Number one for English language teachers

Bliss

This advanced-level story, by Katherine Mansfield, is set in London in the early 1900s. It is about a woman called Bertha who is overcome with happiness because she has everything – but all is not as it seems. It is told in four parts; each part contains audio and an accompanying lesson plan written by Daniel Barber, which includes teacher’s notes, student worksheets and a full transcript and glossary. Part 1 is free to all onestopenglish users.

Bliss lesson plans

  • Bliss: Part 1

    Author: Daniel Barber

    Part 1 of this story introduces us to Bertha who is almost unable to contain her happiness and questions the social conventions that say she can’t express her happiness without appearing strange. In this lesson, the students will: talk about what makes them happy and how we express happiness; think about the historical and class context of the story; order the events in the narrative; practise the emphatic use of auxiliary verbs and explore the main character’s personality.

  • Bliss: Part 2

    Author: Daniel Barber Staff Room

    Part 2 of this story continues with Bertha and Harry holding a dinner party, however, their colourful guests are here but Harry hasn’t arrived home yet. In this lesson, the students will: recall details of the life of the protagonist; listen to a description in order to complete a drawing of a scene from the story; listen for detail to make notes about other characters; practise emphatic stress in double comparatives; arrange a seating plan for a dinner party.

  • Bliss: Part 3

    Author: Daniel Barber Staff Room

    Part 3 of this story continues with the dinner party in full swing. Harry has finally arrived but Bertha is more preoccupied with the mysterious Miss Fulton. In this lesson, the students will: test one another on their knowledge of the details of the story up to now; listen in order to complete a summary of Part 3; look at the use of ‘soft’ consonants to create mood; discuss Bertha’s relationship with Pearl Fulton; write letters between Bertha and Pearl.

  • Bliss: Part 4

    Author: Daniel Barber Staff Room

    Part 4 of this story concludes with Bertha falling victim to a grave misunderstanding. In this lesson, the students will: predict the ending of the story; listen for detail; discuss the meaning and symbolism of the story; explore the adoption of characters’ voices when storytelling; act out a dialogue between Bertha and her psychoanalyst.

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