Literary Vignette as Prose Portrait (ELA)



A literary vignette is a short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment, or gives a deep impression about a character, idea, setting, or object. In the field of photography, portraiture is photography of a person or group of people that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject. As such, the author of a literary vignette works to produce the same kind of lasting image as the the portrait photographer.

In this lesson, "Literary Vignette as Prose Portraiture," we'll explore the relationship between vignette writing and portrait photography. Students will read and analyze a literary vignette by Sandra Cisneros entitled "Salvador Late or Early." Students will then be invited to search the internet for three photographic images that they believe reflect Cisneros' subject's personal qualities. Next, we'll further explore the relationship between photographic image and literary vignette -- this time from the opposing angle: Students will be asked to search the web for a compelling photographic portrait, and then to compose their own literary vignette ("a portrait in prose") to match.

One or Two Class Sessions - 50-100 minutes

Industries / Subjects / Grades

Industries / Pathways
  • Arts, Media, and Entertainment Arts, Media, and Entertainment
    • Performing Arts
    • Production and Managerial Arts
    • Design, Visual, and Media Arts
K-12 Subjects
  • English-Language Arts
Grade Levels
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

Standards and Objectives


California English Common Core Standards (1)

Related Instructional Objectives (SWBAT...)

  • Develop understanding of the defining qualities of a literary vignette
  • Demonstrate command of enriching writing through use of sensory details
  • Identify author's use of emotionally evocative imagery and undestand its efficacy
  • Write an orignal, polished literary vignette

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