Lesson 1: Fiction
Read “Raymond’s Run” (TLL pp. 32-40)
Define the following words:
Answer the following questions:
1. Why does Squeaky sometimes think that Raymond is younger than he is?
2. What is Squeaky’s special talent?
3. What plans does Squeaky have for Raymond at the end of the story?
Exposition is the first stage in the plot of a story. The exposition introduces the characters, establishes the setting, and sets the tone for the story. This information may be directly stated in the text of implied through dialogue or descriptions of scenes and characters.
What do your learn about Squeaky from the exposition?
Conflict in a literary work is a struggle between two opposing forces or characters. An external conflict takes place between a character and another character or an outside force. An internal conflict takes place within a character. There can be more than one conflict in a work, but the central conflict is the main conflict of the story that involves the main characters.
What is the aspect of this story that represents an external conflict?
Determine two other conflicts in the story and identify them as either external or internal.
Identify the central conflict.
Rising action is the second stage of the plot. In this stage, complications, events, or problems are introduced that affect the central conflict. Additional conflicts may be introduced also. The rising action is the greater part of the story and leads to the climax. Squeaky’s internal conflict involving her need to care for her brother versus her commitment to running is complicated when she runs into Gretchen and Gretchen’s sidekicks.
Identify the action or event in their meeting that complicates the conflict.
The climax of a literary work is the point of highest interest and intensity. It generally occurs near the end of the story and involves an important event, decision, or discovery that affects the outcome. The falling action occurs after the climax and consists of events that resolve the conflict and tie up loose ends. For example, in this story, all events (rising action) have led up to the moment of the race. The reader anticipates the outcome. Therefore, the completion of the race is the point of highest interest. The falling action is the resolution of Squeaky’s external and internal conflicts following the race.
On a separate sheet of paper, identify the resolution of the central conflict (Squeaky’s
internal conflict involving her responsibility for Raymond versus her dedication to her own running) and the conflict between Squeaky and Gretchen. This will be your work sample for Learning Period 1.
Read “The Ransom of Red Chief” (TLL pp. 69 – 79)
Define the following words: 1. collaborate
Answer the following questions: 1. What reason do Bill and Sam have for kidnapping Ebenezer Dorset’s son?
2. What are some of the things that Red Chief does to annoy Bill?
3. What does Red Chief’s father think of him?
Setting is the time, place, and culture in which the action of a story happens. Setting includes geographic location, historical time period, season of the year, and the behavior and beliefs of a community or a group of people. Setting can be directly stated or implied.
Identify passages or phrases on pages 71-73 that indicate setting.
Motivation is the reason why a character thinks, feels, or acts a certain way. A character’s motivation can be either directly stated or implied by the author.
What does the following statement reveal about character motivation?
“Bill and me had a joint capital of about six hundred dollars, and we needed just two
thousand dollars more to pull off a fraudulent town-lot scheme in Western Illinois.”
Find three other examples of motivation in the story. List the characters’ names, the action, and the motivation for the action.
Write an account of Red Chief’s kidnapping from his point of view. As you prepare to write, think of Red Chief’s motivations and reactions. Be sure to tell what happened as well as how the boy felt about his experiences.
Grammar: Pronouns and Their Antecedents
Read page 82 in TLL.
Pronouns can help avoid the awkwardness of using the same noun again and again.
Look at the following sentences:
Awkward: The rock hit Sam behind Sam’s ear, and then Sam fell into the fire.
Better: The rock hit Sam behind his ear, and then he fell into the fire.
his and he clearly refer to Sam. However, when In the example, the pronouns
pronouns do not have clear antecedents, or referents, writing becomes confusing. Look at this example:
Confusing: Red Chief threw a rock at Bill, and then he fell into the fire. (Who fell into
Clear: Red Chief threw a rock at Bill, and then Bill fell into the fire.
In the following sentences, circle all the pronouns and identify their antecedents. If a referent is unclear, indicate this by writing a question.
1. Red Chief sat on Bill’s chest and prepared to scalp him.
2. The mountain was two miles from Summit. It was very isolated.
3. The kidnappers wrote a letter to Mr. Dorset about returning Red Chief, but he
wasn’t happy about the idea.
Read page 83 in TLL (Informal Language – Idioms and Slang).
On a separate sheet of paper, do the EXERCISE at the bottom of page. Make sure to write the entire sentence. This will be turned in for a grade.
Read “The King of Mazy May” (TLL pp. 148-157)
Define the following words:
Answer the following questions:
1. Why are Walt and his father living on Mazy May Creek?
2. Why does Walt steal the claim-jumpers’ sled and dogs?
3. What do Walt and Loren Hall do at the end of the story?
Characterization refers to the four basic methods a writer uses to develop a character: describing how a character looks; portraying how a character thinks, speaks, and acts; presenting what others say or think about the character; and making direct statements about a character’s behavior or personality.
In the third paragraph on page 150, the other gives a direct description of Walt. Summarize Walt’s character.
The protagonist of a story is the central character or hero. Opposing the protagonist is an antagonist. The antagonist is usually another character (the “villain”), but sometimes the antagonist can be a force of nature or a set of circumstances.
What do you learn about Walt in the first two paragraphs of the story?
What kind of place might Walt live in?
Remember, setting is the time, place, and culture of the story’s action. The setting can
influence the mood (atmosphere), and tone (author’s attitude toward the subject of a work). Setting may also be a factor in the conflict of the story. This story’s setting is a cold, remote area in the late 1800’s.
What kind of mood does this create?
The setting is also an antagonist in the story, which means it plays a direct role in the story’s conflict and, therefore, can influence the meaning of the story.
Choose sentences or passages on pages 152-153 that use the setting to develop mood, tone, or meaning in the text.
Authors often use vivid language as a literary device. Vivid language includes verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that add a specific description of how something happens or how it looks. A writer often has a certain style that can be recognized in the language used. Jack London uses precise verbs and modifiers that create a suspenseful mood as in the second paragraph on page 153.
Identify words or phrases of vivid language used in the second paragraph on page 153.