Women’s Hidden Experiences: Poetry about Motherhood, Abortion, and Loss

Teaching Human Dignity Series

In this unit, teachers will guide students in close reading of poetry by Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Students will describe the critical attributes and unique value of poetry and analyze poetry using the critical attributes. Because of the sensitive topic, the personal life-experience of abortion, this unit is most suitable for mature students who have already have some experience with this literary genre.

This free, printable unit includes:

  • 5 lessons that span seven 50 minute class periods
  • In-depth instructional notes
  • Additional resources (letter to parents, student safety survey, pre-assessment, etc.)
  • Relevant Common Core Standards for English-Language Arts

This unit was developed in collaboration with University of Notre Dame theology professor Ann Astell. Ann Astell is a member of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary and previously a Professor of English at Purdue University.