short story “Wasps’ Nest” and answer the following questions

1)      Read the title, and all the pink "call out" text before beginning the story. What do you anticipate this story will be about, and why?

2)      Why is Poirot there at Harrison's?

3)      What is Langton scheduled to do at Harrison's?

4)      What are the two ways to "take care of" a wasps' nest?

5)      How is Langton supposed to remove the nest?

6)      When you find out that Langton has signed for poison at the pharmacy, make a prediction about what you think will happen.

7)      How does Christie build suspense when Poirot runs into Langton coming out of Harrison's?

8)      What was the actual plan by Harrison?

9)      How many deaths did the plan involve?

10)  Why would Harrison want to commit suicide?

11)  Why would he want to frame Langton for murder?

12)  Pg 768 “Literary Analysis” – look for clues that Harrison is really our man, not Langton

1)      Poirot's intense glance at Harrison on 762 shows Poirot really suspects him already

2)      Harrison's surprised response when Poirot mentions cyanide should be a clue (bottom of 762)

3)      Harrison's joke about using cyanide for killing a mother-in-law shows he's willing to joke about murder (top of 763)

IN-CLASS ADDITION: #4 on pg 768

HOMEWORK: Read the stage directions for the short play “Trifles” on 772 and draw a diagram of the farmhouse kitchen as described


4)      Days Six-Seven: Mon-Tue, Mar 28-29

a)      READ the short play “Trifles”

1)      Why did Mr. Hale stop at the Wrights’ house?

2)      What Mrs. Wright was doing when Mr. Hale entered?

3)      What did Mr. Hale find when he went upstairs?

4)      Why have the characters come to the farm house? (The men vs. women)?

5)      How do Mrs. Hale and Peters react to the men’s criticism of the kitchen?

6)      What small details do the women notice as they look around the kitchen?

7)      What was Mrs. Wright’s life like before marrying John Wright?

8)      What “evidence” is discovered/noticed by the women that may give away a motive for the crime?

9)      What do the women decide to do with what they’ve learned?

10)  How is Mrs. Wright like the bird they found?


5)      Day Eight: Wed, Mar 30

a)      READ “The Utterly Perfect Murder” and discuss the elements of mystery in it = class notes


6)      Day Nine: Thu, Mar 31

a)      Create a table examining the elements of mystery present in all four texts as a review


7)      Day Ten = EXAM: Fri, Apr 1


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