National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read
The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon

by Dashiell Hammett

I’m one of the few—if there are any more—people moderately literate who take the detective story seriously.

Schedule/Lesson Plans

This is a suggested teaching schedule for a 10 class study of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Lesson plans and handouts can be downloaded individually by clicking on the name of the file in the schedule below. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these files.

Audio Guide CDs are available only for the communities participating in The Big Read. If your community is participating, contact the lead community organization to receive a free Audio Guide CD. Non-participating communities can listen to the full audio online.

Day One
Focus: Biography
Day One Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Two
Focus: Culture and History
Day Two Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Three
Focus: Narrative and Point of View
Day Three Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Four
Focus: Characters
Day Four Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Five
Focus: Figurative Language
Day Five Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Six
Focus: Symbols
Day Six Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Seven
Focus: Character Development
Day Seven Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Eight
Focus: The Plot Unfolds
Day Eight Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Nine
Focus: Themes of the Novel
Day Nine Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Ten
Focus: What Makes a Book Great?
Day Ten Lesson Plan [PDF]


Handout 1: San Francisco in the Roaring Twenties [PDF]
Handout 2: Hard-Boiled Fiction and Hammett’s Writing Style [PDF]
Handout 3: The Falcon as a Symbol [PDF]

Download all ten lesson plans and handouts [.zip]

Page numbers refer to the 1992 Vintage Crime edition of The Maltese Falcon.

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