Monday, October 20, 2014

Drawn from the P.U.S.: a French lesson on The Necklace

Based on the opening passage of "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant.

I. Subject: French Narration.
Group: Languages. Class III. Time: 30 minutes

I. To give the children more facility in understanding French, when they hear it spoken and also in expressing themselves in it.
II. To teach them some new words and expressions.
III. To improve their pronunciation.
IV. To strengthen the habit of attention.
V. To have the following passage narrated by the children.


Passage Chosen: Guy de Maupassant, "La Parure" ("The Necklace").
C'était une de ces jolies et charmantes filles, nées, comme par une erreur du destin, dans une famille d'employés. Elle n'avait pas de dot, pas d'espérances, aucun moyen d'être connue, comprise, aimée, épousée par un homme riche et distingué; et elle se laissa marier avec un petit commis du ministère de l'Instruction publique.

Elle fut simple, ne pouvant être parée, mais malheureuse comme une déclassée; car les femmes n'ont point de caste ni de race, leur beauté, leur grâce et leur charme leur servant de naissance et de famille. Leur finesse native, leur instinct d'élégance, leur souplesse d'esprit sont leur seule hiérarchie, et font des filles du peuple les égales des plus grandes dames.*

Step I.—Read the passage slowly and distinctly, stopping frequently to make sure that the children understand. Write the new words and expressions on the board [I wrote them out] and give their meanings.
Step II.—Let the children repeat the story in English.
Step III.—Read the passage straight through.
Step IV.—Let the children read the passage, paying special attention to the pronunciation.
Step V.—Have the passage narrated in French, helping the children when necessary with questions. Speak as much French as possible throughout, but always make sure that the pupils understand.

Step VI.--In closing, read part of The Prayer of St. Francis in French, watching for the vocabulary from this lesson.

Ô Maître, que je ne cherche pas tant à être consolé qu'à consoler, à être compris qu'à comprendre,  à être aimé qu'à aimer, car c'est en donnant qu'on reçoit,
c'est en s'oubliant qu'on trouve, c'est en pardonnant qu'on est pardonné,
c'est en mourant qu'on ressuscite à l'éternelle vie. 

  * Translation (not mine):  She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as though fate had blundered over her, into a family of artisans. She had no marriage portion, no expectations, no means of getting known, understood, loved, and wedded by a man of wealth and distinction; and she let herself be married off to a little clerk in the Ministry of Education. Her tastes were simple because she had never been able to afford any other, but she was as unhappy as though she had married beneath her; for women have no caste or class, their beauty, grace, and charm serving them for birth or family, their natural delicacy, their instinctive elegance, their nimbleness of wit, are their only mark of rank, and put the slum girl on a level with the highest lady in the land.

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