Lesson plans for ages 15-18 in Language & Literature: The Depiction of Refugee Experience in Literature


Military conflict in Lebanon between paramilitary forces and Israeli armed forces caused tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes. A mother tries to comfort her child in Bourj Hammoud High School in Beirut.   © UNHCR/C.Lau


Mercifully, most senior high school students do not have personal experience of systematic persecution or war, such as that suffered by millions of refugees, both in the past and now.

Refugees are people who flee their country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group. A refugee either cannot return home, or is afraid to do so.

These lessons are designed to help the student to empathize with the plight of refugees, to become aware of the depths of human feelings stirred by the experience of enforced exile and subsequent sojourn in refugee camps or settlements. Refugees' sense of alienation, of not belonging in the host community, is evoked in the two literary works which are the subject matter of the lessons.