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Lesson 2 - Truman Capote: Other Voices, Other Rooms
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At the age of 23, Truman Capote achieved critical acclaim with the publication of his first book Other Voices, Other Rooms. Capote, quoted as saying, "My major regret in life is that my childhood was unnecessarily lonely", was abandoned by his mother at the age of ten, and raised in rural Alabama by a family of distant, elderly cousins. This American Master's series lesson uses Capote's autobiographical short story, "A Christmas Memory", to teach a lesson on characterization in writing.

Grade Level

7 - 12

Subject Area

Language Arts


Students will:

  • recognize the difference between "telling" and "showing" the nature of a character.
  • describe a person.
  • write a short story.




Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts

  • Analyzes the simple and complex actions (e.g., internal/external conflicts) between main and subordinate characters in literary works containing complex character structures
  • Makes connections between his or her own life and the characters, events, motives, and causes of conflict in texts
  • Understands the effects of author's style and complex literary devices and techniques on the overall quality of a work (e.g., tone; irony; mood; figurative language; allusion; diction; dialogue; symbolism; point of view; voice; understatement and overstatement; time and sequence; narrator; poetic elements, such as sound, imagery, personification)


Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process

  • Writes fictional, biographical, autobiographical, and observational narrative compositions (e.g., narrates a sequence of events; evaluates the significance of the incident; provides a specific setting for scenes and incidents; provides supporting descriptive detail [specific names for people, objects, and places; visual details of scenes, objects, and places; descriptions of sounds, smells, specific actions, movements, and gestures; the interior monologue or feelings of the characters]; paces the actions to accommodate time or mood changes; creates a unifying theme or tone; uses literary devices to enhance style and tone)

Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing

  • Uses precise and descriptive language that clarifies and enhances ideas and supports different purposes (e.g., to stimulate the imagination of the reader, to translate concepts into simpler or more easily understood terms, to achieve a specific tone, to explain concepts in literature)

Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions

  • Uses complex and compound-complex sentences in written compositions

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