The Shop at Monticello

by Kiki Petrosino

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Gift Shop

Step 1

Say, “Watch the following two videos, back to back. Then simply discuss your reaction after having watched them in succession.” Then give them time to discuss.

Step 2

Read “The Shop at Monticello” by Kiki Petrosino. When you’re done, briefly discuss the speaker’s complex feelings or attitude toward “the shop at Monticello.” Did the speaker’s perspective mirror theirs? If so, how?

Step 3

Say, “Think of something that you have “mixed feelings” toward, something along the lines of a gift shop at a former slave plantation. Is there something that doesn’t sit quite right with you? Jot down as many possibilities as you can.”

Step 4

Have your students compose a poem similar in sentiment to “The Shop at Monticello” in which they express their feelings of confliction, disgust, confusion, etc. toward a specific place, event, etc.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one.

Step 2

Start by showing your students the following video from the official channel of the Monticello organization.

Step 3

Now show your students this video, also from the official channel of the Monticello organization.

Step 4

Briefly discuss the two videos. How did your students react seeing the two pieces back to back? What “contrasts” or “conflicts” did they notice? Why?

Step 5

Read “The Shop at Monticello” with your students. As you are reading, ask your students to pay particular attention to the ironies, contrasts, or conflicts within the piece and how they align with the two videos they watched in class.

Step 6

Have your students open the following document and go over the introduction and the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to analyze the contrasts/ironies in the piece and discuss how they contribute to the interpretation of the work as a whole. When you have gone over the directions, give your students time to work.

Step 7

When you are done, have your students share their insights about the “conflicts” within the piece. Then ask them about their interpretations of the work as a whole based on those observations.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Class
  • Death / Grief
  • History
  • Race / Ethnicity / Racism

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Sound Devices
  • Tone

Content Warning

  • Racism or Racial Slurs