Objective: Aunt Polly feels that she's doing wrong by Tom when she doesn't beat him. The objective of this lesson is to explore why Aunt Polly's conscience tells her to beat Tom.
1) Have students write down an example of a time they were punished. Have the students share their examples, tell how and why they were punished, and how they felt about the punishment. Discuss as a class why parents punish children and what makes a punishment appropriate.
2) As a class, read the section of the novel where Polly feels guilty about not beating Tom as a punishment. Ask the students for their opinions of how Polly should punish Tom. Why does Polly feel that she should punish Tom physically? How have attitudes toward punishment changed over time?
3) Break the students up into groups. Have each group discuss reasons why Polly feels guilty when she thinks she's...
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