Title: Analyzing Greed in The Box to “The Devil and Tom Walker”
Content Area: English
Grade: 9th Honors
Duration: 50 minutes
Standards and Benchmarks:
Identify, describe, evaluate, and synthesize the essential ideas in a text.
Demonstrate after reading understanding and interpretation.
Analyze the relationships, uses and effectiveness of literary elements including characterization, setting, plot, etc.
Write with a sharp, distinct focus.
Use media for learning purposes.
Students will be able to describe the decision making process between Tom Walker and his wife.
Students will be able to compare and contrast the decision making process in The Box and “The Devil and Tom Walker.”
Students will be able to make personal connections to The Box and “The Devil and Tom Walker.”
Students will be able to use characterization to make inferences.
Students will be able to contribute to classroom discussion.
Resources and Materials:
“The Devil and Tom Walker” Text
The Box Film
Preparing Students for the Lesson:
Students will have previously read and discussed “The Devil and Tom Walker”
by Washington Irving.
Teaching the Lesson
The teacher will ask students to think of a material possession that they would really like to have. The item should be something that they do not own and cannot afford.
The teacher will explain that sometimes the desire for wealth or material possessions can cause people to fall victim to greed. The teacher will then ask the following question to prompt discussion: How did Tom Walker fall victim to greed?
The teacher will explain that making pacts with the devil is a common occurrence in both literature and film. Students will watch a film clip from The Box. In this clip a family that is struggling financially is given the opportunity to become wealthy. A stranger appears at their door with a box that contains a button. They are informed that if they push the button they will receive a briefcase with one million dollars. Although their financial problems will be solved, a person that they do not know will be killed. The 25 minute film clip shows them being given the chance to make this “pact with the devil,” their decision making process, and their ultimate decision to push the button.
After watching the clip, students are asked to think back to the material possessions that they cannot afford and what they could be able to afford with the million dollars. Some items might be selfish such as cars, jewelry, clothing, travel, etc.; but they might also use the money to pay for college, help others, or get insurance. Students will journal what they would do in this position and have to describe their decision making process.
Students will discuss their entries.
Students will now answer three questions in their journal: (1) How is the decision making process different/similar in the movie and the story, (2) what other similarities and differences are present between the story and the movie, and (3) what would Tom Walker do in this situation?
Students will discuss their responses.
Students will be assessed on the quality/details used in their journal responses. Students will take an exam on “The Devil and Tom Walker” the next day.