Closing Reading and Summarizing: The Epilogue of Pygmalion | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2B:U2:L11

Closing Reading and Summarizing: The Epilogue of Pygmalion

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite several pieces of text-based evidence to support an analysis of literary text. (RL.7.1
  • I can analyze the interaction of literary elements of a story or drama. (RL.7.3)

Supporting Targets

  • I can cite evidence from the play Pygmalion to analyze its plot and characters.
  • I can analyze how plot, character, and setting interact in Pygmalion.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 9 (from homework)
  • Eliza Character Trackers


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Review Homework/Read Epilogue (10 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Close Read: Epilogue Excerpt (1o minutes)

     B.  Eliza Character Tracker: Part II (20 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Return to the Myth of Pygmalion (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A.  Independent reading, 20 minutes.

  • Lesson 11 concludes the reading of Pygmalion. In this lesson, students read an adapted version of the epilogue, "sequel" essay, "What Happened Afterwards," that George Bernard Shaw penned in response to the opinion that Eliza and Higgins should fall in love and marry. Shaw maintained for the rest of his life that the "happy ending" destroyed the meaning and message of the play, and he explained his views in the epilogue.
  • The epilogue is a fascinating but dauntingly long and historically specific text. As a result, students read an adaptation that preserves the main points of the epilogue, along with some of the language. To be exposed to Shaw's original expository writing, students will also conduct a close read of a short excerpt from the epilogue.
  • Students also fill in Part II of their Eliza Character Trackers in this lesson. Part II is the critical comparison between the Eliza of Act I and the Eliza of Act V, necessary for successful completion of the argument essay for the end of unit assessment, which students begin in Lesson 12. Consider ahead of time which students may need extra assistance with Part II and what supports you can put in place to increase their likelihood of success. The more carefully the trackers are completed, the easier it will be for students to write their argument essay. To that end, use your professional judgment to lengthen the time students work on filling in Part II if needed.
  • To conclude this portion of Unit 2, students will revisit the myth of Pygmalion that they read in Unit 1, Lesson 10, and make text-to-text connections between it and the play.
  • Review:

-   Close Reading Guide: Pygmalion, Epilogue Excerpt (for teacher reference)

-   Pygmalion Epilogue Adaptation

-   Post: Learning targets.


  • Pygmalion (play; one per student)
  • Pygmalion Epilogue Adaptation (one per student)
  • Pygmalion Epilogue Excerpt (one per student)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion Epilogue Excerpt (one per student and one to display)
  • Document camera
  • Close Reading Guide: Pygmalion Epilogue Excerpt (for teacher reference)
  • Eliza Character Tracker (from Lesson 3; one per student and one to display)
  • The myth of Pygmalion (from Unit 1, Lesson 10)



A. Review Homework/Read Epilogue (10 minutes)

  • Have students get out their homework and Pygmalion.
  • Post definitions for the Reader's Dictionary and prompt students to revise their Reader's Dictionaries as necessary.
  • Collect the homework.
  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets:

*   "I can cite evidence from the play Pygmalion to analyze its plot and characters."

*   "I can analyze how plot, character, and setting interact in Pygmalion."

  • Ask students to take out their Super Speed Quote Sandwich handout from Lesson 10. Remind them that the Super Speed activity was just a practice session; the most important part of the sandwich for today's lesson is the prediction they made.
  • Distribute the Pygmalion Epilogue Adaptation.
  • Read, with expression, the Pygmalion Epilogue Adaptation.
  • Ask students to turn to a partner and discuss whether their prediction was correct.
  • Do a brief "hands up" survey to determine how many students had a correct prediction and how many did not.
  • Debrief whole class about their predictions and/or anything that surprised or shocked them from the epilogue.

Work Time

Work Time

A. Close Read: Epilogue Excerpt (10 minutes)

  • Distribute the Pygmalion Epilogue Excerpt.
  • Distribute the Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion Epilogue Excerpt and display a copy using a document camera.
  • Use the Close Reading Guide: Pygmalion Epilogue Excerpt to guide students through the series of text-dependent questions related to the excerpt.

B. Eliza Character Tracker: Part II (20 minutes)

  • Have students take out their Eliza Character Trackers. Now that they have gathered some textual evidence, they are ready to start analyzing the evidence to find the reasons why Eliza's internal identity has or hasn't changed.
  • Model, using the document camera. For example, you might focus on one external change and one internal change. Your explanation might sound like this for the external change:

*   "As I look over the evidence I've collected, I see that Eliza's clothing changed. I'm going to put that under 'What was the change?' Now, I'm going to use evidence and page numbers to support that reason. I will cite the specific evidence about her clothes from Act I (her dirty hat, flower basket, apron, boots) in the 'In the beginning' column, and then her appearance in Act V on page 78 as "sunny, self-possessed, and carrying a small workbasket." Some of the reasons I write may be supported by only one piece of evidence; some reasons I write may draw on several pieces of evidence."

*   For internal change: "I notice that in Act I, my evidence says that Eliza was afraid and intimidated by Higgins. But by Act V, she is standing up to him completely. I'm going to put that under 'What was the change?' and try to use our vocabulary words about identity to describe the change. This one might be 'confidence' or even 'sense of self-worth,' which we've discussed before. Now, I'm going to use evidence and page numbers to support that reason. I'll put that in Act I, she was speaking with 'feeble defiance' on page 22. But in Act V, on page 88, she says, 'I'll let you see whether I am dependent on you.' I want to make sure I have both page numbers and direct quotes in my evidence, as well."

  • Have students complete Part II of the Eliza Character Tracker. Explain that Part II is the critical comparison between the Eliza of Act I and the Eliza of Act V and the epilogue and is necessary for successful completion of the argument essay for the end of unit assessment, which students will begin in Lesson 12. Assure them that they do not need to rush, and that they will have more work time for this in Lesson 12.
  • Remind them of the resources they have to complete the Eliza Character Tracker:

-   The play itself

-   Reader's Notes

-   Text-dependent questions

  • As they work, allow students the freedom to consult with classmates about their work or to complete the work independently.
  • Assist students in phrasing their reasons succinctly and using vocabulary about identity in particular ("agency," "sense of self-worth," and so on). Refer students to the Identity anchor charts if needed.                                                                        
  • Circulate and offer assistance wherever needed.

Closing & Assessments


A. Return to the Myth of Pygmalion (5 minutes)

  • Have students turn their minds back to the myth of Pygmalion that they heard in Unit 1, Lesson 10. If needed, have students take out their copies of the myth for review.
  • Briefly review the myth's plot for students.
  • Ask these questions and invite the whole class to respond:

*   "Who is Pygmalion in the play, and why?" (Listen for: Higgins)

*   "Who is Galatea in the play, and why?" (Listen for: Eliza)

*   "How does the ending of the play compare or contrast with the ending of the myth?" (Various answers can be considered correct here, the main difference being that Galatea becomes Pygmalion's wife and, presumably, his property and slave.)

*   "Why do you think Shaw chose to connect his play to the myth of Pygmalion?" (Again, various interpretive answers can be considered correct. Listen especially for answers that support themselves with evidence from play and myth, such as: "Both Higgins and Pygmalion shape a woman into a new person.")

  • Congratulate the students on their diligence, courage, and hard work. Pygmalion is often taught as a high school text; you may let students know that they have successfully completed a text that is considered extremely challenging, especially for modern readers. A small celebration may be called for.


  • Read independently for 20 minutes.

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