English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Personas
  • Women in Society
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial




    In this lesson, students will think deeply about personas in “The Wife of His Youth.” They'll have an opportunity to reflect in writing about the role personas might play in their own lives.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

    Hamlet Quote Analysis

    • Have students share their thoughts with the whole class.
    • The goal for this lesson is for students to see how the story reflects the division of persona within the main character. The attempt here is to get students thinking about themselves and in doing so, recognize the “truth” that the author reveals in his story.
      • ELL: Review the meaning of the term persona and how it is similar to and different from terms likerole andcharacter .
      • SWD: This idea is complex and may require explanation via examples. You can take this opportunity to work with students to identify other characters with divided personas in popular media, to support students who need to improve their abilities to generalize from examples. A familiar example might be Superman, who has two personas: Clark Kent and Superman. Many superheroes have multiple personas.


    Mr. Ryder quotes a line from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet .

    “This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

    Consider the following questions.

    • What does this passage mean?
    • How or why is this quote appropriate to Mr. Ryder’s situation?

    Open Notebook

    Share your responses with the full class.

    False Fronts and Personas

    • Encourage those students who have difficulty or who finish early to write more.
    • Circulate around the room to ensure that students are on task and are not struggling.

    Work Time

    Write your responses to the questions below.

    • Have you ever found yourself presenting a “false front” in a situation? Give an example or two and explain.
    • Was this behavior intentional or unintentional?
    • Why did you behave differently?
    • How did you feel about it?

    Open Notebook

    Personas in The Wife of His Youth

    • Have students share their thoughts at the end of their writing time.
    • You could raise the question of whether Liza Jane is truly Mr. Ryder's wife, or if she merely represents the life he used to live. See if this changes the students' understanding of the story.
      • SWD: This is a good time to check for understanding before asking students to work independently in writing. Explain how Liza Jane may be a symbolic character and what she may mean to Mr. Ryder.


    Read the quote below by Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung about what he called “persona.”

    “The persona is a complicated system of relations between individual consciousness and society, fittingly enough a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and, on the other, to conceal the true nature of the individual.

    In writing, consider the following questions.

    • What do you think of Jung’s theory? Is he right?
    • How does Mr. Ryder, in “The Wife of His Youth,” wear a “mask”?

    Open Notebook

    Share your thoughts with the whole class.

    The Wife of His Youth Reflection

    • Let students know how to share their responses with you.


    Answer the following questions.

    • Where in the story do Mr. Ryder’s thoughts differ from his behavior? Use specific quotes from the text.
    • Why does he present Liza Jane as the “wife of my youth”?
    • Do you think this is a difficult thing for Mr. Ryder to do? Why?

    Open Notebook

    Submit your writing to your teacher.