“Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen – Grade 8 Sample Lesson



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“Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen – Grade 8 Sample Lesson




Learning Objective: The goal of the exemplar is to give students practice in reading and writing habits that they have been working with throughout the curriculum, in this case using poetry. It was designed originally for use in a middle / high school Social Studies curriculum, where teaching students to go beneath a surface understanding of historical events, and to make connections among historical events, is at a premium. Although this exemplar was designed to be used within a Social Studies curriculum, it is appropriate for use in an ELA class as well.
By reading and re-reading the poem, closely combining paired and full classroom discussion about it, and writing about it, students come to an appreciation of the need to (a) re-read, paraphrase, and discuss ideas, (b) achieve an accurate basic understanding level of a text, (c) achieve an accurate interpretive understanding of a text, and (d) build a coherent piece of writing that both constructs and communicates solid understanding of text.
Rationale: It is critical that students grapple with rich text in the content areas. It is particularly important that students recognize that it is key that they understand what an author is actually saying in the text before they proceed to analysis of that text. The steps in this exemplar, from basic understanding to analytical/inferential understanding, are intended to help build this habit of mind in students.
The text in this exemplar is short. It is also designed to be used in a classroom that will have a large range of reading levels – typical of public middle and high schools. For these reasons, the students do not read the text independently before the teacher reads it aloud; rather, the first reading is a supported one. The purpose here is to include all students successfully on the initial read, strong and struggling readers alike. By middle school (and certainly by high school) struggling students are easily discouraged, so it is important to “hook them into success” from the very beginning. However, throughout the steps of the sequence, students have ample opportunity to read independently and successfully.
Reading Task: Students will first read the text in a supported context, with the teacher reading aloud while they read/follow silently. They will work closely with text-dependent questions to build both basic understanding and then analytic / inferential understanding of the text. After that, using a Focusing Question provided by the teacher, students capture their analytical understanding in notes, before they write a short essay that relies heavily on text-based evidence, and explaining that evidence. This writing allows students to capture their understanding in a coherent whole.
Discussion Task: Throughout this exemplar, students are discussing: in pairs, in small groups, in full class discussions. There are two purposes of the “turn and talk” in pairs – first, to make sure all students are actually focusing and talking about the text (“speaking their thinking”); and second, to make sure students actually own the ideas they are working with. Students cannot write what they could not have spoken, and often what they actually did speak; if we want them to write coherently and thoughtfully about the text, they need frequent opportunity to speak those ideas.
The full class discussion allows the teacher to guide students to deeper thinking than they might have reached on their own.

Writing Task: The writing task is a short argument piece, responding to a Focusing Question, showing analytical understanding. This writing is NOT used as an assessment – rather, it is an essential part of the instruction, helping students both to crystallize their understanding of the text and to write clearly and coherently – this time, and next time.
Common Core Standards Addressed in This Instructional Sequence: RL.8.1, RL.8.2, RL.8.3, RL.8.4, RL.8.6, RH.6-8.1, RH.6-8.2, RH.6-8.6, RH.6-8.10, W.8.1a, W.8.1b, W.8.1c, W.8.1d. W.8.1e, W.8.4, W.8.5, W.8.6 SL.8.1, L.8.1

Table of Contents


Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen – Grade 8 Sample Lesson 1

Information for Teachers: Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses of the Text ………..……19 4

Question Annotations …………………………………………………………………………………………………21 4

Additional Resources …………………………………………………………………………………………..……..26 4

Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen 5

Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen 6



Stop and Discuss 6

So, how does the poet want us readers to feel about the events he is describing in these first two stanzas? 7

Time to Write! 9

Here’s the Focusing Question: 9

Think about the evidence from the text that you will use to support / develop your thesis. Then draft your essay. 9

Student Notes “Dulce et Decorum Est” 10

Grade 8 Literature Mini-Assessment 11

Information for Teachers: Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses of the Text ………..……19

Question Annotations …………………………………………………………………………………………………21

Additional Resources …………………………………………………………………………………………..……..26




Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.


Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. -

Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs

Bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, - My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.


Wilfred Owen
When Poets Speak, Every Word Counts

“Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen

It has sometimes been said that poetry lies somewhere between prose and music. That being true, it’s really important to read poetry aloud.


First, listen to the poem being read aloud. Just as you do when you hear a new piece of music, try to listen for the overall sense of the poem.
Now, listen to it being read aloud again, but this time read it in your head at the same time.

Finally, take turns with a partner reading the poem aloud. Each of you should read the whole poem – don’t alternate by stanzas.


Now, by yourself, read the poem silently. Leave any tracks on the text that will help you to slow down, read carefully, and make meaning. You might:

  • note a particular word or phrase

  • paraphrase a bit

  • raise a question

  • make a connection to some other text or bit of information



Stop and Discuss



  1. What event is the poet describing in the first stanza? Whom is he describing?

_____________________________________________________________________________________


_____________________________________________________________________________________



  1. What event is the poet describing in the second stanza?

_____________________________________________________________________________________


_____________________________________________________________________________________

Look at the phrase “dim through the misty panes and thick green light”. What do you think the poet is referring to here?


In the boxes below, draw as carefully and with as much detail as you can the events that are occurring in the first two stanzas of the poem (NOT the third stanza yet!)














So, how does the poet want us readers to feel about the events he is describing in these first two stanzas?


How the poet wants us to feel

Evidence from the poem








Now, we’re ready for the third and final stanza of the poem.


    1. Re-read the third stanza aloud. Where does the first sentence of the stanza end?



    1. What scene is the poet describing in the first eight lines of this stanza?

_____________________________________________________________________________________


    1. Whom is the poet describing when he uses the words “innocent” and “children”?

Why do you think he chooses these words?



    1. The final words of the poem, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” are Latin for “It is a sweet and proper thing to die for one’s country.”

Now that you know this, try paraphrasing the last stanza of the poem.


_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________

Go back now and draw the third stanza of the poem, so it is complete.





    1. Notice that the poet speaks to the reader here as “you” for the first time. How many times does he use the word “you”?

___________________________________________________________________________________

Why do you think the poet has switched from description (in the first two stanzas) to direct address (in the third stanza)?

_____________________________________________________________________________________



    1. Finally, look again at the title of the poem. The poet is using irony here – this is an ironic title. What do you think “irony” might mean?

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Why does it make sense to call the use of this phrase “dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”
ironic?
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Time to Write!




Here’s the Focusing Question:



Why do you think the poet ends the poem with the lines “the old Lie….dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”?

Now that you know the poem so well, try with your partner to come up with a thoughtful answer to this question.



Remember, your answer to this question will be your thesis / focus statement for your piece of writing.

Think about the evidence from the text that you will use to support / develop your thesis. Then draft your essay.


Remember, a good essay will:


  • give a short introduction that names the title and author, and gives a brief summary of what the poem is about



  • clearly state a thesis / focus that answers the question



  • give specific evidence from the text, and explains that evidence thoughtfully



  • conclude by reminding the reader of the thesis, and reflects in some broader way


Student Notes “Dulce et Decorum Est”




Focusing Question: Why do you think the poet ends the poem with the lines the old lie.dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”?
Focus Statement / thesis:


Context / evidence from text

Explain the evidence tie back to focus statement (irony)









Grade 8 Literature Mini-Assessment


Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen

This grade 8 mini-assessment is based on the poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen. This text is considered to be worthy of students’ time to read and also meets the expectations for text complexity at grade 8. Assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will employ quality, complex texts such as this one.

Questions aligned to the CCSS should be worthy of students’ time to answer and therefore do not focus on minor points of the texts. Questions also may address several standards within the same question because complex texts tend to yield rich assessment questions that call for deep analysis. In this mini-assessment there are seven selected-response questions or paper/pencil equivalent of technology enhanced items that address the Reading Standards listed below. Additionally, there is an optional writing prompt, which is aligned to both the Reading Standards for Literature and the Writing Standards.

We encourage educators to give students the time that they need to read closely and write to the source. While we know that it is helpful to have students complete the mini-assessment in one class period, we encourage educators to allow additional time as necessary.


The questions align to the following standards:

RL.8.1

Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.8.2

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

RL.8.3

Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

RL.8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

RL.8.5

Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.

RL.8.6

Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

RL.8.9

Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).

W.8.2

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

Grade 8 Mini-Assessment – “Dulce et Decorum Est”
Today you will read the poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen. You will then answer several questions based on the poem. I will be happy to answer questions about the directions, but I will not help you with the answers to any questions. You will notice as you answer the questions that some of the questions have two parts. You should answer Part A of the question before you answer Part B, but you may go back and change your answer to Part A if you want to.

Take as long as you need to read and answer the questions. If you do not finish when class ends, come see me to discuss when you may have additional time.

Now read the poem and answer the questions. I encourage you to write notes in the margin as you read.
Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

5 Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.


Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling

10 Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. -

Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.


15 In all my dreams before my helpless sight

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

20 His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs

Bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -

25 My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,



The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori. ¹
Wilfred Owen
PUBLIC DOMAIN
¹ Literal translation: It is sweet and right to die for your country.
QUESTIONS

1. The following question has two parts. Answer Part A and then answer Part B.

Part A: What do the first four lines of stanza 1 suggest about the current situation of the soldiers?

  1. They have come to depend upon each other for their continued survival.

  2. They are depressed because they failed to achieve the day’s objectives.

  3. They have been at war so long that they can barely remember their former lives.

  4. They are retreating to their camp to escape the fighting.

Part B: What does stanza 3 show about the soldiers’ situation?

  1. The soldiers are not really able to leave the battle behind.

  2. The soldiers learn to fend for themselves during a crisis.

  3. The soldiers are capable of doing what they have to do.

  4. The soldiers are so weary that their mental state is affected.

2. The following question has two parts. Answer Part A and then answer Part B.

Part A: Based on Stanza 1, which words best describe the soldiers?

  1. Lonely and frightened

  2. Weak and exhausted

  3. Angry and resentful

  4. Sad and regretful

Part B: Which three phrases from Stanza 1 best support the answer to Part A?

  1. “Bent double”

  2. “cursed through sludge”

  3. “haunting flares”

  4. “turned our backs”

  5. “marched asleep”

  6. “drunk with fatigue”

  7. “dropping softly behind”

3. The following question has two parts. Answer Part A and then answer Part B.

Part A: Circle two adjoining lines of the poem that show where the speaker begins to focus on the present rather than the past.

Part B: What do these two lines best reveal about the speaker?

  1. He wishes he had tried harder to help the man who was gassed.

  2. He has developed new and intense fears because of the war

  3. He will likely never fully recover from what he endured in the war.

  4. He sometimes cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy.

4. What shift occurs in stanza 4?

  1. The timeline advances to after the war to show the effects the experience had on the speaker.

  2. The speaker introduces a conflicting point of view and then presents an argument to counter it.

  3. The point of view changes so that the speaker is addressing the reader directly.

  4. The scene changes from events that actually occurred to events the speaker imagines.

5. The following question has two parts. Answer Part A and then answer Part B.

Part A: Think about how the three longer stanzas (1, 2, and 4) function in the poem. Then complete the chart by writing in functions from the list below to their proper place on the chart. One function applies to all three stanzas and should appear on the chart three times. The other functions will each appear once.

The Functions of Each Stanza



stanza 1

stanza 2

stanza 4

1)

1)

1)

2)

2)

2)

3)

3)




Functions

Builds tone by telling horrific details Introduces the speaker of the poem

Establishes the war scene States the speaker’s view of war

Propels the action of the poem Characterizes the soldiers as weary


Part B: How do stanzas 1, 2, and 4 work together to develop the theme of the poem?

  1. By detailing both everyday misery and an agonizing death, the poem suggests that enduring the horrors of war is not wonderful or patriotic.

  2. By considering how war affects both individuals and groups of men, the poem suggests that not everyone is fit to fight in battle.

  3. By focusing on an unexpected and sudden event, the poem suggests that there is no good way to prepare for one’s own death.

  4. By describing negative things about being a soldier, the poem suggests that war is ineffective in resolving conflicts between nations.

6. Which statement best summarizes the central idea of this poem?

  1. It is one’s patriotic duty to fight for one’s country, regardless of how unpleasant the consequences.

  2. Those who praise war and promote the involvement of young people are promoting a false image of glory.

  3. Engaging in war involves tremendous sacrifice and bravery for the public good.

  4. All possible methods of resolving conflict should be pursued before young people are asked to fight for their country.

7. In what three ways does this poem challenge or disagree with the idea that to die for your country is a noble thing to do?

  1. It treats the outcome of a battle as less important than soldiers’ experiences.

  2. It shows the pain soldiers feel when society does not appreciate their sacrifices.

  3. It portrays soldiers as essentially powerless.

  4. It suggests that men are forced to become soldiers against their will.

  5. It implies that soldiers who are truly brave do not care about making sacrifices.

  6. It establishes that the ancient Romans were the last true soldiers.

  7. It denies the possibility of soldiers dying with dignity.




Wilfred Owen wrote “Dulce et Decorum Est” as a contrast to the poem below, which was written to spur young men to join the war efforts.

Who's for the Game? by Jessie Pope

Who’s for the game, the biggest that’s played,


The red crashing game of a fight?
Who’ll grip and tackle the job unafraid?
And who thinks he’d rather sit tight?
Who’ll toe the line for the signal to ‘Go!’?
Who’ll give his country a hand?
Who wants a turn to himself in the show?
And who wants a seat in the stand?
Who knows it won’t be a picnic – not much-
Yet eagerly shoulders a gun?
Who would much rather come back with a crutch
Than lie low and be out of the fun?
Come along, lads –
But you’ll come on all right –
For there’s only one course to pursue,
Your country is up to her neck in a fight,
And she’s looking and calling for you.

PUBLIC DOMAIN


8. (Optional writing prompt): In “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “Who’s for the Game?” each poet presents a strong point of view about war. Write an essay comparing how each poet develops the point of view and what effect each poem is intended to have on the reader. Use textual evidence from both poems to help develop your response. Write your response using the lines on this and the next page.

Your response will be scored on how well you:

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the ideas of the text

  • Use evidence from the text to help develop and support your ideas

  • Organize your response in a logical manner

  • Demonstrate an appropriate writing style through the use of precise word choice and varied sentences

  • Use standard conventions for writing





























































































































Information for Teachers: Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses of the Text

Regular practice with complex texts is necessary to prepare students for college and career readiness, as outlined in Reading Standard 10. Though it spans grade band levels, the poem in this mini-assessment has been placed at grade 8 to ensure students gain practice with complex texts in the upper portion of the grade band. The process used to determine this grade level placement is described below. “Appendix A of the Common Core” and the “Supplement to Appendix A: New Research on Text Complexity” lay out a research-based process for selecting complex texts.

1. Place a text or excerpt within a grade band based on at least one1 quantitative measure according to the research-based conversion table provided in the Supplement to Appendix A: New Research on Text Complexity (www.corestandards.org/resources).

2. Place a text or excerpt at a grade level based on a qualitative analysis.



Quantitative Analysis

Dulce et Decorum Est”

Quantitative Measure #1

Quantitative Measure #2

Lexile: 1200

RMM: 11.7

After gathering the quantitative measures, the next step is to place the quantitative scores in the Conversion Table found in the Supplement to Appendix A (www.corestandards.org/resources) and determine the grade band of the text. Figure 1 reproduces the conversion table from the Supplement to Appendix A, showing how the initial results from the Lexile and the Reading Maturity measure were converted to grade bands. Note that measures are not always reliable when used with poetry because of line breaks and unusual punctuation.

To find the grade level of the text within the designated grade band, engage in a systematic analysis of the characteristics of the text. The characteristics that should be analyzed during a qualitative analysis can be found in Appendix A of the CCSS. (www.corestandards.org)



Qualitative Analysis

“Dulce et Decorum Est”

Where to place within the band?

Category

Notes and comments on text, support for placement in this band

Too low for grade band

early to mid-6

mid 6 to early 7

mid 7 to early 8

mid to end 8

Too high for grade band

Structure (both story structure or form of piece)

The structural shifts are subtle but should be accessible to middle school students. The point of view shifts from first-person (“we turned our backs) in the first three stanzas to second-person (“My friend, you would not”) in the last stanza. There is also a shift in time between the second and third stanzas, from the narrator reliving his past experience as a soldier to his post-war reality.




Language Clarity and Conventions

The poem contains figurative language (“haunting flares, like a devil’s sick of sin) but is written in mostly contemporary, familiar vocabulary. Instances of unconventional syntax, like “And towards our distant rest began to trudgeor spelling (“flound’ring) are challenging, but accessible through context. Overall, the images and phrasing drive the complexity of this text toward the higher end of the range.



Knowledge Demands (life, content, cultural/literary)

The text should be accessible to all 8th graders, as it describes experiences that are based on common human emotions even though the actual fighting of a war is removed from the experiences of the average student. There is no prior knowledge needed to gain access to the text; students in middle and high school should be familiar with the idea that war is a frightening experience.



Levels of Meaning (chiefly literary)/ Purpose (chiefly informational)

There are multiple themes in this text, including: Death in war is often dressed as patriotism; the effects of war remain after the battles are fought; and those who never fought in a war do not know the true cost. These multiple themes increase the complexity of the text.



Overall placement:

Grade 8


The multiple themes, use of figurative language, and shifts in time and perspective make this text most appropriate for grade 8, most likely end of year.



Question Annotations: Correct Answer and Distractor Rationales

Question Number

Correct Answer(s)

Standards

Rationales for Answer Options

1 Part A

D

RL.8.3, RL.8.2, RL.8.1

  1. Although the soldiers are sharing an experience, the first four lines suggest a feeling of retreat rather than survival.

  2. Although the soldiers are downtrodden and exhausted, there is no evidence to suggest they did not meet their objective.

  3. The first four lines of the poem focus on the soldiers’ current situation rather than their memories.

  4. This is the correct response. “Turned our backs” on “the haunting flares” indicates that the soldiers are retreating from the battlefield.

1 Part B

A

  1. This is the correct response. In stanza 3, the events show that even though the soldiers think they are headed for rest and have left the battle behind, they are unable to escape the fighting after all, as the memories haunt their dreams.

  2. Although the soldiers show evidence of being able to fend for themselves, that evidence is presented in stanza 2 rather than stanza 3.

  3. Although most of the soldiers are able to react appropriately, this event does not have an effect on their overall situation.

  4. Although the soldiers are tired and “fumbling,” this does not affect their situation.

2 Part A

B

RL.8.4, RL.8.3, RL.8.1

  1. There is a sense of unity, not loneliness, as the soldiers move together and experience the same physical traumas.

  2. This is the correct response. The soldiers are described as bent in half, coughing, and exhausted.

  3. Although the soldiers “cursed through sludge,” which may signal frustration or anger, the soldiers are repeatedly described as exhausted.

  4. Although the experience of war is obviously very upsetting, there is no evidence to suggest that the soldiers are sad or regretful.

2 Part B

A, E, F

  1. This is a correct response. The soldiers are so weak that they are unable to stand up straight.

  2. “Cursed through sludge” suggests that the soldiers are angry, rather than weak and exhausted.

  3. “Haunting flares” describes the battlefield, not the soldiers.

  4. Although “turned our backs” describes the soldiers, this phrase focuses on their actions, rather than their emotions.

  5. This is a correct response. “Marched asleep” describes the soldiers’ level of exhaustion.

  6. This is a correct response. “Drunk with fatigue” describes the soldiers’ exhaustion and weakness.

  7. “Dropping softly behind” describes the gas-shells, not the soldiers.

3 Part A

CA = Lines 15-16 (In all my dreams before my helpless sight/He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.)

RL.8.3, RL.8.1

These lines are written in present tense, “He plunges at me,” rather than past tense, “I saw him drowning (line 14).”

3 Part B

C




  1. “Before my helpless sight” indicates that the speaker knows he was completely helpless in the situation. Therefore, it wasn’t lack of effort to assist but rather lack of ability.

  2. Although “In all my dreams” suggests that the speaker’s fear is intense and ongoing, there is no evidence in the poem to suggest that the fear is new.

  3. This is the correct response. “In all my dreams” indicates that the speaker has been, and will continue to be, haunted by his war experience.

  4. Evidence in the poem shows that the speaker is able to distinguish reality from dreams.

4

C

RL.8.5, RL.8.1

  1. Although Stanza 4 includes the effects of the war on the speaker, these effects are also discussed in Stanza 3.

  2. The speaker develops and maintains one point of view throughout the poem about the horrors of war.

  3. This is the correct response. The beginning of Stanza 4,“…you too could pace,” begins the speakers’ use of second person point of view.

  4. Although the speaker describes a dream in Stanza 3, there is no suggestion that the speaker is imagining events; he is remembering them.

5 Part A

See answers and rationales in right-hand column.

RL.8.3, RL.8.2, RL.8.1

Correct answers and textual evidence to support each function:


Stanza 1
1) Builds tone by telling horrific details

Evidence: “coughing like hags”; “many had lost their boots, but limped on, blood-shod”


2) Establishes the war scene

Evidence: “on the haunting flares we turned our backs”; “the hoots of gas-shells dropping softly behind”


3) Characterizes the soldiers as weary

Evidence: “bent double”; “men marched asleep”; “drunk with fatigue”



Stanza 2
1) Builds tone by telling horrific details

Evidence: “flound’ring like a man in fire or lime”; “he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning”


2) Propels the action of the poem

Evidence: “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys”; “I saw him drowning”


3) Introduces the speaker of the poem

Evidence: “I saw him drowning”; “in all my dreams before my helpless sight/He plunges at me”



Stanza 4
1) Builds tone by telling horrific details

Evidence: “watch the white eyes writhing in his face”; “the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs”


2) States the speaker’s view of war

Evidence: you would not tell with such high zest”; “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est/Pro patria mori.






5 Part B

A

  1. This is the correct response. The details of the soldiers’ daily conditions and the man’s death support the theme that “dulce et decorum est pro patria moriis a lie.

  2. The poem suggests that war is not worth the human suffering, not that some people are unsuited for it.

  3. Although Stanza 2 includes an unexpected and sudden event, the poem does not focus on preparing for one’s own death.

  4. Although the poem illustrates negative aspects of being a soldier, it does not focus on resolving conflicts.

6

B

RL.8.2.

  1. The central idea is that participation in war is not glorious, rather than it is one’s patriotic duty to fight.

  2. This is the correct response. The last line of the poem says that “dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” is a lie.

  3. Although the poem does detail the sacrifice required by war, it does not suggest that sacrifice is for the public’s benefit.

  4. Although it is possible the speaker would agree with this statement, the central idea is that war should not be glorified.

7

A, C, G

RL.8.9

  1. This is a correct response. The majority of the poem focuses on the death of a soldier and the aftermath of war for the speaker, rather than the outcome of the battle.

  2. Although the poem focuses on soldiers’ pain, the pain is caused by warfare, not society’s reaction to the solders.

  3. This is a correct response. The soldiers are described as physically broken and unable to control even their dreams.

  4. The poem does not explain why the men became soldiers.

  5. There is no evidence to suggest that the men who are weary from physical and emotional traumas of war are not brave.

  6. The poem presents the Roman belief about war as a fallacy, not an ideal.

  7. This is a correct response. The dying soldier is presented as grotesque and helpless, rather than dignified.

8 (Optional Writing Prompt)

See top-score bullets in the right column.

W.8.2,
RL.8.6,
RL.8.1


A good student response will include:

Pope presents war as a game to be won to entice young men (his intended audience) to join the war effort.



  • “Who’s for the game, the biggest that’s played”

  • “The red crashing game”

  • “Who wants a turn to himself in the show?”

Pope develops this point of view by:

  • speaking directly to the reader (“Who’s for the game; Come along, lads”)

  • presenting two roles for young men: hero and bystander (“Who would much rather come back with a crutch/Than lie low and be out of the fun?”)

  • using rhetorical questions (“Who’ll toe the line for the signal to ‘Go!’?”)

  • writing in positive generalities (“it won’t be a picnic –not much”)

Owen presents war as a gruesome, never-ending nightmare to illustrate the realities of war.



  • “All went lame, all blind”

  • “In all my dreams before my helpless sight/He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning”

  • “The old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”

Owen develops this point of view by:

  • presenting specific soldiers (“like old beggars under sacks; the white eyes writing in his face”)

  • describing realistic traumas of battle (“but limped on, blood-shod; flound’ring like a man in fire or lime”)

  • moving from consequences on group, individual, to speaking directly to audience (“we cursed through sludge; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling; If you could hear…”)



Additional Resources for Assessment and CCSS Implementation

Shift 1 – Complexity: Regular practice with complex text and its academic language

  • See Appendix B for examples of informational and literary complex texts: http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf

  • See the Text Complexity Collection on www.achievethecore.org

Shift 2 – Evidence: Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational

  • See Close Reading Exemplars for ways to engage students in close reading on http://www.achievethecore.org/steal-these-tools/close-reading-exemplars

  • See the Basal Alignment Project for examples of text-dependent questions: http://www.achievethecore.org/basal-alignment-project

Shift 3 – Knowledge: Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

  • See Appendix B for examples of informational and literary complex texts: http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf

This mini-assessment can be used as an independent activity or as part of a follow-up to the accompanying sample lesson found on the following link:

http://achievethecore.org/page/23/dulce-et-decorum-est-by-wilfred-owen-detail-pg





1 For higher-stakes tests, it is recommended that two corresponding text complexity measures be used to place a text in a grade band. When two measures are used, both placing the text in the same band, the results provide additional assurance that the text selected is appropriate for the band.



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