English III IB

Individual Oral Presentation Practice Run and Essay


You are to base this Individual Oral Presentation and Essay upon Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The Sound of Waves, or Oedipus Rex.


Choice of Topic

You may choose a topic that reflects your personal interests.  Topics may be based upon any aspect(s) of the work(s) studied, including:

o         Cultural setting of the work(s) and related issues

o         Thematic focus

o         Characterization

o         Techniques and style

o         Author’s attitude toward particular elements of the works such as character(s), subject matter

o         Interpretation of particular elements from different perspectives



The following lists contain examples of the wide range of activities which are acceptable for this presentation.  These lists of examples are neither exhaustive nor prescriptive.  They are only suggestions and can be added to with my approval.  You should select the activity most appropriate to the topic chosen.


  1. Structured Discussions

o         Class discussions wherein you have been given special responsibilities (advance preparation, particular topics, a short report, a provocative position).  Think of this as leading a discussion the way I lead a discussion.  You MUST do most of the talking, though, so use with caution.

o         The presentation of material lending itself to the discussion within the class, such as the offering of two opposing readings of a work (the presenter will take questions from the class).


  1. Oral Exposés

o         An introduction to a writer, a work, or a particular text.

o         An explanation of a particular aspect of an author’s work.

o         The examination of a particular interpretation of a work.

o         The setting of a particular writer’s work against another body of material, such as details on social background or political views.

o         A commentary on the use of a particular image, idea, or symbol in one text or in a writer’s work.

o         A comparison of two passages, two characters, or two works.

o         A commentary on an extract from a work.

o         An account of your developing response to a work.








  1. Role Play

o         A monologue by a character at an important point in the work.

o         Reminiscences by a character from a point in later life.

o         An author’s reaction to a particular interpretation of elements of his/her work in a given context.  For example, a critical defense of the work against a charge of subversion, or immorality, before a censorship board.

o         If you do a role play, you MUST provide a rationale for what you have done.


Focus of the Individual Presentation


The focus of each oral presentation will depend upon the nature and scope of the topic chosen.  The sophistication of literary criticism expected is indicated on the rubric.  Whatever the topic and type of presentation chosen, candidates will be expected to show:

o         Knowledge and understanding of the works

o         Thorough appreciation of the aspect discussed

o         Knowledge and use of the linguistic register appropriate for the presentation.

o         A consideration of the effects of the means by which the author(s) have explored the aspect discussed.


Structure of the Individual Oral Presentation


The structure of each oral presentation depends largely upon the type of activity selected for the topic.  Some activities, such as the structured discussion and the oral exposé, may be well suited to formal discussions which follow a logical sequence, while others, like the role play, may not.  It is your responsibility to select the type of presentation which most effectively enables the objectives of the topic to be realized.  Whatever the activity chosen, all presentations must have a coherent structure.


Preparation of the Individual Oral Presentation


When you have chosen the topic for your presentation, it will be your responsibility to:

o         Select appropriate material for the presentation

o         Organize the material into a coherent structure

o         Choose and rehearse the linguistic register appropriate for the presentation.


Presentation and Subsequent Discussion

Presentation: 10-13 minutes; Teacher Q&A: 2-3 minutes


You will do your presentation without interruption or assistance. 

When the presentation is completed, I will engage in a discussion with you in order to probe further into your knowledge and understanding of the work(s) or topic.  I must be satisfied that you have justified your selection of:

o         The materials used in the presentation

o         The activity chosen to convey the topic

o         Linguistic register for the presentation

The whole class may participate in this part of the discussion, asking questions of you as well.




You will turn your presentation into an expository essay (I would write the essay while working on the presentation).  Requirements for essay: 1000-1500 words, MLA format (with works cited).

Required sentence structures:

Appositive phrase, repeat-word modifier, analysis modifier, present participial phrase, past participial phrase, infinitive phrase, absolute phrase


Important Dates:


Sept. 9/13-14—Turn in a proposal which does the following:

o         Clearly and specifically identifies the work(s), topic/ aspect you chose;

o         Connection of that topic/aspect to meaning or theme of the work (a working thesis);

o         Clearly and specifically explains the type and structure of the activity you will use for your presentation.

o         Proposal MUST be typed!!!


Sept. 15-16—Turn in an introduction to your essay with a thesis statement.


Sept. 19-20—Turn in an outline which does the following:

o         Presents your thesis statement at the top of the page.

o         Clearly denotes the PARTS of your presentation/essay, to some detail.


Sept. 21-28

PRESENTATION DAYS.  I will assign each person a presentation day after I read through the proposals.  These days are set in stone, unless you have an extenuating circumstance.  I reserve the right to determine extenuating circumstances and presentation day changes.  This is a major grade.


During the presentation, you will ONLY be allowed to have in front of you your outline, a list of quotations you will use as evidence, and/or your book.  DO NOT BRING YOUR ESSAY, as I will not allow you to use it.  Instead, practice, practice, practice your analysis of the quotations you will cite as evidence.


Do not present it this way: In my essay, I wrote… or My introduction said…  This is a formal presentation.  You do the presentation first, then write up your presentation in an essay.


I highly recommend that you hand out an outline (or write it on the board), and that you provide copies of the passages you will discuss (if this applies).  You must see me two days PRIOR to your presentation for me to make copies/overheads for you.


Sept 21-28

Rough Draft due.  I will assign each person a rough draft day that is not the same day as the presentation.  Your rough draft is a FULL version of your essay with MLA format (with works cited) and marked/labeled sentence structures.


Oct. 21-24Final Draft Due  A REVISION of the rough draft (no revision = 0).  A major grade.  MLA format, works cited, and labeled/marked sentence structures.




Work:  Canterbury Tales Prologue


Title of the presentation/essay:

Two Ways of Serving the Church: Religious Hypocrisy and True Practice in The Canterbury Tales


Topic:  Comparison of two pilgrim descriptions: the Friar and the Parson

More specifically, I am going to compare the corruption of the Friar with the goodness of the Parson in order to show Chaucer’s satire of the clergy while his recognition that some good remains within the Church.  I will analyze closely devices within the passage such as diction, imagery, and metaphor, but my overreaching devices will be the way in which verbal irony for the Friar contrasts with straightforward speech for the Parson.


Structure of Activity: I will do an oral exposé in which I hand out the passages to the class, have an overhead copy of the passages, and mark up the passages on the overhead while I closely read and analyze them out loud for the class.

*Please photocopy my passages and make me an overhead.  The passages are attached.



EXAMPLE Presentation Outline


Presentation Thesis: Part of Chaucer’s purpose in writing The Canterbury Tales was to expose the flaws of the clergy.  He does so with many wayward clergymen, most notably the friar, by showing both hypocrisy and a failure to follow religious beliefs.  Yet he does not believe the Church Itself is corrupt, as the Parson is a good and true priest.  Instead, the individuals within it need reform, guided by the overarching goodness of the church.


I.  The narrator’s description of the Friar

Hand out passage to class.  Read aloud.  Then, close reading and analysis, marking on overhead:

A.      Ways he violates his vows

1.        Flirting/having relations with women—vow of chastity (diction/detail)

2.        Taking money for confessions (hearing confessions?)—vow of poverty (diction)

3.        Dressing well (no Franciscan frock for him!)—vow of poverty (imagery/detail)

4.        Using rhetoric (like singing loudly) to take money from poor—vow of poverty/vow of service to the poor (diction)

5.        Shunning those in need for people from whom he can make money—vow of service to the poor (diction)

B.       Verbal irony

1.        “He was a noble pillar to his Order.” (metaphor—irony due to horrific deeds around him)

2.        “Natural gifts like his were hard to match.” (diction—irony because his “gifts” are corrupt)

3.        “This worthy’s name was Hubert.” (diction—irony because his actions show he is not worthy of his order)


II.  The narrator’s description of the Parson

Read passage aloud.  Then, close reading and analysis, marking on overhead:

A.      Ways he fulfills his vows

1.        Knowing and preaching the true gospel

a.        Conceit of shepherd/flock

b.       “If gold rust, what then will iron do?” (metaphor)

2.        Giving to the poor from his own money (diction)

3.        Complete lack of hypocrisy (allusion to Christ)

B.       Straightforward speech (lack of verbal irony)

1.        “Yet he was rich in holy thought and work.” (immediate contrast to other clergy from beginning)

2.        “He was a shepherd and no mercenary.” (unlike the friar, who uses people’s faith for profit)

3.        “I think there never was a better priest.” (the good actions surrounding this statement show that it is NOT irony)