Lesson 1 (from Chapter One)
In Chapter 1, Lessing introduces the reader to her lineage and provides extensive detail regarding her family history. The objective of this lesson is to explore the significance of that form of introduction to the autobiographical text. Students will engage with notions of the microcosmic relationship between personal history and national history, as well as with the foundational influences that Lessing describes from her childhood.
1) Class Discussion: Discuss the significance of the personal history that Lessing provides in this opening chapter. Who were the influential figures in Lessing's family? What impact did they have on her development? How does Lessing present those figures? Why does she choose to introduce them at this point in the text?
2) Group Work: Analyze the way in which Lessing's introduction to her heritage sets up the memoir to comment on history through her personal experience. How does Lessing's account of her...
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