Text Analysis

Lesson 3: Text Analysis


Educational Objective:

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the playwright’s life by analyzing a piece of text from them and being able to find parallels to the personal life of the playwright. 



Text Analysis Worksheets for Lillian Hellman, Lorraine Hansberry, Tennessee Williams, Christopher Durang, Eugene O’Neill, Neil Simon and August Wilson. Monologue from The Crucible.



Have notes on each of the students’ desks each one saying: “Take a piece of paper out and write a story based on an event that has happened this week. The speaker can be you or someone else involved in the event. The event can be anything but keep it to about 1-2 paragraphs. Think about how you felt, what the event looked like, and something you learned. After you are finished with that write a monologue. The topic can be anything but keep it 1-2 paragraphs. Flip your paper over when you are finished. No talking”


Step 1: Students write monologues. After students have finished their thoughts, instruct them to flip their monologues back over and reference back to them while we are talking.


Step 2: Ask the students to look at their stories and their monologues and compare them. Which one was easier to write? Which one do you like better? Does one of them have a lesson that it teaches? Is it easier write what we know? What we see? What we want to discover? Are plays based off of real life? Were our playwrights affected by their own lives?


Step 3: Pass out Hale’s Monologue from the Crucible. Have students read it silently. And then put the monologue up on the projector/board.



Proctor, I cannot think God be provoked so grandly by such a petty cause. The jails are packed, our greatest judges sit in Salem now—-and hangin’s promised. Man, we must look to cause proportionate. Were there murder done perhaps, and never brought to light? Abomination? Some secret blasphemy that stinks to heaven? Think on cause, man, and let you help me to discover it. For there’s your way, believe it, there is your only way, when such confusion strikes upon the world. Let you counsel among yourselves; think on your village and what may have drawn from heaven such thundering wrath upon you all. I shall pray to God open up our eyes.


Step 4: Analyze Hale’s Monologue as a class. Ask Students: What is going on in the monologue? What can we infer? Did Arthur Miller ever feel these feelings? Did he create characters he could relate to? How can we tell? Are their parallels between the Crucible and Arthur Miller’s life? Students should recall on the information they learned from the model project about Arthur Miller. If they need a little direction, remind them that Arthur Miller was accused of being a communist and was blacklisted. And how he felt he was wrongly accused.


Step 5: Give students a monologue from the works of their assigned Playwrights (Lillian Hellman, Lorraine Hansberry, Tennessee Williams, Christopher Durang, Eugene O’Neill, Neil Simon and August Wilson) allow them to get into small groups. Tell them that the monologue has a small synopsis of the play and that they will be answering the questions on the worksheet with their knowledge of the playwright, the monologue, and the play synopsis to answer the questions. Students will be able to work in their small groups but tell them that they should discuss and then write the answers on their own. Allow them time to analyze it and try to pull in their playwright circumstances into the meaning of the monologue.


Step 6: Come back together as a class and ask them why having their personal lives and feelings in their works is important? Ask them if that is an important quality of the Great American Playwright and why? Students should be able to answer this question in the discussion because they have the completed the questions on the worksheet.


Conclusion: Have them add any last comments on their Playwright Analysis and turn it in.