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Beloved Trial

Beloved Trial

Author: Beth Barsness
  1. Actively engage students in a text that they may not have the maturity to fully understand through just reading and discussing in class.
  2. Provide an opportunity to combine a qualitative and quantitative reading of the text with the evaluative process of preparing for the trial.  This allows students to gain a window from which to interact with a difficult text like Beloved.

This lesson serves as a final assessment for Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved.  Students will need to have a thorough working knowledge of the story and characters in the book.  They will be asked to give Sethe a present-day trial since her trial in the novel does not satisfy today’s standards of justice.  African-Americans, during that period of history, were not allowed to serve as witnesses or jurors.  Was she guilty of committing infanticide, or simply “making them safe”, as she claimed?  The class will be divided into two teams (defense and prosecution) and students will assume roles of characters and act as witnesses.    

Length of time needed:  5 class periods

This lesson was written by Janet Freeberg-Lawson

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Lesson Plan

This lesson plan can be downloaded to your computer as a PDF document. If you would like to edit this document for your classroom needs, go to the "Handouts and Materials" section and click on the corresponding link.


Source: Janet Freeberg-Lawson

Handouts and Materials

The following files can be downloaded to your computer:

Lesson Plan (Word document)

Beloved Trial Assignment (Word document)

Source: Janet Freeberg-Lawson