Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 9: Making Evidence-Based Claims About Literary Technique – “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” by Ernest Hemingway

Rating: Five apple rating

Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

RL.9-10.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.

RL.9-10.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.


W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.9-10.9 (a) Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Speaking and Listening

SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Description of Unit

This Grade 9 unit titled “Making Evidence-Based Claims About Literary Technique – The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway” from odelleducation.com is part of a developing core proficiencies literary program. This unit is intended to be completed in 6-14 sessions of direct instruction in ELA/Literacy with a focus on students’ abilities to make evidence-based claims about literary technique through activities based on a close reading of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Students begin by learning to make claims as readers and then participate in activities that prepare them to express these claims by organizing evidence and thinking. For the remainder of the unit, students’ practice the writing of claims. In the culminating activity, students look more globally at the story—the choices the author makes to develop his ideas and characters, the techniques that the author uses to create effects, as well as the meanings they can infer—in order to write an evidence-based claim about literary technique.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that extensive teacher notes and preparation materials require familiarity to be used effectively. Due to the rigor required for student success, additional supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be required. On page 3 of the unit document, one of the targeted standards is mislabeled; it should be W.9-10.9(a) as it is in the rest of the unit. The standards listed above are accurate.

Rationale for Selection

The design of this unit is exemplary. Instruction pushes students beyond general thematic understanding of texts into deep engagement with textual content and authorial craft. It includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time as it gradually removes supports and requires students to demonstrate their independent capacities.  In addition to reading and writing, it incorporates many structured collaborative activities to develop key speaking and listening proficiencies. Files, including detailed daily lesson plans tools, and checklists, are organized so that teachers can easily browse through the materials. Varied modes of assessment provide direct, observable evidence for interpreting student performance. The unit parts can be taught as short stand-alone units to introduce or develop key student proficiencies. Teachers can also integrate them into larger modules that build up to and around these proficiencies, or apply the activity sequences and unit materials to different texts and topics.