Chris Adcock
English Language Arts, Composition and Rhetoric
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Assessment
  • Detail
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Writing
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Extended Metaphors

    Extended Metaphors


    In this lesson, you will talk about how extended metaphors function in a literary work, and how Dickens uses many in his descriptions.

    In this lesson, students will talk about how extended metaphors function in a literary work, and how Dickens uses many in his descriptions.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Create small groups of mixed ability.
    • As necessary, provide images and fact sheets about lions and jackals.

    Mascots and Metaphor

    • If necessary, review the term metaphor with students, explaining that a metaphor has two parts, the tenor (meaning) and the vehicle (the comparison). Explain, for example, that tiger (vehicle) makes a good mascot because of the tenor (e.g., ferocious, man-eating, etc.) SWD: Provide more examples if students are struggling to generalize the ideas of vehicle and tenor to other metaphors. Continue to check for understanding until all students are able to demonstrate they are clear on the meanings of the terms. ELL: Some students may not have a frame of reference for the NFL or mascots. Be sure to provide context as explanation as needed.
    • Give students a short time frame to list their mascot names and complete the Quick Write.
    • Be aware that some mascot names are controversial. Unless you have time, be prepared to sidestep a complicated discussion of Native American mascot names by acknowledging the issue, and perhaps scheduling a future time to talk about it.


    Mascots for schools and teams can be considered metaphors. With that in mind, do the following.

    • Make a quick list of mascot names for schools around you, or names for professional teams, such as from
      the NFL.
    • In general, what properties do the mascots you have listed share? What makes them preferable choices over things like “bunnies” or “fawns”?

    Open Notebook

    Lion and Jackal Group Work

    • If your classroom does not have connectivity, share some images and fact sheets on both lions and jackals.
    • Students may have plenty to say about lions but less to say about jackals. Give them a few moments to find interesting images and information about lions and jackals.
    • You might want to split the class in half and have the lion half then share with the jackal half.
    • Again, be aware that in Dickens’s time, less was known about both lions and jackals and therefore some of the information students find about either might be inconsistent with the intentions of the terms in the novel.

    Work Time

    Join a small group as directed and view images and discussions of jackals and lions. After discussing your findings with the whole class, do the following.

    • With your group, fill out the form for Stryver and for Carton.
    • Identify qualities of the animals in the left column and qualities of the characters in the middle column.
    • Get at least three short quotations—three for each character—that show the metaphors at work. Put those in the last column.

    When it is your turn, share with the whole class what your group has noticed about the jackal and lion metaphors.

    Metaphor and Character

    • Facilitate a discussion about the appropriateness of the metaphors and the characters of Stryver and Carton. Be sure to underscore that Stryver and Carton were in school together, and ask students what they think of Carton doing Stryver’s homework for him.
    • Turn to the passage about the echoing footsteps and discuss the foreshadowing about the lives of the Manettes. (Consider: “The footsteps were incessant …” and the final sentence of Chapter 6 from “Perhaps …”)
    • Explore the idea of footsteps, how they suggest many people, for example.
    • Then, ask students what they think about Miss Pross. Since foreshadowing is very much the topic here, invite them to speculate about her role. ELL: The role of servants in upper class British homes during this period may be unfamiliar to some students. If students are interested, discuss similar dynamics in Frodo and Sam’s relationship in the Lord of the Rings .Downton Abbey is another example of this dynamic in popular media.

    Work Time

    With the whole class, discuss the following.

    • How did your examination of the metaphors deepen your understanding of Stryver and Carton?
    • Consider another extended metaphor—the echoing footsteps. Find mention of the footsteps in the text. What do they suggest?
    • How do these footsteps connect to Miss Pross?
    • Why does she insist on so many visitors? What is her relationship to Lucie? How does she see her role in the home?

    Miss Pross as Metaphor

    • Give students a few moments to jot down their ideas and then allow volunteers to share their metaphors for Miss Pross, making sure that they offer reasons, grounded in text, that prove their metaphors are appropriate.
    • SWD: Some students may generate metaphors that feel or sound incorrect to you or other members of the class. Whenever possible, try to keep the focus on the substance of what the student is trying to express rather than whether others immediately understand the exact comparison. You can also help these students incorporate their classmates’ reactions in order to craft a metaphor that will appeal to a broader audience.


    Building off your previous discussions of metaphor and character, do a Quick Write on the following.

    • What might be a good metaphor for Miss Pross?
    • Jot down your ideas

    Open Notebook

    Share your ideas with the whole class.

    Book II, Chapters 7 and 8

    As usual, remind students to read and annotate carefully. Consider checking students’ annotations occasionally to identify and support those who are struggling. Consider inviting or assigning individual students from time to time to share their annotations of a given section of text with the rest of the class.


    • Read Book II, Chapters 7 and 8 in A Tale of Two Cities .
    • Annotate for key ideas, personal reactions, questions, and vocabulary.