CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Legacy of Margaret Laurence

1 to 2 lessons
To complete an in-depth analysis of information about a Canadian author
Students analyze one or two clips about Margaret Laurence in detail.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Briefly review with students what they know about Margaret Laurence. If they have not completed the activity Scavenger Hunt, they may wish to do it now.

Present the following quotation (from a speech entitled "My Final Hour") to students: "I have always believed I had to live as well as to write, to be a citizen and a person and a mother and a friend as well as a writer." Ask what students feel the quotation reveals about the author.

Outline the Opportunity

Divide the class into 6 small groups. Assign each group one or two of the clips on the topic Margaret Laurence: Canada's Divine Writer" on the CBC Digital Archives website to analyze. The clips "A difficult childhood" and "Laurence's first novel" should be done by the same group, as should "Laurence's books banned" and "Laurence dies at 60".  Have students view the assigned clips, then view it again and take point-form notes. Questions for them to consider are: What is Laurence's place in the canon of Canadian literature? Why is she one of the most beloved, revered, and respected Canadian authors? What is her legacy? Why do her characters live on in the hearts of her readers?

When students are finished, have them share with their group their own opinion about Laurence.

Revisit and Reflect

Create new groups that include a member of each of the original groups so that there is an 'expert' on each clip in each group. In the new groups, each person should summarize his or clip for the group, then lead a brief discussion on the views expressed in the clip.



Students can write a few paragraphs summarizing what they learned from their peers and from their own work about Laurence's legacy. They can include notes about what they would still like to know about her work and which of her works they would be interested in reading.

Related Content

The Lives of Alice Munro

A master of the short story, Alice Munro is one of Canada's most acclaimed literary treasures....

Antonine Maillet, Acadian Avenger

"I have avenged my ancestors," said author Antonine Maillet in 1979 with the publication of he...

Canada's Nobel Laureates

Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been awarded yearly in the fields of physics, chemistry, physi...

1987: Margaret Laurence dies at 60

On Jan. 5, 1987, after months of coping with advanced lung cancer, Margaret Laurence takes her...

Marina Endicott, author

The author of Good to a Fault describes her elation at being shortlisted for the Giller Prize ...

Nicolas Dickner, author

In 2008 the author of Nikolski talks about the process of writing his novel.