ALEX Lesson Plan


Roles of Women: "Story of an Hour"

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Lynn Smith
System: Marengo County
School: Amelia L. Johnson High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33058


Roles of Women: "Story of an Hour"


This lesson explores the idea of constraints and women's role in society in the late 1800s. Students will be expected to draw their own conclusions about theme and note the various stages of plot throughout the short story.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (11)
1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. [RL.11-12.1]
ELA2015 (11)
2. Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.11-12.2]
ELA2015 (11)
5. Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact. [RL.11-12.5]
ELA2015 (11)
14. Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging. [RI.11-12.5]
ELA2015 (11)
15. Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text. [RI.11-12.6]
ELA2015 (11)
27. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. [W.11-12.9]
a. Apply Grade 11 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Demonstrate knowledge of twentieth- and twenty-first-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics"). [W.11-12.9a] (Alabama)
b. Apply Grade 11 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., Analyze seminal United States documents of historical and literary significance [e.g., Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech, King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"]), including how they address related themes and concepts. [W.11-12.9b] (Alabama)

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will determine theme and note the various stages of plot in this short story. They will also answer the following questions:

  • Do all cages have bars?
  • How could the ending be different? 

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Copy of the short story "Story of an Hour", teacher-led review of theme & plot (if needed), elements of plot graphic organizer ( attachment below) for each student.


Technology Resources Needed:

Internet access, projector w/screen,

Copies for students of the following organizer:


Teacher must be familiar with the text and women in society during the late 1800s. Each student needs a copy of the elements of plot graphic organizer handout. Put students in groups of 3-5. 


1. Teachers ask students in their groups to turn and talk and make a list of some of the things that can make them feel caged in or restricted. Discuss if any of the things they listed would be something they could break free from (job, relationship, etc.)

Project the above link or make copies for students to read for background information on women in the 1800s. Discuss the roles and limitations of women during this time. 

3. Teacher-led discussion on theme and plot (refresher before reading)

4. Teacher instructs students to pay close attention to Mrs. Mallard's reactions to the story's opening event and what theme or message her reaction might say about her.

5. Students read the story aloud or listen to the audio version.

6. Teacher leads discussion of the following questions: What is the theme of this short story? Do all cages really have bars and how does this apply to the story? What makes Mrs. Mallard feel confined before the story begins? Why does she eventually feel like she was released, from say, a cage?

7. Teacher will distribute the plot graphic organizer to each student for their completion This document will be their exit slip for the day.

8. When the graphic organizer is completed, students will work in their groups to plan a new ending for the story. Students will have to present their ending to the class and decide which ending is the best or is the original ending still the best one?


Assessment Strategies

Assessments for this lesson will be class discussion, plot organizer, and group ending for the story.


Students compare/contrast the role of women in "The Story of an Hour" with another piece of literature dealing with women from the 1800s. 



Having students working in groups will help students who need extra support during the lesson. 

Who was the real Brently Mallard? The reader only sees him for an instant at the very end of the story, at the last moment of Mrs. Mallard’s life. He never says a word that is recorded in the story. He emerges through the thoughts and feelings of his wife and through the portrayal and actions of his close friend, Richards. Have students develop a character sketch of Brently Mallard, explaining who he really was and how he comes to life for us even though he only appears in the story at the end. 

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.