EOC PREP:  Cause and Effect

12/01 – 02/2014

EOC Prep

Focused Research Topic:

Source Credibility/Validity of Web Sources:

Citing Information:


Research Paper

  1. Note Cards/Note Taking
  1. Numbering
  1. How To Take Notes For A Research Paper (Handout)
  2. What Is a Note Card? PowerPoint (slides 8-11)
  1. Practice Note Taking
  • Create two note cards (one quote, one paraphrase) from each source used yesterday

11/20 – 21/2014

EOC Prep

Selecting Thesis Sentence (Thu 11/20)

Supporting Sentences (Thu 11/20)

  • Lesson 29b Power Point (slides 1-10)

Writer’s Purpose (Fri 11/21)

Writer’s Attitude (Fri 11/21)


Research Paper

  1. Author/Source Cards
  1. “Sample Note Cards” handout
  1. Practice
  • Put examples on screen: Newspapers, Magazines, Dictionaries and Books
  • Each student create three source cards: one book, one newspaper, one magazine, one dictionary

11/17 – 18/2014

EOC Prep

  • Use Variety of Strategies to Combine a Simple Set of Sentences into a Longer, More Complex Sentence:
    • Writing Effective Sentences Worksheets

11/18/2014:  No School; Inclement Weather


MLA Research Paper

  1. Introduction
    1. Power Point “The Research Paper”
    1. Sample Paper
  • Copy for each student
  • Review
  1. Heading
  1. Introduction
  1. Body
  1. Internal Citations/Documentation
  1. Conclusion
  1. Works Cited

10/27 – 11/13/2014

Reading schedule for “The Grapes of Wrath”

Mon 10/27/14 Great Depression Read chapters 1-4

Tue 10/28/14 Discuss chapters 1-4 Read chapters 5-7

Wed 10/29/14 Discuss chapters 5-7 Read chapters 8-10

Thu 10/30/14 Discuss chapters 8-10 Read chapters 11-13

Wed 11/05/14 Discuss chapters 11-13 Read chapters 14-16

Thu 11/06/14 Discuss chapters 14-16 Read chapters 17-21

Fri 11/07/14 Discuss chapters 17-21 Read chapters 22-25

Mon 11/10/14 Discuss chapters 22-25 Read chapters 26-30

Tue 11/11/14 Discuss chapters 26-30 Post-Reading Questions

Wed 11/12/14 Complete Post-Reading Paragraphs Test Review

Thu 11/13/14 Test

You are responsible for this material whether you (or we) are in class or not..


The Grapes of Wrath

Answer the following questions in paragraph form on a separate sheet of paper.

Five sentences make a paragraph.

  1. What is the importance of the government camp?
  1. What is the meaning of the book’s title?
  1. How does Rose of Sharon’s character develop throughout the novel?
  1. What two major sins does Steinbeck condemn the landowners for?
  1. What is the importance of the way the tractor is used in the early chapters?
  1. Discuss the importance of the boxcar as both actual object and as a symbol.
  1. What is the significance of Casey’s death?
  1. How does Tom’s character change throughout the novel?
  1. What does the word “Okie” mean, and what emotions does it reflect in both the people who use the word and those to whom it refers?


The Grapes of Wrath

Discussion Questions – answer in complete sentence form on a separate sheet of paper

  1. Are we meant to conclude that Tom’s killing of the deputy is justified?
  2. What makes Casy believe that “maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of”?
  3. Why does Steinbeck devote a chapter to the land turtle’s progress on the highway?
  4. Why does Pa yield his traditional position in the family to Ma?
  5. What does Ma mean when she says, “Bearin’ an’ dyin’ is two pieces of the same thing”?
  6. As Tom leaves the family, he says, “I’ll be ever’where—wherever you look”. In what sense does he mean “everywhere”?
  7. Why does Steinbeck interrupt the Joads’ narrative with short chapters of commentary and description?
  8. Why does Rose of Sharon smile as she feeds the starving man with milk intended for her baby?
  9. What does Steinbeck mean when he writes, “In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage”?)
  10. Why do different characters insist at different points in the book, “A fella got to eat”?
  11. Why does the book start with drought and end with floods?
  12. Is the family intact at the end of the novel?
  13. Why does Uncle John set the dead baby adrift rather than bury it?
  14. What is the source of Ma’s conviction that “we’re the people—we go on”?
  15. Does nature function as a force for either good or evil in this book?

For Further Reflection – answer in paragraph form

  1. As his land is destroyed, an anonymous tenant says, “We’ve got a bad thing made by men, and by God that’s something we can change”. Is Steinbeck suggesting that a just social order is possible?
  2. When the narrator says “men ate what they had not raised, had no connection with the bread”, the implication is that this break diminishes humanity. Can spirituality be maintained with increasing automation?
  3. Casy tells Tom about a prisoner whose view of history is that “ever’ time they’s a little step fo’ward, she may slip back a little, but she never slips clear back . . . they wasn’t no waste”. Do you agree with this view?


The Grapes of Wrath

Chapters 27-30


  • All about cotton picking.
  • “Side-meat tonight, by God! … Stick out a han’ to the little fella, he’s wore out. … The ol’ woman’ll make some nice biscuits tonight, ef she ain’t too tired.”


  • The Joads pick cotton for a month, and every night they have meat, and the boxcar they share with another family is “almost nicer than anything we had ‘cept the gov’ment camp.”
  • By the time later-arrivers come they’re aristocrats.
  • While Ma’s cooking dinner, Ruthie brags to a girl that her brother (who’s hiding from killing a man) can whip her brother.
  • Ma takes food and seven dollars to Tom’s cave in the willows.
  • She wants him to go hundreds of miles away, but he’s decided to do what Casy did.
  • He remembers some scripture Casy told him once (Ecclesiastes 4).
  • Tom: “maybe like Casy says, a fella ain’t got a soul of his own, but on’y a piece of a big one. … I’ll be ever’where—wherever you look.”
  • Returning, Ma runs into a man looking for pickers and says they’ll be there in the morning.
  • Mr. Wainwright worries about his grown daughter and Al.
  • Pa thinks about the old place. Ma: “This here’s purtier—better lan’.”
  • Ma notes that a man lives in a jerk, a woman in flow.
  • Al announces he and Aggie are aiming to get married.
  • The families celebrate with pancakes and syrup.
  • They wake early for the day’s picking.
  • There’re so many the field’s picked clean by eleven.
  • It rains heavily on the way back and Rosasharn gets chilled.
  • Pa, Al and John fetch firewood all afternoon. It rains all night.


  • Rain. Winter. Floods. No work. No relief. Illness. Mud. Begging. Hunger. Stealing. Sheriffs.
  • No work till spring. No work, no money, no food (unlike horses).
  • “The women watched the men, watched to see whether the break had come at last.” “…the break would never come as long as fear could turn to wrath.”
  • “Tiny points of grass came through the earth, and in a few days the hills were pale green with the beginning year.”


  • After three days of rain Pa worries the creek may flood if they don’t build a bank against it.
  • Rosasharn’s baby comes early, so they can’t leave.
  • Eighteen men help Pa build a bank.
  • As a scream comes from the boxcar the water rises over the first thrown dirt.
  • They keep working on the levee through the evening and the screaming.
  • A falling tree wrecks the levee and all scramble for the boxcar.
  • Al tries the truck but it’s under water.
  • The baby doesn’t breathe.
  • As the water rises, Al suggests building a structure in the boxcar to hold things dry.
  • Uncle John is given the task of burying the baby.
  • Instead he lets it float away in the stream: “Go down in the street an’ rot an’ tell ‘em that way.”
  • The water rises to six inches above the floor.
  • All but Al, who’s staying with Aggie and their stuff, wade up to the highway and Ma spots a barn on a hill.
  • Inside the barn they find a man and a boy.
  • The man is nearly starved, couldn’t keep down bread the boy stole the day before.
  • After Ma makes everyone else leave, Rose of Sharon nurses the man.



The Grapes of Wrath

Ch. 26 Quiz:

  1. Why do the Joads leave Weedpatch?

(no work or $)

  1. What crop do the Joads pick at Hooper Ranch?


  1. Who does Ma say you should go to if you need help?

(poor people)

  1. Whose skull is crushed by a man with a pick handle?


  1. What does Tom do that causes the Joads to leave the ranch?

(kills a man)


  • One month in Weedpatch and the Joads are down to a day’s worth of grease, two of flour, and ten potatoes.
  • In all there’s been five days work for Tom.
  • Ma decides they’ll have to leave.
  • Al will miss his blond, Ruthie and Winfield (who’s not well) the croquet, and Tom the dances.
  • Going toward cotton in Tulare they have a flat tire.
  • A man from the Hooper Ranch east of Pixley tells them there’s work picking peaches at five cents a box.
  • Cops lead them past shouting men. They’re told to find House 63.
  • The family picked the rest of the day for a dollar and everybody’s tired.
  • It takes the whole dollar to buy fat, gristly hamburger, potatoes, bread and coffee.
  • Ma to the storekeeper: “I’m learnin’ one thing good … If you’re in trouble or hurt or need—go to poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help.”
  • Guards complain to each other about government camps spoiling the Okies.
  • Tom goes to see the pickets and runs into Casy who explains they were making two and a half cents and talks about the union struggle.
  • Vigilantes chase them under a bridge.
  • Casy: “You fellas don’ know what you’re doin’. You’re helpin’ to starve kids.” His skull is crushed with a pick handle.
  • Tom takes the weapon and kills George. They crush his nose but he escapes back to the hut. Next morning Tom tells what happened, plans to leave, but Ma tells him to stay.
  • Winfield gets sick from hunger.
  • At night they put Tom between two mattresses in the truck and all leave the farm, heading for Highway 101.
  • Ma: “Gives ya funny feelin’ to be hunted like. I’m gittin’ mean.” Pa: “Ever’body’s gittin’ mean…. Down that gov’ment camp we wasn’ mean.”
  • They go about twenty miles and find a bunch of boxcars and a sign: COTTON PICKERS WANTED.
  • Tom says they should stay in a boxcar and he can hide in culvert in the brush by the creek.
  • Ma starts to take over as head of family
  • Family starts to turn on each other
  • Al talks about leaving all the time; Pa yells at Al for complaining.
  • Store at ranch has higher prices than in town.
  • Page 515: Who was J.P. Morgan? (owned G.E., U.S. Steel, 5000 miles of railroad)

11/ 10 /2014

Grapes of Wrath


  • The camp prepares for the Saturday dance.
  • The Committee prepares for trouble and plans no violence.
  • Al tries to pick up a blond girl.
  • Tom kids Rosasharn about getting big, then joins Willie’s committee.
  • Pa debates Black Hat over becoming a twenty-cent man.
  • Tom and Jule watch visitors arrive.
  • Jule spots three troublemakers, and a kid tells Huston there’s two cars with guns.
  • Ma and Rosasharn sit on a bench as the band plays “Chicken Reel.”
  • The men capture the three troublemakers and remove them.
  • Deputies can enter without a warrant if there’s a riot.
  • They put the three over the fence.
  • Black Hat tells of a turkey shoot in Akron the previous March and how that put an end to being molested.
  • Pg. 476: Religious people complain about the dance. (don’t watch)


  • Read Aloud
  • The beauty of Spring in California.
  • How debt chokes off the crops and the farmers.
  • Everything is destroyed to keep up the price.
  • “And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange.” “In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”


Grapes of Wrath


Tom pulls over the speed bump into the government camp and then to Number Four Sanitary Unit. The watchman explains governance: each of five units elects a Central Committee man, and they make the laws.How they allowed preachers but no collections, and no preachers came. All sleep. Tom wakes and finds a girl nursing a baby while cooking on an iron stove. He goes with her men to find work at Mr. Thomas’ who informs them the Farmers’ Association (Bank of the West) has switched the wage from thirty cents to twenty-five (they also sent the men who burned the camp; and they’re going to the dance on Saturday). “A red is any son-of-a-bitch that wants thirty cents an hour when we’re paying twenty-five.”Ruthie and Winfield discover the toilets, then show them to Ma who is embarrassed to find out she’s using the men’s and that the Ladies Committee is due. Mr. Rawley visits and has coffee. Pa, John and Al go to look for work. Rosasharn learns how to shower. Ma: “Why, I feel like people again.” Mrs. Shandry complains to Rosasharn about hug-dancin’ on Sat’dy night and that Rawley’s the devil, which he says he isn’t. The Ladies Committee arrives and show Ma the Sanitary Unit.

They tell Mrs. Joyce to stop stealing toilet paper; to take money and feed her daughters cheese.

Ruthie and Winfield play with Amy, but Ruthie is ostracized.

The men don’t find work; John’s not looking well.

Ma drives Mrs. Shandry away; while Shandry howls, the manager notes she’s not well. Ma tells John to get Pa to buy good stuff for dinner.

  • Discuss the camp, central community, communism/socialism
  • Is Steinbeck promoting socialism/communism?
  • Pg. 393: Watchmen says you’ll have to find out why there aren’t more places like the camp for yourself. Foreshadowing?
  • Pg. 402: Explains how banks and farmer’s associations run things.
  • Pg. 403: Conspiracy to keep wages low.
  • Pg. 406: workers don’t even know what communism is.
    • Why does Steinbeck have them not know? (makes the desire for socialism look natural)
  • Pg. 409: children afraid of toilets
  • Pg. 426: toughness of the people
  • Pg. 432: effects of receiving charity; still true today?
  • Pg. 442: for reasons we don’t know, Pa blames himself for Noah’s leaving


Migrant entertainment.Stories (the Indian, naked as the sun; an’ bang! an’ you spoiled sumpin better’n you). Movies. Getting drunk. Preachers. Harmonicas and guitars and fiddles. Texas boy and Cherokee girl dancing.

  • Different forms of entertainment and ways to occupy time.


Grapes of Wrath

Quiz on chapters 19-21:

  1. Who sacrifices himself for Tom?


  1. What family member abandons the Joads?


  1. When they leave the Hooverville, where are the Joad’s headed?

(south or government camp or Weedpatch)

  1. Who wants to go to the Santa Cruz Valley and come back for the family once he makes money?


  1. Who leaves to get drunk but is brought back by Tom?

(Uncle John)


California goes from Mexicans to American landgrabbers to businessmen. With Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and Filipino slaves the farmers grow fewer and richer. Many have never seen the farms they own. The owners hate Okies; so do the workers. Life in Hoovervilles. “Pray God some day a kid can eat. And the association of owners knew that some day the praying would stop.”

  • Pg. 316: What is menat by “owners followed Rome”?
  • Pg. 319: Food thrown away rather than given away. Why?

How do we fix this problem?

  • Discuss “Hoovervilles”
  • Pg. 325: Does history have to repeat itself?


Granma’s corpse is left with the county in San Bernardino. They camp in a Hooverville across a bridge, where a Floyd Knowles explains the labor gimmicks, the handbills, the blacklist. Casy to Tom: “Almighty God never raised no wages.” Casy thinks of leaving, but Tom tells him to stay. Connie tells Rosasharn he’d been better of driving tractor back home. Ma cooks a stew with fifteen hungry kids looking on; she learns about the camp at Weedpatch and the Sat’dy night dance. Al helps Floyd with the valves. A woman scolds Ma for sharing the stew with her kids. Floyd thinks there’s work in Santa Clara Valley. Contractor says they need workers in Tulare County; the deputy with him says they’re gonna clean out the camp. Floyd slugs the deputy when he tries to arrest him, runs away; the deputy shoots a woman’s knuckles off; Tom kicks the deputy unconscious as Floyd runs for the willows. Casy tells Tom to hide.Casy takes the blame and rides off with the deputies. Rosasharn says Connie’s gone away. Casy’s noble act makes Uncle John get drunk.

The family decides to leave before the camp gets burned.

Tom goes looking for Uncle John and brings him back after knocking him out.

Their truck is stopped by armed men who tell them to go to Tulare; Tom pulls off till they’re gone (they burn the camp) and he heads south on 99.

  • Pg. 341: Casey giving up on God.
  • Pg. 343: What causes Tom to think something’s going on?
    • (people are quiet; normally even good people will gossip)
  • Pg. 351: the sharing of the stew demonstrates the Joads’ generosity
  • Pg. 356: Al talks of leaving; how long can the family stick together?
  • Pg. 359: “talkin’ red” (will be more of this to come)
  • Pg. 363: Why would Casey sacrifice himself? (earlier conversation with Tom)
  • Pg. 366: Discuss attitudes about women and complainers
  • Pg. 372: Connie leaves
  • Pg. 374: Not unusual for people to leave their family under these conditions
  • Pg. 383: Has a different time come yet?


“And money that might have gone for wages went for gas, for guns, for agents and spies, for blacklists, for drilling. On the highways the people moved like ants and searched for work, for food. And the anger began to ferment.”

  • Pg. 386: What is the “ache of ownership”
    • How do the men who don’t own the land think they actually do? (credit, jobs)
  • Pg. 387: How do owners manage to pay such low wages?
    • (supply and demand)
  • Pg. 388: Based on Steinbeck’s novel structure, what might we see happen to the Joads in the immediate upcoming chapters?


Grapes of Wrath


“In the daylight they scuttled like bugs to the westward; and as the dark caught them, they clustered like bugs near to shelter and to water.” The structure and function of the moving campsite society.

  • Picture of insects crawling across the land.
  • Why do the families group together?

(safety in numbers; misery loves company)

  • Page 265: What is Steinbeck’s message when the families make their own rules?

(people left alone will normally do what is right)

Do you agree?


They drive through the rest of New Mexico and Arizona (driving all night) and arrive at the Colorado River by dawn. At Needles the men take off their clothes and bathe in the river, joined by a father and son who’re going back to the panhandle. He tells how the land is already owned and not worked, how sheriffs push you around, and people call you Okie. How a newspaperman with a million acres is afraid of dying. In the shade Noah tells Tom he’s going downriver to stay. A Jehovite wants to hold a meeting in Granma’s tent, to see her on her way to Jesus, but Ma says no. A sheriff tells Ma he’ll run them out if they’re there tomorrow; she runs him off with an iron pan. Wilson announces they’re not going on (Sairy’s deathly ill). Around four the Joads start. The Needles gas station attendant tells them he wouldn’t have the nerve to cross desert in their Jalopy, then tells his helper: “Them goddamn Okies got no sense and no feeling. They ain’t human.” Around midnight, near Daggett, is the agricultural inspection. Ma say’s Granma’s real sick so they are allowed to push on. They hit Mojave at dawn. They go through Tehachapi Pass and see the valley. Pa: “I never knowed there was anything like her.” Ma: “Thank God! The fambly’s here.” She tells them Granma died before the inspection stop. They drive on down into the valley.

  • Page 313: Tom talks about what Granpa and Granma would have seen if they got to the valley and the only ones who really see it are Ruthie and Winfield.

What does he mean?

  • Page 314: Tom laughs: Hope. It’s amazing how strong hope can be.


Grapes of Wrath: chapters 14-16

Ch. 14

  • “The Western States, nervous as horses before a thunderstorm.”
  • … If from “I have a little food” plus “I have none” the sum is “We have a little food”, the thing is on its way, the movement has direction. …
  • “This is the thing to bomb.”
  • Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results, not causes.
  • Chapter discusses reasons for revolution
  • America and Soviet Union
  • Could revolution happen in America again?

Ch. 15

  • The truck stop hamburger stand.
  • Fat man and his wife on the way to Beverly-Wilshire Hotel and the Pacific Ocean stop by (“shitheels”).
  • Then two truckers.
  • Family gets a 15-cent loaf of bread for 10 cents and nickel-a-piece candy two-for-a-penny.
  • The truckers leave two half dollars for two ten-cents cups of Java.
  • Mae: “Truck drivers … an’ after them shitheels.”
  • Page 211: disdain of business, not a flattering description

Is it true? Does it have to be the case for all businesses?

  • Page 214: opinion of money. Can’t usually see it work.
  • Sympathetic diner has his slots rigged
  • Why did truckers leave such a large tip?

Ch. 16

  • Across the panhandle, stop overnight west of Amarillo, and into New Mexico.
  • Rosasharn says she and Connie plan to live in town. He’ll learn radio.
  • Burned out con-rod bearing.
  • Tom suggests he and Casy stay behind.
  • Ma grabs a jack handle to fight Pa with: “I ain’t a-gonna go.”
  • The truck goes on to find a campsite.
  • Tom works on the car, cuts his hand, covers it with piss-mud.
  • Casy philosophizes about mass movement.
  • Al arrives and says Granma’s gone nuts.
  • Back in Santa Rosa a one-eyed junkyard man who hates his boss helps Al and Tom get the part they need.
  • They return to Casy and fix the Dodge with a flashlight from the man.
  • The campsite owner won’t let them stay.
  • A ragged man who’s been to California and is going home to starve tells them all about labor contractors and about how his wife and two kids died out there.
  • As Tom, Casy and Uncle John go back to the Dodge Tom throws a clod that busts the proprietor’s kerosene lamp.
  • Page 222: Al steals a fence rail. Why does Steinbeck have him steal it instead of finding it? (frustration and need of trip; good people forced to steal)
  • Page 223: Rose is paranoid about baby
  • Page 224: Rose speaks of the American Dream
  • Page 225: What is Ma’s final analysis of Rose and Connie’s Dream (it’s just a dream) Why does she think it is just a dream?

Would it be possible for Connie and Rose to make this come true?

What are the barriers to making one’s dreams come true?

  • Page 236: Tom talks about “one foot at a time”. What does he mean? Do most people go through life that way? Why?
  • Pages 244-246: Tom talks to the man at the junkyard. Another example of Tom’s blunt honesty (truck driver, gas station attendant, junkyard man) Does this type of honesty encourage or discourage people? (pg. 247) Should we be that brutally honest all the time? What does Tom’s message seem to be? (stop whining and do something about it)

Do you think Tom’s time in prison had something to do with that?

  • Page 248: Again, Tom being brutally honest. This time with Al. Tells Al not to be defensive all the time.
  • Page 259: Is this the truth about California?
  • Page 263: “bolshevisky” what does this mean?

Read chapters 17-18


The Grapes of Wrath

Chapters 11-13

  • Quiz over chapters 11-13
  1. Who is the first “family member” to die on the trip?
  1. Which family member dies of a stroke?
  1. What is Rose of Sharon constantly worrying about?
  1. What is the name of the family the Joads decide to travel with?
  1. Steinbeck says the people who have lost everything move from “I” to _________.

Ch. 11

  • When a horse quits work there’s life yet; when a tractor’s turned off its cold dead.
  • Cats go wild, and bats and weeds take over deserted farmland.
  • Horse vs. tractor = life vs. death
  • The farm is no longer a living place, it is just a machine now.
  • Page 159: end of the former life.

Ch. 12

  • “Highway 66 is the main migrant road.
  • 66—the long concrete path across the country, waving gently up and down on the map, from the Mississippi to Bakersfield
  • —over the red lands and the gray lands, twisting up into the mountains, crossing the Divide and down into the bright and terrible desert, and across the desert to the mountains again, and into the rich California valleys.”
  • Highway 66 is now called what? Route 66
  • What does it represent here?
  • Hope, rebirth, path to paradise
  • What does it represent now?
  • Fun, adventure, nostalgia
  • Why the difference?
  • Prosperity, progress, and technology make the once necessary entertaining.

Ch. 13

  • Al drives to the highway at Sallislaw and heads west.
  • Ma thinks there may be mountains before California, but “Up ahead they’s a thousan’ lives we might live, but when it comes, it’ll on’y be one.”
  • Near Paden a gas station man is surly till he learns they’ll pay, asks “What’s the country coming to?”, and Tom tells him “you don’t want to know.”
  • They all drink water. The dog gets run over.
  • Granma naps in the restroom.
  • Tom drives through Oklahoma City.
  • Ma worries about his crossing the state line on parole.
  • At Bethany they camp near the Wilsons’ touring car.
  • Granpa has a stroke and dies with Casy saying the Lords Prayer and Granma shouting. He’s buried in the Wilsons’ quilt with Psalms 32:1 written out.
  • They hear of the Wilsons’ hard times.
  • Tom suggests they share the ride with the Wilsons.
  • Ma: “Each’ll help each, an’ we’ll all git to California.”
  • Page 173: Has America stopped moving? (westward expansion)
  • Why do people move?
  • Gas station attendant complains but has no answers and doesn’t really want to hear any.
  • Page 174: Large corporations kill smaller businesses
  • Trip not going well for Joads
  • Forgot water
  • Granpa dies (page 199) Tom says he was tied to the land
  • Page 189: family council changes with the death of Grampa
  • Page 194: looking for paper; what could they have used if it had been brought?

(stationary box)

  • Read chapters 14-16.


Grapes of Wrath

Quiz on chapters 8-10:

  1. Who is asked to go with the Joads but stays behind? (Muley Graves)
  2. Who wants to stay but is taken anyway? (Granpa)
  3. What is Tom’s answer when Muley asks him if he’s going to cross the state line and break parole? (he doesn’t answer)
  4. What personal item does Ma burn? (stationary box)
  5. Do the Joads take Jim Casey with them? (yes)
  • Do “Fishbowl” Discussions

Ch. 8

  • Tom and Casy head for Uncle John’s place.
  • John’s wife died of “appendick.”
  • Tom’s joke about Elsie Graves teasing Willy pleases Casy.
  • They sneak up on Pa who’s fixing a Hudson Sedan converted to a truck.
  • They surprise Ma cooking breakfast; “Come right in mister”; her fork clatters to the floor.
  • Grampa and Granma sleep in the barn (easier night trips). Grampa can’t button his fly. Granma repeats “Pu-raise Gawd for vittory.”
  • How Pa botched Noah’s delivery.
  • The preacher says a grace (“mankin’ was holy when it was one thing”).
  • Rosasharn’s got married and pregnant.
  • Al’s out a-billygoatin’.

Page 100: Mother as the strong center of the family (citadel)

Common theme in American literature

Page 101: Why does Tom bite his lip?

Why does Ma back away?

Page 104: Mother has become somewhat bitter.

Speaks of 10,000 member strong army of run off tenants.

Would it be possible? Is this what the framers had in mind?

Ch. 9

  • Disposing of everything. Sell it. Pack it, leave it or burn it.

Pg. 117: why are men ruthless about the past, but women not?

Women understand that eventually people want to remember the past.

Pg,.118: “buying a plow to plow your own children under”

Karma? Since they are cheating them, they are cheating their own children.

It will come back to them in the future.

Pg. 120: Pilgrim’s Progress

Ch. 10

  • Al takes a truck of junk to Sallisaw.
  • Ma worries about California being too good. Tom tells her to “jus’ take ever’ day.”
  • The preacher asks to go along.
  • The truck returns. Uncle John’s appetites now restrained.
  • The truck is Al’s responsibility.
  • They got eighteen dollars for every moveable thing on the farm.
  • At the conference Pa says they have a hundred fifty-four.
  • Al assesses the truck.
  • Pa figgers close and asks Ma if they can take the preacher. “It ain’t kin we? It’s will we?”
  • Two pigs are slaughtered and they decide to go next morning.
  • Ma burns her stationery box.
  • Muley drops by but won’t go. Grampa won’t either, but they use Ma’s soothin’ sirup.
  • They leave Muley two dogs and the chickens.
  • Ma wants to look back but can’t.

Pgs. 122-123: Ma believes California might not be so great. “Too good to be

true.” Could this be foreshadowing?

Pg. 137: Concept of family hierarchy. Still present in today’s society?

Pgs. 139-140: Ma chides Pa for even considering not taking Casey with them.

Mother as moral center. Helping fellow man.

Pg. 148: Why does Ma burn the stationary box?

Pg. 154: Why doesn’t Tom answer Muley’s question about breaking parole?

Pg. 156: What does Ma looking back allude to? Lot’s wife.

Read chapters 11-13


Grapes of Wrath

Review Reading Logs for chapters 5-7

Ch. 5

  • How the bank agents tell the tenants to leave the land.
  • How the tractors rape the land.
  • How the tractor driver knocks the tenant farmer’s house off its foundation.
  • “Caught in something larger than themselves”

Do we have control over everything in our lives?

Do we feel that we have to do things we don’t want to, but benefit from?

Analogy of bank as monster

Why are there no names or quotation marks when the owners talk to the tenants?

Detached, impersonal, could be anyone

Why do you think the owners tell the tenants to go to California?

Why are there names and quotation marks when the tractor driver talks to tenants?

The driver was one of them – is he a traitor now?

It speaks of men not having connection to the bread – do we?

Why are we sentimental about family farms?

Do we feel the same about other industries?

Why is it so hard to find the right person to blame for the loss of the farm?

John Cougar Mellencamp: “Rain on the Scarecrow”

Steve Earle: “The Rain Came Down”

Discuss elements of the novel present in each song.

Ch. 6

  • The gate is unhung (set to keep in pigs like the one that got away and ate the

Jacobs’ baby).

  • Tom notices that nothing’s stolen the way it was when Albert Rance took his

family to Oklahoma City for Christmas; so everyone must be gone.

  • The turtle continues southwest. Muley tells Tom his family is at Uncle John’s.
  • Tom explains the murder of Herb Turnbull.
  • They cook Muley’s rabbits on an open fire. Tom says prison makes no sense. Casy gets the sperit: he’s gonna hit the road.
  • Muley shows them how to hide from deputy Willy Feeley. They sleep in the open.

Sharing the rabbits: what does Muley have a hold of that is bigger than him?

Community, kindness to fellow man

Muley’s speech about what the owners took.

They took more than just land and homes. They took memories.

People are connected to the land – they are the land

Ch. 7

  • All about used car lots: “Goin’ to California? Here’s jus’ what you need.
  • Looks shot, but they’s thousan’s of miles in her.”



Grapes of Wrath

Students do Discussion Panels on chapters 1-4 using Reading Logs

Chapters 1-4:

  1. Description of the dust bowl. “The men were silent and they did not move often. And the women came out of the houses to stand beside their men – to feel whether this time the men would break.”
  • Difference in families’ reliance on men versus independence of women today
  • American resilience (“Of Plymouth Plantation; Bradford)
  1. Tom Joad gets a lift at a truck stop and tells the driver he’s paroled from prison in McAlester (for murder) and he’s headed home. “But sometimes a guy’ll be a good guy even if some rich bastard makes him carry a [No Riders] sticker.”
    • Disdain for the perceived wealthy.
    • Is this an American ideal?
  1. Turtle’s endless struggle to go southwest. Up on the highway, missed by a car, hit by a truck. His struggle plants an oat head he picked up earlier.
    • The journey is commonplace in American literature.
    • As we travel from one place to another, we pick up things and leave other things behind, whether the journey is external or internal.
    • The journey is foreshadowing for the Joad family.
  1. Tom picks up the turtle. He spots Jim Casy sitting by a tree singing, “Yes, sir, that’s my Savior”. Jim condemns himself for laying with girls he’d earlier filled with the Holy Spirit (“the sperit ain’t in me no more’). The turtle keeps trying to escape Tom’s jacket. Casy explains his beliefs. Tom tells Jim, “Pa always said you had too long a pecker for a preacher”.
    • Little or no respect for religion
    • Traditional in America?

Tom talks about how you can get comfortable with jail.

  • For many in jail, life is better than outside – should this be the case?

(American ideal?)

They talk of how Uncle John tried to eat a whole shot.

  • Humor used to make the story more real.
  • Everyone has a funny story about a relative.

At the Joad place: “They nobody there”.

Begin reading chapters 5-7 in class.

10/27/2014: Poetry Test

10/24:2014:  Test Review 


American Poetry

Sandburg, Moore


American Poetry

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Common Core Focus: • Stream of Consciousness

• Summarize Stanzas

Objective: Understand how Stream of Consciousness affects tone and theme


  • Students look up and record definitions for ether, insidious, presume, malinger, deferential, meticulous, obtuse
  • Review T.S. Eliot Biography (p968)
  • Review Text Analysis:Stream of Consciousness & Reading Strategy:Summarizing Stanzas (p969)
  • Read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ” (p970-973)
    • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 974 aloud. Assessment
  • Students complete Stream of Consciousness (193) and Summarize Stanzas (195) worksheets
  • Remediation: Students complete Question Support (197) worksheet.
  • Enrichment: Use Ideas for Extension (188-189)


American Poetry

Imagism: Pound, Williams

Modern: cummings, Moore


American Poetry


Common Core Focus: • Frost’s Style

• Recognize Ambiguity

RL 1; RL 4; RL 6

Objective: Understand Ambiguity in Poetry


  • Students look up and record definitions for ambiguous, luminary, rueful, ether, degenerate
  • Review Robert Frost Biography (p936)
  • Review Text Analysis: Frost’s Style and Reading Skill: Recognize Ambiguity (p937)
  • Read “Acquainted with the Night” (p938)
    • Discuss Theme questions at bottom of page
  • Read “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (p941)
    • Answer Text Analysis questions (p941) aloud Assessment
  • Read “Out, Out – ” (p941)
    • Answer Comprehension questions 1, 2 on page 942 aloud. Assessment
  • Students complete Text Analysis Questions 3-5 on page 942.


American Poetry


Common Core Focus: • Narrative Poetry

• Author’s Attitude

Objective: Understand how an author’s attitude impacts narrative poetry


  • Students look up and record definitions for assail, albeit, repose, degenerate
  • Review Edward Arlington Robinson and Edgar Lee Masters Biographies (p920)
  • Review Text Analysis: Characterization in Narrative Poetry and Reading Skill: Analyze Speaker’s Attitude (p921)
  • Read “Richard Cory” (p922)
    • Play Simon & Garfunkel “Richard Cory”
    • Have students record differences/embellishments to poem in song
  • Read “Miniver Cheevy” (p924-925)
    • Answer Text Analysis questions (p925) aloud Assessment
  • Read “Lucinda Matlock” (p926)
    • Answer Comprehension questions 1, 2 on page 927 aloud.
  • Students complete Text Analysis: Characterization in Narrative Poetry (105) and Reading Strategy: Analyze Speaker’s Attitude (107) worksheets
  • Remediation: Students complete Question Support (109) worksheet.
  • Enrichment: Use Ideas for Extension (102-103)


American Poetry

Emily Dickinson

Common Core Focus:   • Author’s Style

RL1; RL2; RL4; RL 5; RL 9; L5; L5a

Objective: Recognize an author’s style


  • Students look up and record definitions for civility, gossamer, cornice, demur, interpose
  • Review Emily Dickinson Biography (p546)
  • Review Text Analysis: Author’s Style (p547)
  • Read “Because I could not stop for Death” (p548) and “Success is counted Sweetest (p550)
    • Answer Text Analysis questions on page 550 aloud
  • Read “Much Madness is divinest Sense” and My life closed twice before its close” (p551) and “The Soul selects her own Society” (p552)
    • Answer Text Analysis questions on page 552 aloud
  • Read “I heard a Fly buzz when I died-” (p553) and “My Life had stood a Loaded Gun” (p554)
    • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 556 Assessment


American Poetry

Walt Whitman

Common Core Focus:   •   Free Verse  

•   Analyze Tone

Objective: Analyze an author’s tone


  • Students look up and record definitions for sufficed; remembrance; hieroglyphic; transpire; yawp; scud; effuse; eddies; bequeath; promontory; ductile; gossamer; parley; expostulation
  • Review Walt Whitman Biography (p530)
  • Review Text Analysis: Free Verse and Reading Strategy: Analyze Tone (p531)
  • Read “I Hear America Singing” (p532)
    • Answer Text Analysis questions on page 532 aloud
  • Read “Song of Myself” (p534-537)
    • Answer Text Analysis questions on page 537 aloud
  • Read “A Noiseless Patient Spider” and “Beat! Beat! Drums!” on pages 538-539
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 541 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis Questions 5, 6 on page 541


American Poetry

Fireside Poets: Longfellow

Common Core Focus: • Stanza and Rhyme Scheme

• Reading Traditional Poetry

RL4; RL5

Objective: Understand Stanza and Rhyme Scheme


  • Students look up and record definitions for psalm, stout, bivouac, curlew, efface, hostler
  • Review Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Biography (p342)
  • Review Text Analysis: Stanza and Rhyme Scheme and Reading Strategy: Reading Traditional Poetry (p343)
  • Read “A Psalm of Life” (ps344-345)
  • Read “The Tide Rises; The Tide Falls” (p346)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 347 aloud. Assessment
  • Students complete Text Analysis 5, 6, 7 on page 347

American Poetry

Common Core Focus:  • Figurative Language

  •     Clarify Meaning in Older Poetry

Objective: Understand Figurative Language


  • Students look up and record definitions for affection, conscience, judgment, manifold, ordinance, recompense, persevere
  • Review Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor Biographies (p114)
  • Review Text Analysis: Figurative Language and Reading Strategy: Clarify Meaning in Older Poetry (p115)
  • Read “To My Dear and Loving Husband” (p116)
  • Read “Huswifery” (p120)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1, 2 on page 121 aloud. Assessment
  • Students complete Text Analysis Questions 4-8 on page 121 Assessment
  • Remediation: Students complete Question Support (165) worksheet.
  • Enrichment: Use Ideas for Extension (158-159)

10/10/2014: AILD Test

10/08 – 09/

As I Lay Dying” Post-Reading Essay (Due Friday, 10/10 (50% of Test Grade)

In William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (1950), he outlines the goals American writers should strive for and the things they should concentrate on. Now that you have read a Faulkner novel; it’s time to decide if he held himself to his own standards. Is “As I Lay Dying” a novel of “love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice”? Does Faulkner “help man endure by lifting his heart”? Can “AILD” be “one of the props, the pillars to help him (mankind) endure and prevail”?

Answer these questions in an thorough critical essay. Be sure to use examples and page numbers to provide support for your claims. It should take you at least two pages to do this well.


As I Lay Dying (Day 8)

  • Review Previous Day’s Questions
  • Learning Objectives

  • Guiding Questions
  • How is the river crossing significant to each of the characters involved?
    • How does the description of the river and the crossing relate to the method of narration?
  • Define Symbolism
  • Hand out questions
  • Divide students into four groups and assign questions
  • Groups report back to entire class
  • After, students do vocabulary individually


As I Lay Dying (Days 6cc)

Common Core Focus: RL3; RL5

Learning Objectives

After completing the activity in this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand and explore the use of multiple voices in narration
  • Describe in detail Addie Bundren’s character both from her own as well as other characters’ perspectives
  • Examine the Bundren family through the subjective evidence provided by multiple characters

Guiding Questions

  • How does Faulkner’s form for the novel—a series of competing voices and perspectives presented as a multiple-voice narrative—work for or against the novel’s title?
  • What impact does the sudden voice of a silenced (and dead) character have on the narrative? How does Addie’s voice change the reader’s perception of the Bundren family?


Panel Discussions focus on following topics/questions:

  • Before specifically discussing Addie’s chapter, have students consider:
  • Who is Addie Bundren to each of the characters who speak of her?
  • What are the relationships like between Addie and her children? Addie and her husband?
  • Read aloud the 10th Darl section, which contains a revealing passage:

It [the New Hope sign] wheels up like a motionless hand lifted above the profound desolation of the ocean; beyond it the red road lies like a spoke of which Addie Bundren is the rim. It wheels past, empty, unscarred, the white signboard turns away its fading and tranquil assertion. (p. 108, Vintage edition, 1990)

  • Have students discuss this image—the road “like a spoke of which Addie Bundren is the rim”—in depth.
  • Draw the shape of a wheel on the blackboard, labeling the rim as Addie.
    • Ask students to consider how this reflects the structure of the story. Students might discuss:
  • The symbol of the wheel—how can this be interpreted in relation to family? To narrative form? If Addie is the rim, what or who might the spokes represent?
  • Why is the “New Hope” sign a “fading and tranquil assertion”? Is there a role for “new hope” in this novel? [Students will return to this question in Lesson 5: Concluding the Novel.]

Addie’s voice comes to the reader only after her rotting body was pulled from its “baptism” in the river after the disastrous crossing. Questions that might be valuable in discussing her chapter:

  • Where is her voice coming from, since she is at this point quite dead?
  • What is the placement in the novel of Addie’s chapter, and what is the significance of that placement? Consider who frames Addie’s chapter: Cora before and Whitfield after.
  • How do our impressions of Addie change once we encounter her voice?
  • How does Addie’s perspective cloud or illuminate the themes and issues that we have encountered so far through the other characters’ perspective?
  • What do we learn about her role in the family, and how does that compare to how her children and husband view her? She comes across as bitter, but are the motives of her family any more pure?

Addie displays bitterness about the very fact of existence and a preoccupation about death: “I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time.”

  • She expresses distaste for her students and difficulty relating to her children.
  • She implies that she married Anse for his property and that “living is terrible” after she has Cash, who “violated” her aloneness.
  • Darl’s birth makes her want to kill Anse; she refers to him as “dead,” though he doesn’t know it.
  • She is skeptical about love, which she refers to as a “word . . . like all the others: just a shape to fill a lack.”
  • In fact, she questions the authority of language and the possibility for meaning: “That was when I learned that words are no good; that words don’t ever fit even what they are trying to say at.”

Further questions to consider:

  • What might be the reasons that Faulkner reveals Addie’s interior life only once?
  • Do the characters’ assessments of Addie match with the portrait she paints of herself? Students can refer to their charts (started in Lesson 2) in order to detail Addie’s relationships with her family and community.
  • Why does Addie express uncertainty for meaning in language? How might that theme relate to the presence of her own voice in the narrative? What of the voice of the author?


As I Lay Dying (Days 4-5cc)

Common Core Focus: RL3; RL5


  • Explore the use of symbolism in relation to narrative voice
  • Understand and explore the use of multiple voices in narration

Guiding Questions

  • How is the river crossing significant to each of the characters involved?

  • How does the description of the river and the crossing relate to the method of narration?


Panel Discussions focus on following topics/questions:

  • How is the river crossing significant to each of the characters involved?”
  • Discuss the symbol of the river at this point in the narrative.
  • How does the description of the river and the river crossing relate to the method of narration?
    • In other words, how might students read this scene as a metaphor for the difficulty in telling a story (or, more precisely, how Faulkner is trying to tell a story)?
    • What does the image of the river say about the emotions of the scene?
  • Compare the four different perspectives prominent in the description of the crossing: Darl, Tull, Vardaman, and Cash.
    • How does each of these four narrators describe the river?
    • What is the relationship between the way they see the world, the images they attach themselves to, and the way they describe the river crossing?
      • Students might consider especially Vardaman’s stream-of-consciousness style, where the reader sees the toss and tumble of his thoughts as reflective of the turmoil of the flooded river.
      • Cash, in his brief section that might be considered the conclusion of the river crossing, measures the attempt according to his carpenter precision: “It wasn’t on balance.”
  • Throughout As I Lay Dying, characters rely on or refer to various objects or images.
    • As students continue to fill out the PDF chart from Lesson 2, they should list important images associated with each character, from Jewel’s horse, to Vardaman’s statement “My mother is a fish,” from Cash’s tools to Dewey Dell’s abortion money and Anse’s teeth.
    • What do these objects reveal about the character? What do they reveal about the characters’ grieving process?
  • What is the role of the Tulls, who provide the reader with a “non-Bundren” perspective?
    • Why include non-Bundren voices?


Students should continue to enter any new characters’ names, providing details about their voices, preferably providing insights beyond what is available in the character list at William Faulkner on the Web. Students should explore particulars of the characters’ voices that reveal (intentionally, or not) aspects of not only their own character but also that of their family and now dead mother. This segment of the activity should continue throughout the duration of the novel, perhaps supplemented with journal responses, in order to enhance classroom discussion and prepare students for exams or papers. Journal entries can include, among many other possibilities, detailed examinations of characters, explorations of symbols, or a discussion of different reasons for going to Jefferson. The chart is useful only as a beginning point for students to map the novel’s progression—journals and brief essays are highly encouraged to garner more critical engagement with the text.

09/29 – 30/2014

As I Lay Dying (Day 5)

  • Review Previous Day’s Questions
  • Learning Objectives

  • Explore the use of symbolism in relation to narrative voice
  • Understand and explore the use of multiple voices in narration
  • Guiding Questions
  • How is the river crossing significant to each of the characters involved?
    • How does the description of the river and the crossing relate to the method of narration?
  • Define Symbolism
  • Discuss Direct and Indirect Characterization
  • Hand out “The Many Voices of As I Lay Dying” worksheet (due at end of novel)

Read aloud through page 74(end of Tull).

Assign questions and vocabulary: (see attached)

09/26 – 29/2014

As I Lay Dying (Days 4-5cc)

Common Core Focus: RL3; RL5


  • Explore the use of symbolism in relation to narrative voice
  • Understand and explore the use of multiple voices in narration

Guiding Questions

  • How is the river crossing significant to each of the characters involved?

  • How does the description of the river and the crossing relate to the method of narration?


Panel Discussions focus on following topics/questions:

  • How is the river crossing significant to each of the characters involved?”
  • Discuss the symbol of the river at this point in the narrative.
  • How does the description of the river and the river crossing relate to the method of narration?
    • In other words, how might students read this scene as a metaphor for the difficulty in telling a story (or, more precisely, how Faulkner is trying to tell a story)?
    • What does the image of the river say about the emotions of the scene?
  • Compare the four different perspectives prominent in the description of the crossing: Darl, Tull, Vardaman, and Cash.
    • How does each of these four narrators describe the river?
    • What is the relationship between the way they see the world, the images they attach themselves to, and the way they describe the river crossing?
      • Students might consider especially Vardaman’s stream-of-consciousness style, where the reader sees the toss and tumble of his thoughts as reflective of the turmoil of the flooded river.
      • Cash, in his brief section that might be considered the conclusion of the river crossing, measures the attempt according to his carpenter precision: “It wasn’t on balance.”
  • Throughout As I Lay Dying, characters rely on or refer to various objects or images.
    • As students continue to fill out the PDF chart from Lesson 2, they should list important images associated with each character, from Jewel’s horse, to Vardaman’s statement “My mother is a fish,” from Cash’s tools to Dewey Dell’s abortion money and Anse’s teeth.
    • What do these objects reveal about the character? What do they reveal about the characters’ grieving process?
  • What is the role of the Tulls, who provide the reader with a “non-Bundren” perspective?
    • Why include non-Bundren voices?

Name____________________________________ Date_______________ Class______

As I Lay Dying Chapter Questions

Answer the following questions in complete sentence form on a separate sheet of paper.

Tull (Pg 29)

1. What phrase does Anse repeat in this (and subsequent) passage? Why is it an example of irony?

2. How does Tull feel about helping Anse?

Anse (Pg 35)


1. hale

2. victuals

1. How does Anse’s monologue about the road express his basic personality?

2. What phrase or idea is repeated throughout this passage that shows Anse’s primary source of frustration?

3. Anse ends the chapter by saying, “But I just can’t seem to get no heart into it.” How is this a summary of Anse’s life?

Darl (Pg 39)

1. What image does Darl notice that evokes the Fates?

2. Earlier, Dewey Dell ‘s sexual encounter with Lafe was presented with imagery of fate and death. How does that continue in this chapter?

Peabody (Pg 41)

1. How is Peabody’s reaction to Anse similar to Tull’s reaction?

2. According to Peabody, whom does death affect the most?

3. What image foreshadows the fact that Addie’s death will happen very soon?

4. How is alliteration used in the last paragraph of the passage to express the emotional effect of the sound of Cash’s saw?c


As I Lay Dying (Day 2 cc)


  • Understand and explore the use of multiple voices in narration
  • Examine the Bundren family through the subjective evidence provided by a multiplicity of charactersGuiding Questions:

•    What does a character’s voice reveal about themselves?

•     What are the strengths and weaknesses of learning about something or someone through perspectives?


  • Whole Class Discussion:
    • What is narrative voice?
      • Narrative voice is the term used to describe how the narrator tells a story. It is the voice, sometimes of a character in the story, sometimes an unseen voice, that provides background information, insight, or describes the actions of a scene.
    • Ask students to brainstorm what ‘voice’ might mean in terms of a novel—what sorts of things would a person’s voice reveal?
    • Handout The Many Voices of As I Lay Dying worksheet.
      • To be turned in at end of novel.
  • Give out AILD reading schedule

Read 1st 25 pages of “As I Lay Dying” by Thursday

09/23 – 24/2014

As I Lay Dying (Day 1cc)

Common Core Focus: RL3; RL5

Objective: Determine the effect setting has on an author’s work

Determine the effect multiple narrators has on a work


  • Students discuss what it means to be a “southerner”?
    • Where is the south?
    • Is being southern a state of mind or is it a location?
  • Discuss the prolific use of The South as a literary setting.
    • What makes The South a good place to set a narrative?


Students spend two days in computer lab researching information on the American South.

Students compose a two-page paper answering the question, “What It Means To Be A Southerner”.

MLA Documentation Rules

12pt Times New Roman Font

Due at the end of class on Wednesday, September 24th

09/22/2014:  “The Great Gatsby” Test


The Great Gatsby

Choose one of the following topics and write a five-paragraph essay fully addressing the topic. Due at end of class.

1. Women in the novel. Has Fitzgerald been fair in his development of female characters?

Review actions, speeches and remarks made about them (use page numbers for your examples). Should the novel have featured at least one ‘sympathetic heroine’, or is there at least one who is?

2. Evaluate the structure of the novel. Could there have been more elaborate development

of some of the characters? Is Nick a reasonable narrator? What contrast is there to provide sharp focus on the more important elements of plot, setting and character? Use page numbers for your examples.

3. Expressionism in the novel. How are colors, names, and other symbolic ideas

presented? Do they wear thin or are they successful? Choose at least three items to write about, using page numbers for your examples.

Review for Test


The Great Gatsby – chs. 8-9

Chapter Eight

That night, Nick finds himself unable to sleep, since the terrible events of the day have greatly unsettled him. Wracked by anxiety, he hurries to Gatsby’s mansion shortly before dawn. He advises Gatsby to leave Long Island until the scandal of Myrtle’s death has quieted down. Gatsby refuses, as he cannot bring himself to leave Daisy: he tells Nick that he spent the entire night in front of the Buchanans’ mansion, just to ensure that Daisy was safe. He tells Nick that Tom did not try to harm her, and that Daisy did not come out to meet him, though he was standing on her lawn in full moonlight.

Gatsby, in his misery, tells Nick the story of his first meeting with Daisy. He does so even though it patently gives the lie to his earlier account of his past. Gatsby and Daisy first met in Louisville in 1917; Gatsby was instantly smitten with her wealth, her beauty, and her youthful innocence. Realizing that Daisy would spurn him if she knew of his poverty, Gatsby determined to lie to her about his past and his circumstances. Before he left for the war, Daisy promised to wait for him; the two then slept together, as though to seal their pact. Of course, Daisy did not wait; she married Tom, who was her social equal and the choice of her parents.

Realizing that it has grown late, Nick says goodbye to Gatsby. As he is walking away, he turns back and shouts that Gatsby is “worth the whole damn bunch [of the Buchanans and their East Egg friends] put together.”

The scene shifts from West Egg to the valley of ashes, where George Wilson has sought refuge with Michaelis. It is from this latter that Nick later learns what happened in the aftermath of Myrtle’s death. George Wilson tells Michaelis that he confronted Myrtle with the evidence of her affair and told her that, though she could conceal her sin from her husband, she could not hide it from the eyes of God. As the sun rises over the valley of ashes, Wilson is suddenly transfixed by the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg; he mistakes them for the eyes of God. Wilson assumes that the driver of the fatal car was Myrtle’s lover, and decides to punish this man for his sins.

He seeks out Tom Buchanan, in the hope that Tom will know the driver’s identity. Tom tells him that Gatsby was the driver. Wilson drives to Gatsby’s mansion; there, he finds Gatsby floating in his pool, staring contemplatively at the sky. Wilson shoots Gatsby, and then turns the gun on himself.

It is Nick who finds Gatsby’s body. He reflects that Gatsby died utterly disillusioned, having lost, in rapid succession, his lover and his dreams.


Nick gives the novel’s final appraisal of Gatsby when he asserts that Gatsby is “worth the whole damn bunch of them.” Despite the ambivalence he feels toward Gatsby’s criminal past and nouveau riche affectations, Nick cannot help but admire him for his essential nobility. Though he disapproved of Gatsby “from beginning to end,” Nick is still able to recognize him as a visionary, a man capable of grand passion and great dreams. He represents an ideal that has grown exceedingly rare in the 1920s, which Nick (along with Fitzgerald) regards as an age of cynicism, decadence, and cruelty.

Nick, in his reflections on Gatsby’s life, suggests that Gatsby’s great mistake was in loving Daisy: he thus chose an inferior object upon which to focus his almost mystical capacity for dreaming. Just as the American Dream itself has degenerated into the crass pursuit of material wealth, Gatsby, too, strives only for wealth once he has fallen in love with Daisy, whose trivial, limited imagination can conceive of nothing greater. It is significant that Gatsby is not murdered for his criminal connections, but rather for his unswerving devotion to Daisy; it blinds him to all else ­ even to his own safety. As Nick writes, Gatsby thus “[pays] a high price for living too long with a single dream.”

Up to the moment of his death, Gatsby cannot accept that this dream is over: he continues to insist that Daisy may still come to him, though it is clear to everyone ­ including the reader ­ that she is bound indissolubly to Tom. Gatsby’s death thus seems almost inevitable, given that a dreamer cannot exist without his dreams; through Daisy’s betrayal, he effectively loses his reason for living.

Wilson seems to be Gatsby’s grim double in Chapter VIII, and represents the more menacing aspects of a capacity for visionary dreaming. Like Gatsby, he fundamentally alters the course of his life by attaching symbolic significance to something that is, in and of itself, meaningless; for Gatsby, it is Daisy and her green light, for Wilson, it is the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. Both men are destroyed by their love for women who love the brutal Tom Buchanan; both are consumed with longing for something greater than themselves. While Gatsby is a “successful” American dreamer (at least insofar as he has realized his dreams of wealth), Wilson exemplifies the fate of the failed dreamer, whose poverty has deprived him of even his ability to hope.

Gatsby’s death takes place on the first day of autumn, when a chill has begun to creep into the air. His decision to use his pool is in defiance of the change of seasons, and represents yet another instance of Gatsby’s unwillingness to accept the passage of time. The summer is, for him, equivalent to his reunion with Daisy; the end of the summer heralds the end of their romance

Chapter Nine

Like insects, reporters and gossipmongers swarm around Gatsby’s mansion after his death. They immediately busy themselves with spreading grotesquely exaggerated stories about his murder, his life, and his relationships. Nick tries to give Gatsby a funeral as grand as his parties, but finds that Gatsby’s enormous circle of acquaintances has suddenly evaporated. Many ­ like Tom and Daisy Buchanan ­ have simply skipped town, while others ­ including Meyer Wolfsheim and Kilpspringer ­ flatly refuse to attend the funeral.

Nick tracks down Gatsby’s father, Henry C. Gatz, a solemn old man left helpless and distraught by the death of his son. Gatz shows Nick a book in which the young Gatsby kept a self-improvement schedule; nearly every minute of his day was meticulously planned. The only other attendee at Gatsby’s funeral is Owl Eyes, the melancholy drunk who was so astonished by Gatsby’s library.

Nick meets with Jordan Baker, who recalls their conversation about how bad drivers are only dangerous when two of them meet. She tells Nick that she and he are both “bad drivers,” and are therefore a treacherous combination. When Nick ends their affair, she suddenly claims to be engaged to another man.

Months later, Nick runs into Tom Buchanan on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Tom admits that it was he who sent Wilson to Gatsby’s; he shows no remorse, however, and says that Gatsby deserved to die. Nick reflects that Tom and Daisy are capable only of cruelty and destruction; they are kept safe from the consequences of their actions by their fortress of wealth and privilege.

Nick, repulsed by the shallow and brutal East, determines to return to the Midwest. He reflects that he, the Buchanans, Gatsby, and Jordan are all Westerners who came east; perhaps they all possess some deficiency which makes them unsuitable to Eastern life. After Gatsby’s death, the East is haunted, grotesque; the Midwest, by contrast, now seems as idyllic as a scene on a Christmas card.

Staring at the moon on his last night in West Egg, Nick imagines a primeval America ­ an America made for dreamers like Gatsby. The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is like the green continent of America, beckoning its legions of dreamers. Gatsby, for all his greatness, failed to realize that the American Dream was already dead when he began to dream it: his goals, the pursuit of wealth and status, had long since become empty and meaningless. Nick muses that contemporary Americans are “boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”; any attempt to progress, to move forward, is ultimately futile.


The final line of The Great Gatsby is one of the most famous in American literature, and serves as a sort of epitaph for both Gatsby and the novel as a whole.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Here, Nick reveals Gatsby’s lifelong quest to transcend his past as ultimately futile. In comparing this backward-driving force to the current of a river, Fitzgerald presents it as both inexorable and, in some sense, naturally determined: it is the inescapable lot of humanity to move backward. Therefore, any attempt at progress is only a conceit, the result of hubris and outsize ambition.

Nick, in reflecting on America as a whole, links its fate to Gatsby’s. America, according to Fitzgerald, was founded on the ideals of progress and equality. The America envisioned by its founders was a land made for men like Gatsby: it was intended as a place where visionary dreamers could thrive. Instead, people like Tom and Daisy Buchanan have recreated the grotesqueries and excesses of the European aristocracy in the New World. Gatsby, for all his wealth and greatness, could not become a part of their world; his noble attempt to engineer his own destiny was sabotaged by their cruelty and by the stunted quality of their imaginations. Fitzgerald’s America is emphatically not a place where anything is possible: just as America has failed to transcend its European origins, Gatsby, too, cannot overcome the circumstances of his upbringing.

Though Nick worships Gatsby’s courage and capacity for self-reinvention, he cannot approve of his dishonesty and his criminal dealings. Gatsby, both while he is alive and after his death, poses an insoluble challenge to Nick’s customary ways of thinking about the world. Nick firmly believes that the past determines who we are: he suggests that he, and all the novel’s characters, are fundamentally Westerners, and thus intrinsically unsuited to life in the East. The West, though it was once emblematic of the American desire for progress, is presented in the novel’s final pages as the seat of traditional morality ­ an idyllic heartland, in stark contrast to the greed and depravity of the East.

It is important to note that the Buchanans lived in East Egg, and Gatsby in West Egg; therefore, in gazing at the green light on Daisy’s dock, Gatsby was looking East. The green light, like the green land of America itself, was once a symbol of hope; now, the original ideals of the American dream have deteriorated into the crass pursuit of wealth. In committing his extraordinary capacity for dreaming to his love for Daisy, Gatsby, too, devoted himself to nothing more than material gain. In Fitzgerald’s grim version of the Roaring Twenties, Gatsby’s ruin both mirrors and prefigures the ruin of America itself.


The Great Gatsby: Chapters 8-9 Questions

Answer each question in complete sentences on a separate sheet of paper.

Chapter 8

1.What had prompted Gatsby to talk freely to Nick now, when he was unwilling to do so in the past?

2.What further information do we learn about Gatsby?

3.Explain Nick’s meaning when he balances Gatsby’s supposed “corruption” against his “incorruptible dream.”

4.How does Wilson view the “eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg”? Does Wilson’s statement have a symbolic level for the novel as a whole? Explain.

5.Trace the movements of Gatsby and Wilson at the endof Chapter 8. What is Nick’s meaning when he says,“…the holocaust was complete”?

Chapter 9

1.What makes Nick assume responsibility for the funeral arrangements? Specify the things he did.

2.What version of the tragedy appeared in the newspapers? How would you account for the fact that this version went unchallenged and uncorrected?

3.How had Gatsby’s father learned of the tragedy? To what extent does the father know his son?

4.Discuss the significance of Gatsby’s boyhood program for self-improvement.

5.What is the irony of Gatsby’s funeral?

6.What is the significance of the scene including Jordan Baker?

7.What moral judgment does Nick make about Tom and Daisy? Discuss.

8.Explain the significance of the last page of the novel in relation to Gatsby’s dream and to the American Dream.


The Great Gatsby

  • Quiz on Chapter 7.
  1. Who do we meet for the first time at the Buchanan’s house in Chapter 7?
  1. Who drives Gatsby’s car into town?
  1. Who tells Tom that Daisy never loved him?
  1. How does Tom say Gatsby got his money?
  1. Who is killed in Chapter 7?

Chapter Seven summary: Now, when curiosity about Gatsby has reached a fever pitch, he ceases to throw his Saturday night parties. The only purpose of the parties was to solicit Daisy’s attention; now that they are reunited, the parties have lost their meaning. Nick, surprised that the revelry has stopped, goes over to make certain that Gatsby is all right. He learns that Gatsby has fired all of his former servants and replaced them with a number of disreputable characters who were formerly employed by Meyer Wolfsheim. Daisy has begun visiting him in the afternoons, and Gatsby wants to make certain that she will not be exposed to any of the lurid gossip about his life and his past.

On the hottest day of the summer, Daisy invites Gatsby, Nick and Jordan to lunch. Daisy has the nanny exhibit her infant daughter, who is dressed in white, to the assembled guests. Gatsby seems almost bewildered by the child ­ he has been, until this moment, entirely unable to conceive of Daisy as a mother. Tom is full of his usual bluster, remarking that he read that the sun is growing hotter; soon, the earth will fall into it, and that will be the end of the world. During the luncheon, Tom realizes that Gatsby and his wife are romantically involved. Gatsby stares at Daisy with undisguised passion, and Daisy recklessly remarks, within earshot of Tom, that she loves Gatsby. Tom, unsettled, goes inside to get a drink, and in his absence Nick remarks that Daisy has an indiscreet voice. When Nick goes on to say that Daisy’s voice also has an indescribably seductive quality, Gatsby blurts that her voice is “full of money.”

Tom, desperate to pick a fight with Gatsby, forces the entire party to drive into New York. Gatsby and Daisy drive in Tom’s car, while Nick, Jordan, and Tom drive in Gatsby’s. On the way, Tom furiously tells Nick that Gatsby is no Oxford man. They stop for gas at Wilson’s garage. Wilson tells them that he’s decided to move his wife out west, since he recently learned that she’s been having an affair; he does not yet, however, know who her lover is. Upon leaving the garage, they see Myrtle peering down at the car from her window. She stares at Jordan with an expression of jealous terror, since she has assumed that Jordan is Tom’s wife. Feeling that both his wife and mistress are slipping away from him, Tom grows panicked and impatient. To escape from the summer heat, the group takes a suite at the Plaza Hotel. There, Tom finally confronts Gatsby, mocking his use of the phrase “old sport.” Tom accuses Gatsby of never having been at Oxford; Gatsby replies that he did, in fact, study there ­ for five months after the end of the war. Tom regards Daisy’s affair with the lower-class Gatsby as one of the harbingers of the decline of civilization: soon, Tom hisses, there will even be intermarriage between the races. Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy doesn’t love him, and has never loved him; he informs him that he’s “not going to take care of Daisy anymore.” Tom calls Gatsby a “common swindler” and reveals that he has made his fortune in bootlegging. Daisy, in her shallowness and snobbery, sides with Tom, and refuses Gatsby when he pleads with her to say that she has never loved her husband. As the confrontation draws to a close, Nick realizes that today is his thirtieth birthday.

In the valley of ashes, Nick, Jordan and Tom find that someone has been struck and killed by an automobile. The young Greek, Michaelis, who runs the coffee house next to Wilson’s garage, tells them that the victim was Myrtle Wilson. She ran out into the road during a fight with her husband; there, she was struck by an opulent yellow car. Nick realizes that the fatal car must have been Gatsby’s Rolls-Royce. Tom presumes that Gatsby was the driver.

Chapter 7 Analysis:

The reunion of Gatsby and Daisy is the novel’s pivotal event; it sets all the subsequent events into inevitable motion. In Chapter VII, the story of their romance reaches its climax and its tragic conclusion.

Gatsby is profoundly changed by his reunion with Daisy: he ceases to throw his lavish parties and, for the first time, shows concern for his public reputation. In the past, Gatsby has simply ignored the vicious rumors circulating about him; for Daisy’s sake, however, he must now exercise some discretion. Daisy, by contrast, is extremely indiscreet with regard to her romance with Gatsby. Inviting Gatsby to lunch with her husband would be a bold, foolish move under any circumstances; when one takes Tom’s snobbery and intense suspiciousness into account, Daisy’s decision seems to border on madness. Tom is profoundly insecure, obsessed with both his own inevitable downfall and the downfall of civilization itself. It is important to recognize that, for Tom, they are the same thing: he believes that he, as a wealthy white male aristocrat, is Western civilization’s greatest achievement. This odious mindset is borne out by his choice of reading material, which views the end of the world and interracial marriage as being equally catastrophic.

The confrontation between Gatsby and Tom serves to reveal the major flaws and motivations of both characters. For Tom, the affair between Gatsby and Daisy is evidence of the decline of civilization; he seems less disturbed by his wife’s infidelity than by the fact that she is involved with a man of an inferior social class. Tom’s gross misogyny and hypocrisy assert themselves here: he obviously does not regard his affair with the lower-class Myrtle Wilson in the same apocalyptic light. As Nick remarks, Tom moves “from libertine to prig” when it suits his needs. Tom uses the fact of Gatsby’s criminal activity to humiliate him before Daisy. Tom, for all his crudeness, possesses a subtle knowledge of his wife: he realizes that Daisy’s innate snobbery is ultimately identical with his own. She would never desert her aristocratic husband for “a common bootlegger” ­ regardless of the love she felt for the bootlegger in question. Daisy refuses to submit to Gatsby’s pleas, and will not say that she has never loved Tom. Gatsby is ultimately unable to recapture his idyllic past; the past, the future, and Daisy herself ultimately belong to Tom.

The distinction between “old” and “new” money is crucial here: while Gatsby earned his fortune, Daisy is an aristocrat, a woman for whom wealth and privilege come effortlessly. As Gatsby himself remarks, even her voice is “full of money.” This is what he loves in Daisy’s voice, and in Daisy herself: for Gatsby, Daisy represents the wealth and elegance for which he has yearned all his life. Gatsby thus loses Daisy for the same reason that he adores her: her patrician arrogance. The introduction of Daisy’s daughter provides incontestable proof of Gatsby’s inability to annul the passage of time. He does not believe in the child’s existence until actually confronted with her; even then, he regards her with shock and bewilderment. Daisy, for her part, seems scarcely to regard the girl as real: she coos over her as though she were a doll, and seems to leave her almost entirely in the care of a nanny. The selfish and immature Daisy is essentially a child herself, and is in no position to be a mother.

Daisy remains characteristically passive throughout Chapter VII; she is only a spectator to the argument between Gatsby and Tom. Her weakness is particularly important here: Tom and Gatsby fight over who can possess Daisy and provide for her. Gatsby, tellingly, does not say that Daisy is leaving Tom, but that Tom is “not going to take care of her anymore”; both men regard her as being incapable of independent action.

Daisy’s carelessness and stupidity eventually lead to the death of Myrtle Wilson, and Gatsby is forced to leave the scene of the accident and to hide the fatal car simply to protect Daisy’s fragile nerves. His decision to take responsibility for Myrtle’s death reveals that his love for Daisy is unassailable; her cruelty has changed and will change nothing. Gatsby, despite his criminal activities, remains essentially noble: he


The Great Gatsby Chapter 7 Questions

Answer each question in paragraph form.

1.Analyze Daisy’s attitude toward her child as evidenced in this chapter and in chapter 1. Is she a good

mother? Explain why Gatsby looked “at the child with surprise.”

2.With whom does Tom talk on the telephone early in the chapter? About what?

3.What does Gatsby mean when he says that Daisy’s voice is “full of money”? Why does Fitzgerald put those words in Gatsby’s mouth and not Nick’s?

4.What arrangements are made regarding the passengers of each car on the trip to the city? Why?

5.What does Gatsby do that makes Nick want “to get up and slap him on the back”? Why does Nick feel this way?

6.Does Daisy know what love is? Whom does she really love?

7.Is there any significance in the fact that the day is Nick’s birthday?

8.At the end of Chapter 7 Nick observes Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy after the accident. What conclusions does he reach?

9.Explain the last paragraph of Chapter 7.


The Great Gatsby

Quiz over chapter 4 (concerns Jordan’s story about Daisy and Gatsby as she relates it to Nick).

  1. Where did Daisy grow up?
  2. What did Daisy do on her wedding day that almost stopped the wedding?
  3. What did Tom do immediately after returning from their honeymoon?
  4. Who was the Army officer that Jordan saw in Daisy’s car the year before she got married?
  5. Why did Gatsby buy the house on West Egg?

Read chapters 5 and 6 aloud.

Chapter Five:

One night, Gatsby waylays Nick and nervously asks him if he would like to take a swim in his pool; when Nick demurs, he offers him a trip to Coney Island. Nick, initially baffled by Gatsby’s solicitousness, realizes that he is anxiously waiting for Nick to arrange his meeting with Daisy. Nick agrees to do so. Gatsby, almost wild with joy, responds by offering him a job, a “confidential sort of thing,” and assures Nick that he will not have to work with Meyer Wolfsheim. Nick is somewhat insulted that Gatsby wishes to reimburse him for his help, and so declines Gatsby’s offer.

It rains on the day that Gatsby and Daisy are to meet, and Gatsby becomes extremely apprehensive. The meeting takes place at Nick’s house and, initially, their conversation is stilted and awkward. They are all inexplicably embarrassed; when Gatsby clumsily knocks over a clock, Nick tells him that he’s behaving like a little boy. Nick leaves the couple alone for a few minutes; when he returns, they seem luminously happy, as though they have just concluded an embrace. There are tears of happiness on Daisy’s cheeks.

They make their way over to Gatsby’s mansion, of which Gatsby proceeds to give them a carefully rehearsed tour. Gatsby shows Daisy newspaper clippings detailing his exploits. She is overwhelmed by them, and by the opulence of his possessions; when he shows her his vast collection of imported shirts, she begins to weep tears of joy. Nick wonders whether Gatsby is disappointed with Daisy; it seems that he has made of her a goddess, and ­ though Daisy herself is alluring ­ she cannot possibly live up to so grandiose an ideal.

Gatsby has Ewing Klipspringer, a mysterious man who seems to live at his mansion, play “Ain’t We Got Fun” (a popular song of the time) for himself and Daisy:

In the morning, in the evening
Ain’t we got fun!
Got no money, but oh, honey
Ain’t we got fun!

As Klipspringer plays, Gatsby and Daisy draw closer and closer together; Nick, realizing that his presence has become superfluous, quietly leaves.


The exchange between Nick and Gatsby that opens this chapter highlights the uncertainty at the heart of their relationship: is Gatsby’s friendship with Nick merely expedient ­ that is, is he merely using him to draw closer to Daisy ­ or is he genuinely fond of him?

The question cannot be absolutely decided: while it becomes clear that Gatsby has great affection for Nick, it is also true that he uses his money and power as leverage in all of his personal relationships. Gatsby, in his extreme insecurity about class, cannot believe that anyone would befriend him if he did not possess a mansion and several million dollars a year. Fitzgerald seems to bitterly affirm this insecurity, given the fact that Gatsby was abandoned by Daisy because of his poverty, and remains ostracized by the East Eggers even after his success. In the world of the novel, only Nick does not make friendships based upon class.

The gross materialism of the East and West Egg milieus explains the obsessive care that Gatsby takes in his reunion with Daisy. The afternoon is give over to an ostentatious display of wealth: he shoes Daisy his extensive collection of British antiques and takes her on a tour of his wardrobe; Gatsby himself is dressed in gold and silver. His Gothic mansion is described as looking like the citadel of a feudal lord. Nearly everything in the house is imported from England (the scene in which Gatsby shows Daisy his piles of English shirts is one of the most famous scenes in American literature). Fitzgerald implies that Gatsby is attempting to live the life of a European aristocrat in the New World of America. This, Fitzgerald suggests, is a misguided anachronism: America committed itself to progress and equality in abandoning the old aristocracy. To go back to such rigidly defined class distinctions would be retrograde and barbaric ­ as is implied by the fact that the major proponent of such ideas is Tom Buchanan, who is clearly a cretin and a brute.

This chapter presents Gatsby as a man who cannot help but live in the past: he longs to stop time, as though he and Daisy had never been separated ­ as though she had never left him to marry Tom. During their meeting Nick remarks that he is acting like “a little boy”: in Daisy’s presence, Gatsby loses his usual debonair manner and behaves like any awkward young man in love. Gatsby himself is regressing, moving back in time, as though he were still a shy young soldier in love with a privileged debutante.

Nick describes the restless Gatsby as “running down like an over-wound clock.” It is significant that Gatsby, in his nervousness about whether Daisy’s feelings toward him have changed, knocks over Nick’s clock: this signifies both Gatsby’s consuming desire to stop time and his inability to do so.

Daisy, too, ceases to play the part of a world-weary sophisticate upon her reunion with Gatsby. She weeps when he shows her his collection of sumptuous English shirts, and seems genuinely overjoyed at his success. In short, Gatsby transforms her; she becomes almost human. Daisy is more sympathetic here than she is at any other point in the novel.

The song “Ain’t We Got Fun” is significant for a number of reasons. The opening lyrics (“In the morning/ In the evening/ Ain’t we got fun”) imply a carefree spontaneity that stands in stark contrast to the tightly-controlled quality of the lovers’ reunion. This contrast is further sharpened by the words of the next verse, which run: “Got no money/ But oh, honey/ Ain’t we got fun!” It is bitterly ironic that Gatsby and Daisy should reunite to the strains of this song, given the fact that she first rejected him for his poverty.

Chapter Six:

A reporter, inspired by the feverish gossip about Gatsby then circulating in New York, comes to West Egg in the hopes of obtaining the true story of his past from him. Though Gatsby himself turns the man away, Nick interrupts the narrative to relate Gatsby’s past ­ the truth of which he only learned much later ­ to the reader.

His real name is James Gatz, and he was born to an impoverished farmer in North Dakota ­ rather than into wealth in San Francisco, as he claimed. He had his named legally changed to Jay Gatsby at the age of seventeen. Though he did attend St Olaf’s ­ a small college in Minnesota ­ he dropped out after two weeks, as he could not bear working as a janitor in order to pay his tuition. Gatsby’s dreams of self-improvement are only intensified by his relationship with Dan Cody, a man whom he met while working as a fisherman on Lake Superior. Cody was then fifty, a self-made millionaire who had made his fortune during the Yukon gold rush. Cody took Gatsby in and made the young man his personal assistant. On their subsequent voyages to the West Indies and the Barbary Coast, Gatsby became even more passionately covetous of wealth and privilege. When Cody died, Gatsby inherited $25,000; he was unable to claim it, however, due to the malicious intervention of Cody’s mistress, Ella Kaye. Afterward, Gatsby vowed to become a success in his own right.

Several weeks pass without Nick’s seeing Gatsby. Upon visiting Gatsby at his mansion, Nick is shocked to find Tom Buchanan there. Tom has unexpectedly stopped for a drink at Gatsby’s after an afternoon of horseback riding; he is accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Sloane, an insufferable East Egg couple who exemplify everything that is repellent about the “old rich.” Gatsby invites the group to supper, but Mrs. Sloane hastily refuses; perhaps ashamed at her own rudeness, she then half-heartedly offers Gatsby and Nick an invitation to dine at her home. Nick, recognizing the insincerity of her offer, declines; Gatsby accepts, though it is unclear whether his gesture is truly oblivious or defiant.

Tom pointedly complains about the crazy people that Daisy meets, presumably referring to Gatsby. Throughout the awkward afternoon, he is contemptuous of Gatsby ­ particularly of his acceptance of Mrs. Sloane’s disingenuous invitation.

The following Saturday, Tom and Daisy attend one of Gatsby’s parties. Tom, predictably, is unpleasant and rude throughout the evening. After the Buchanans leave, Gatsby is crestfallen at the thought that Daisy did not have a good time; he does not yet know that Tom badly upset her by telling her that Gatsby made his fortune in bootlegging.

Nick realizes that Gatsby wants Daisy to tell Tom that she has never loved him. Nick gently informs Gatsby that he can’t ask too much of Daisy, and says, “You can’t repeat the past.” Gatsby spiritedly replies: “Of course you can!”


Nick begins the story of Gatsby’s past by saying that Gatsby “sprang from his Platonic conception of himself.” In order to understand this statement, the reader must remember that the “Platonic conception” of a person or thing refers to that thing’s ideal form. That is, the Platonic form of an object is the perfect form of that object. Therefore, Nick is suggesting that Gatsby has modeled himself on an idealized version of “Jay Gatsby”: he is striving to be the man he envisions in his fondest dreams of himself. Gatsby is thus the novel’s representative of the American Dream, and the story of his youth borrows on one of that dream’s oldest myths: that of the self-made man. In changing his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby, he attempts to remake himself on his own terms; Gatsby wishes to be reborn as the aristocrat he feels himself to be.

It is significant that Gatsby leaves college because he finds his work as a janitor degrading. This seems a perverse decision, given the fact that a university education would dramatically improve his social standing. His decision to leave reveals Gatsby’s extreme sensitivity to class, and to the fact of his own poverty; from his childhood onward, he longs for wealth and ­ perhaps more importantly ­ for the sophistication and elegance which he imagines that wealth will lend him. His work as a janitor is a gross humiliation because it is at odds with his ideal of himself; to protect that ideal, he is willing to damage his actual circumstances.

Fitzgerald uses the character of Dan Cody to subtly suggest that the America of the 1920s is no longer a place where self-made men can thrive. Cody, like Gatsby, transcended early hardship to become a millionaire; also like Gatsby, he is remarkably generous to his friends and subordinates. Cody takes to drinking because, despite his wealth, he remains unable to carve out a place for himself in the world of 1920s America. It is important to note that Cody’s death is brought about, at least in part, through the treachery of the woman he loves; this foreshadows the circumstances of Gatsby’s death in Chapter VIII.

The painfully awkward luncheon party at Gatsby’s mansion underlines the hostility of the American 1920s toward the figure of the self-made man. Both the Sloanes and Tom Buchanan treat Gatsby with contempt and condescension, because he is not of the long-standing American upper class. Though Gatsby is fabulously wealthy ­ perhaps wealthier than Tom himself ­he is still regarded as socially inferior. For Fitzgerald, nothing could be more inimical to the original ideals of America. The first Americans fought to escape the tyrannies of the European nobility; Tom Buchanan longs to reproduce them.

This chapter makes it clear that Daisy, too, is a part of the same narrow-minded aristocracy that produced her husband. For Gatsby, she became the symbol of everything that he wanted to possess: she is the epitome of wealth and sophistication. Though Gatsby loves this quality in Daisy, it is precisely because she is an aristocrat that she cannot possibly fulfill his dreams: she would never sacrifice her own class status in order to be with him. Her love for him pales in comparison to her love of privilege.


The Great Gatsby

Answer the following questions in complete sentence form on a separate sheet of paper.

Chapter 5

1.Gatsby’s actions in preparing for Daisy’s arrival seem both flamboyant and absurd. What does he do? Why?

2.Discuss Gatsby’s actions once Daisy arrives. How do we know he is nervous? How does he try to impress her?

3.Toward the end of the chapter, Nick attempts to explain “the expression of bewilderment that had come back into Gatsby’s face.” What explanation does Nick give? Why, in his opinion, is Daisy not at fault?

4.Describe Daisy’s reactions during the course of her meeting with Gatsby.

5.Has Nick been affected by the meeting between Gatsby and Daisy? In what way?

Chapter 6

1.What was Gatsby’s real name? Why and when had he changed it?

2.In what way was Dan Cody involved in Gatsby’s destiny?

3.Why does Tom attend Gatsby’s party? How does this scene reveal the contrast between Gatsby and Tom?

4.What is deeply ironic in Tom’s statement, “…I may be old-fashioned in my ideas, but women run around too much these days to suit me”?

5.Note the reactions of Tom and Daisy at different times during Gatsby’s part. Did they enjoy themselves? Explain.

6.What suspicions does Tom have about Gatsby? What does he vow to do?

7.What do Nick and Gatsby talk about after the party?

8.What is Gatsby expecting of Daisy that prompts Nick to warn him, “I wouldn’t ask too much of her… You can’t repeat the past”?



The Great Gatsby

Chapters 3 & 4

Ch. 3


  • Nick meets Gatsby at one of his parties.
  • Why doesn’t Gatsby introduce himself to Nick when they first sit down together? (wants to see if they will say something about him)
  • Nick begins spending time with Jordan.
  • What does he have to do before they can become more involved?
  • (break up with girlfriend back home)

Literary Focus

  • Does Nick’s first meeting with Gatsby make him more or less mysterious?
  • Gatsby’s smile/artificiality (formal speech)
  • Rumors about Gatsby.
  • Jordan is careless in both her driving and speech.
  • This prepares us for later events.

Ch. 4


  • Nick has lunch with Gatsby in New York.
  • Gatsby gives his bio? Is it all true? (doubtful)
  • Nick meets Meyer Wolfsheim.
  • What does this tell us about Gatsby? (shady associates)
  • Revelations about Gatsby and Daisy (used to be together)
  • Jordan asks Nick to invite Gatsby and Daisy for tea.
  • Why doesn’t Gatsby ask Nick himself? (insecure? Aloof?)

Literary Focus

  • Why the list of names of Gatsby’s summer visitors?
  • Why do so many of them have tragic ends?
  • Why do you think Gatsby carries “evidence” of his past?
  • What is the “San Francisco/Midwest” thing all about?
  • How does Jordan’s telling of the Gatsby/Daisy romance make Gatsby more real for Nick?

Read Chapters 5 and 6

Chapter 3

1.Chapter 3 describes Gatsby’s “little party.” Enumerate details about the party itself, about the guests and about their conversation and behavior.

2.Describe the meeting between Nick and Gatsby. Comment on Fitzgerald’s skill in preparing for Gatsby’s entrance into the story.

3.In what way are Nick and Gatsby similar at this point? Why are they paradoxical?

4.What is the reason for Nick’s breaking the story atthis point? Read the section beginning with “Reading over what I have written so far…”

5.At the end of Chapter 3, Nick meets Jordan again. The author includes several episodes that emphasize her carelessness and basic dishonesty. Discuss these instances. What do they reveal about Jordan? About Nick?

6.Notice the last paragraph in Chapter 3. Is Nick being overly proud here? Discuss.

Chapter 4

1.The introductory section of Chapter 4 gives a long roster of those who attended Gatsby’s parties. How do they behave toward their host? Why, then, do they accept his hospitality?

2.Describe Gatsby’s car.

3.Discuss the details that Gatsby shares with Nick about his past.

4.Does Nick believe Gatsby’s story? Why or why not?

5.Who is Meyer Wolfsheim? What seems to be his connection with Gatsby?

6.Jordan Baker tells Nick about Daisy, Gatsby, and Tom. Summarize the story.

6. Explain the epigraph on the title page of the novel(“it’s the quote”). What does it reveal about Gatsby and his love for Daisy?

7.Do we know why Gatsby has so many parties? Why did he buy the house? Explain.

8.When Gatsby spoke to Jordan in his library in Chapter 3, he had devised a plan involving Nick. What was it? Why did he not ask Nick directly?


The Great Gatsby

Students complete questions over chapters 1-2

Chapter 1

1.Explain what Fitzgerald achieved by using Nick’s point of view to tell Gatsby’s story?

2.What do we learn about Nick Carraway in the introductory section of the novel?

3.In discussing East Egg and West Egg, Nick states: “To the wingless a more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size.” Indicate what the “dissimilarities” might be.

4.Compare the homes of Nick, Gatsby, and the Buchanans. How does each home reflect the personality of its owner?

5.Fitzgerald’s description of Tom, Daisy, and Jordan creates not only an impression of physical appearance, but also contains added information. What do you learn about their history and interests, and from their gestures and mannerisms?

6.When Nick leaves the Buchanan’s house, he is “confused and a little disgusted.” Why? What does this suggest about his values?

7.Though we do not meet Gatsby until Chapter 3, we hear references to him in the conversations of others. Note each reference. What impressions do you get?

Chapter 2

1..In what way is the description in the opening paragraphs of Chapter 2 appropriate to the total atmosphere of this chapter? What is symbolic about the “valley of ashes,” and “the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg”?

2..Evaluate Myrtle’s talk of her unhappy marriage. What does she seem to be trying to justify?

3.How does Myrtle’s speech reveal her character?

4.What does the scene in this New York apartment reveal about Tom? About Myrtle?

5.Does Nick enjoy the afternoon at the apartment in New York? Why or why not?


The Great Gatsby

Chapters 1-2

Ch. 1:

  • Synopsis: Meet main characters
  • Tom
  • Daisy
  • Nick
  • Jordan
  • Literary Focus:
  • Gatsby is a presence rather than a real person
  • What is the “secret society” Tom & Daisy belong to? (cynicism, sarcasm)
  • Daisy’s “thrilling” voice
  • What does Fitzgerald say about the voice? (full of promise to men)
  • What does “full of promise” mean?
  • “single green light”
  • We will see it again.
  • Think about what it means to Gatsby.

Ch. 2:

  • Synopsis: Meet Myrtle
  • Horrible party with Myrtle’s sister & the McKees
  • Literary Focus:
  • “valley of ashes”
  • symbolic of the wasteland America has become
  • What wasteland? (vapidness of chasing money)
  • “eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg”
  • What do they symbolize? (God?)
  • Tom’s attack on Myrtle represents what? (the views he and Daisy have for the rest of the world: everyone is beneath them)


Nonfiction Test 

Begin reading “The Great Gatsby”


Nonfiction Test Review


American Non-Fiction

Letter From Birmingham Jail”

Objective: Recognize Subjectivity

Analyze Details


  • Students complete Vocabulary Study (75) and Vocabulary Practice (76) worksheets
  • Review Martin Luther King Biography (p1202)
  • Review “Text Analysis: Allusion” & “Reading Skill: Elements of an Argument” (p1203)
  • Read from “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (ps 1204-1213)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-4 on page 1215 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 6-8 on page 1215 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


American Non-Fiction

A New Kind of War”

Objective: Recognize Subjectivity



  • Students complete Grammar and Style (357) Worksheet
  • Review Ernest Hemingway Biography (p1094)
  • Review “Text Analysis: Subjectivity in Reporting” & “Reading Strategy: Analyze Descriptive Details” (p1095)
  • Read from “A New Kind of War” (ps 1096-1101)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 1102 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 5-8 on page 1102 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.
  • Students complete Text Analysis (351) and Reading Skill (353) worksheets
  • 9/05/2014

American Non-Fiction

Regionalism” “The Autobiography of Mark Twain”

Objective: Recognize Irony and Overstatement

Predict Events


  • Review Mark Twain Biography (p659)
  • Review “Text Analysis: Irony and Overstatement” & “Reading Strategy: Predict (p659)
  • Read from “The Autobiography of Mark Twain” (ps 660-669)
  • Read “Epigrams” (p670)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 671 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-8 on page 671 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.

09/04 – 05/2014

American Non-Fiction

Civil War

  • Letter to His Son / Letter to Sarah Ballou Letters by Robert E. Lee and Major Sullivan Ballou
  • A Diary from DixieDiary Entry by Mary Chesnut
  • Speech to the American Equal Rights Association Speech by Sojourner Truth

Objective: Analyze Primary Sources; Synthesize Non-Fiction Documents

Pre-Lesson: Review Primary Sources on page 592


  • Read texts (p593-596) aloud
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 597 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 5-7 on page 597 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.“The Gettysburg Address”Objective: Identify Audience and Form; Analyze Author’s BeliefsProcedures:
      • Review Abraham Lincoln Biography (p584)
      • Review Text Analysis: Audience and Form & Reading Strategy: Analyze an Author’s Beliefs (p585)
      • Read “The Gettysburg Address” (p586)
      • Answer Comprehension questions 1-2 on page 590 aloud. Assessment


      Write a speech paying tribute to an important event. It may be from the distant past or a more recent time period. Do not give us a list of facts, but concentrate rather on the impact and meaning this event had for those who experienced it and those who came after, including yourself.


American Non-Fiction

from “Civil Disobedience”

Objective: Evaluate Ideas


  • Students complete look up definitions for following words:
    • abject, congenial, deliberately, impetuous, misgiving, perturbation, pervade, transgress
  • Review Henry David Thoreau Biography (p378)
  • Review Text Analysis: Essay and Reading Skill: Evaluate Ideas (p379)
  • Read from “Civil Disobedience” (p390-396)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 397 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4; 7 on page 397 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


American Non-Fiction  from “Self-Reliance” and “Nature”


  • Students complete look up definitions for following words:
    • aversion, decorum, exhilaration, importune, nonconformist, occult
  • Review Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography (p368)
  • Review Text Analysis: Transcendentalism and Reading Skill: Identify Theme (p369))
  • Read from “Self-Reliance” and “Nature” (p370-374)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 375 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-5 on page 375 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


American Non-Fiction

The Crisis”

Common Core Focus: Persuasive Techniques; Summarize Main Ideas

RI2; RI3; RI5; L4c; L6

Objective: Recognize Persuasive Techniques

Provide a Summary of Main Ideas


  • Students complete Vocabulary Practice (322) and Vocabulary Strategy (323) worksheets
  • Watch Herb Brooks locker room speech from “Miracle”
  • Review Thomas Paine Biography (p248)
  • Review Text Analysis: Persuasive Techniques and Reading Strategy: Summarize Main Ideas (p249)
  • Read “The Crisis” (p250-255)
  • Assignment: Using examples from “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, Ben Franklin’s “Autobiography”, and Patrick Henry’s “Speech in the Virginia Convention”, write a five-paragraph essay describing three qualities every American should possess. Use one quality from each of the above works.



American Non-Fiction

The Declaration of Independence”


  • Review Text Analysis: Argument and Reading Skill: Analyze Text Structure (p238)
  • Read from “The Declaration of Independence” (p240-244)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-4 on page 245 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 5-6 on page 111 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


American Non-Fiction

Speech in the Virginia Convention”


  • Review Patrick Henry Biography (p228)
  • Review Text Analysis: Rhetorical Devices & Reading Skill:Reading a Persuasive Speech (p229)
  • Read from “Speech in the Virginia Convention” (pgs230-234)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 235 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-7 on page 235 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.



  • Read pages 266-275 (Franklin’s” Autobiography” and “Poor Richard’s Almanack”)
  • Students answer #7 on page 276 in a short essay


American Non-Fiction

from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

Objective: Determine an author’s purpose


  • Review Jonathan Edwards Biography (p122)
  • Review Text Analysis: Persuasion and Reading Skill: Analyze Emotional Appeals (p123)
  • Read from from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (p124-127)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 130 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-7 on page 130 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.
  • Benjamin Franklin’s “The Autobiography” “Poor Richard’s Almanack”Objective: Understand Characteristics of an AutobiographyMake Inferences about AuthorProcedures:
    • Students complete Vocabulary Practice (358) Part A #s1-7 independently
    • Review Analogies with students and have them complete part B #s8-9c
    • Review Benjamin Franklin  Biography (p266)
    • Review Text Analysis: Characteristics of Autobiography and Reading Skill: Make Inferences About the Author (p267)
    • Read from “The Autobiography” (p268-274)
    • Discuss Aphorisms
    • Read and discuss aphorisms from “Poor Richard’s Almanack” (p275)
    • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 276 aloud. Assessment


American Non-Fiction

A General History of Virginia”


  • Review John Smith Biography (p92)
  • Review Text Analysis: Narrator and Reading Strategy: Reading Older Texts (p93)
  • Read from “The General History of Virginia” (p94-99)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-4 on page 100 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 5-8 on page 100 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.“of Plymouth Plantation”
      • Review William Bradford Biography (p102)
      • Review Text Analysis: Cultural Characteristics and Reading Strategy: Summary (p103)
      • Read from “of Plymouth Plantation” (p104-110)
      • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 111 aloud. Assessment
      • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-7 on page 111 on paper.
        • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 9)



Students publish and share their commentaries.

Guiding Questions: 
What opportunities are there to publish our commentaries and make them public?

 Lesson Design:

  • Explain that writers write for an audience and as a writing community, the class will be your first audience.
  • Students will prepare final versions of their commentaries, editing them for mechanics and grammar.
  • Final, polished commentaries will be shared with the class, either in print or electronically on blogs or discussion boards.
  • Provide students with a structure to respond to each other’s writing. 
  • Encourage students to pursue additional avenues for publication, the school or local newspaper, Teen Ink, blogs, etc.
  • Final Commentaries are due Friday at the beginning of class.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 8 )


Students revise their commentaries to add comparisons.

Lesson Design:
  • Explain that good persuasive writers use comparisons to support their claims.
  • Comparisons can…
    • be written as similes
    • be written as metaphors
    • use hyperbole
  • Ask students to find examples of comparisons in the Commentary Packet.
  •  Share discovered examples.
  • Students find places in their drafts where they might be able to add effective and compelling comparisons as support.



Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 7 )

Revising Introductions


Students revise the leads in their commentaries.

Guiding Questions:

How can revising our leads help strengthen our writing? 


 After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Revise their commentaries for craft in a commentary
Lesson Design:
  • Explain to students that commentary leads, like all leads, must hook the reader.
  • Using the model texts from the Commentary Packet and any other examples you have used with students, show examples of various kinds of leads. 
  • Some ways commentaries begin:

            * A direct statement:

“Fashion is easy to copy: Counterfeiters buy the real item, take them apart, scan the pieces to make patterns, and produce almost perfect imitations.”

The Real Cost of Fake Goods 

            * An anecdote:

            “Kyleigh D’Alessio never met 16-year-old John Clapper, the

            teenager Connecticut State Police say was the driver in

            Tuesday’s car accident in Griswold that killed four teenagers

            and critically injured a fifth.” 

            ‘Kyleigh’s Law’ is not the Answer for Connecticut’s Young Drivers

* A statement that raised questions:

“With Democrats on the warpath over trade, there’s pressure

for tougher international labor standards that would try to put

Abakr Adoud out of work.”

Put Your Money Where Their Mouths Are

            * A quote or reference to a quote

            “Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the

            same thing over and over again and expecting different


            Starve, Get Aid, Repeat

  • Consider modeling how to write various kinds of leads for students.
  • Students write at least three possible leads for their commentaries.
  • After composing the leads, students consult with a partner, determining which leads provide the best “hook” and revise their commentaries accordingly.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 6 )

Finding Balance Between Fact and Opinion


Students reread their commentaries, revising them to balance facts and opinions.

Guiding Questions:

How can we strengthen our use of facts and opinions to make our point?


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Revise their commentaries for content
Student Skills:
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making
  • Writing and application of the writing process
Lesson Design:  (Peer Editing)
  • Instruct students to revisit the commentary examples that they highlighted for facts and opinions, reminding them about the conclusions they drew from that lesson.
  • Explain that they will be doing the same work today, highlighting their own writing for facts and opinions.
  • Students should revise their commentaries based on their findings, adding factual information if necessary and/or strengthening the opinions in the piece.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 4)

Facts and Opinions in Commentaryc

Planning a Commentary: determining opinion and tone.”


Students make initial plans for their commentary, determining a statement of opinion, and selecting a tone before making an outline for the piece.


 After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Experiment using various tones and craft moves
Student Skills:
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making
  • Writing and application of the writing process
Lesson Design:
  • Explain that commentary writers, like writers of all genres, make some decisions before drafting. 
  • By the end of class, students will be required to turn-in an index card with their name, the topic for their commentary, and a statement that clearly expresses their opinion about the topic and what tone they intend to use in their writing.
  • Model for students how you would determine these things for yourself.  Show how you would experiment crafting an opinion statement and try writing in various tones.
  • Students use the remaining time writing to make these decisions for themselves.
  • Collect index cards at the end of class, reading them to determine who is ready for the next step. 
  • Discuss that each commentary comments on a particular incident.
    • Define each article’s incident.
  • Each incident leads to a larger issue.
    • Define each commentary’s issue.
  • Find each commentary’s thesis and the statement that tells you how the author feels/thinks about the issue.
  • Hand out newspapers and have students choose a news event.
  • By the end of class, students will be required to turn-in an index card with:
    • their name,
    • the topic for their commentary,
    • a statement that clearly expresses their opinion about the topic
    • what tone they intend to use in their writing (formal or conversational)
    • One possible model for a commentary outline is:

       –Lead + Claim

       –Reason #1

          * support (example)

       –Reason #2

          * support (example)

       –Reason #3

          * support (example)

       –Other POV/counter argument  

       –Interesting ending

    • Students work on creating their own outlines and start drafting.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 3)

Facts and Opinions in Commentary


Students reread commentary examples, identifying the authors’ use of facts and opinions by marking up the text.


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify use of facts and opinions in commentaries
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of facts and opinions in commentaries 
Student Skills:
  • Critical thinking
  • Analyzing text
  • Comparing and contrasting
Lesson Design:
  • Explain that students will be working with a partner, rereading commentary examples from their Commentary Packet.
  • Students read through selected examples twice.  The first time, they highlight or underline places in the text where the author uses facts.  The second time, using a different color, they highlight or underline places in the text where the author uses opinion.
  • Partners evaluate and compare examples, noting the following:
    • What is the ratio of facts to opinions in each commentary? 
    • How does each author integrate facts and opinions?  When and where in each piece are they used?
    • What impact do you feel facts have in each commentary?  What impact do you feel opinions have in each commentary?c
  • Class regroups to share.  Chart one list of “Facts and Opinions in Commentary” for display in the classroom.


Defining Commentary

In this lesson, students work together to create a list of characteristics found in good commentaries.  The class then agrees on characteristics that all commentaries must have.

Lesson Design:
  • Explain that students will work with a group, using information collected in their Commentary Packet to capture what they notice about commentary writing.
  • Students will create a chart together, listing things under the title, “We notice that good commentary writing…”. 
  • Some things worth noticing are: format, point-of-view, tone, content, kinds of sentences, word choice, paragraphs.
  • Groups should be prepared to share.
  • Class regroups to make one list together. 
  • Read through completed list, asking students to consider which of the characteristics are essential (things a commentary must do or include).  Highlight or bold these items.


Learning about examples of powerful commentaries

Lesson Design:

  • Distribute and review Commentary Packet and commentary examples with students. 
  • Read through the first commentary, “Starve, Get Aid, Repeat” by Craig and Marc Kielburger as a class.
  •  Model how to complete the graphic organizer.
  • Students work on reading at least three additional commentaries, completing the organizer.


Be in your seat before the bell rings.

Only a principal can give you permission to go to your car.

Keep any conversation in class relevant to current class topic.

Pick up all trash and place in trashcans  or recycle bin at the end of class.

You are not dismissed by the bell. The bell is to inform the teacher it is time to stop teaching.  Students are dismissed by the teacher. Please remain in your seat until the teacher dismisses you.

Cell phones are not to be used unless the teacher instructs otherwise

If your cell phone is confiscated, your parents will have to claim it at the office the next day.

All other rules, including dress codes, listed in the student handbook will be enforced. If you are seen with any non-allowable item (knife, tobacco, etc.) you will give that item to the teacher upon request. (Let’s review those policies)

Demonstrate the same respect and courtesy for others as you wish to receive.

You are responsible for bringing your own materials to class.

Place assignments in corresponding boxes at the beginning of each class.

You will find previous days’ assignments in notebooks if you are absent.

Use blue or black ink only for all assignments; including quizzes, tests, and essays.

Assignments will be turned in on white paper.  Use college ruled paper for essays.

Late assignments will lose 10 points per day.

Extracurricular activities, including athletic events, club events and after school jobs do not excuse students from deadlines.  All procedures regarding late assignments will apply.

If you turn in an assignment on time and are dissatisfied with your grade, you may redo the assignment and turn it back in the day after it is returned to you.

You have 5 days following your last day absent to make up any work.

Quizzes cannot be made up. If you are absent on the day a quiz is given, you are excused from it and it will not count against you.

Any missed tests will be made up before or after school by appointment within five days.

Grades are determined as follows: TESTS = 40%  ESSAYS = 30%  QUIZZES = 20% CLASS/HOMEWORK = 10%

Fold all assignments lengthwise.

Assignments need to have the following heading printed on the outside fold:

Name: First and Last

Class:  English II, English III, etc.

Period: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

Date: month/day/year (08/11/2014)

Assignment:  Essay Title, Page #s, etc.


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