What We’re Reading
Project #1: Quotation Connection
Students will read a book of their choice (if it has already been approved), or the class choice, The Giver. Four times during the course of the book, students will write a summary. At the end, they will prepare an expository response about the book as a whole.
Due Date Schedule:
Monday, August 28: Summary/Response of first 5o pages due (or first 1/4 of book)
Monday, September 4: Summary/Response of second 50 pages due.
Monday, September 11: Summary/Response of third 50 pages due.
Monday, September 18 Summary/Response of the rest of the book due.
Monday, September 25: Quote Connection due.
Both the summary and the response needs to be at least a page long. The summary must mention all important plot events. The response must explore at least two types of reader’s reactions:
- explaining a character’s actions or motives
- questioning and predicting plot events and explaining why these events are likely to occur.
- making a connection between your life, our world, other texts, and the story
- describing and judging characters and their actions
- making observations about the writer’s style
- researching the life of the author and making inferences about events that may have influenced their writing
Summary and Response Model
Summary of “The Open Window”
Mr. Framton Nuttel, a whiny malingerer, has just moved to a new town. While visiting one of his sister’s acquaintances, Mrs. Sappleton, he spends some time with the woman’s niece, Vera. Vera recounts a story about how her aunt lost her husband and two brothers in a tragic hunting accident. She warns Framton that her aunt never accepted their deaths and believes that some day the hunting party will return. In anticipation, Mrs. Sappleton leaves the window in the front room open so that they may re-enter the house. When Mrs. Sappleton enters the room and discusses the hunting party, Framton is deeply disturbed by her delusion. However, his concern turns to pure horror when he sees three male figures dressed in hunting gear approaching the house. Believing he has seen ghosts, Framton bolts from the house. Spinning another tale, Vera explains to the newly arrived hunting party and her aunt that Framton fled when he saw the hunting dog because of his severe fear of dogs.
Response to “The Open Window”
The author does not expect that his readers will judge Vera harshly because of the funny tone of the story. Saki uses several comedic techniques to develop a lighthearted feeling. First, when Framton runs out of the house after he sees the hunters coming back across the lawn, he forces a cyclist into the bushes as he runs for his life. The use of slapstick is effective here because it suggests that no one, not even Framton Nuttel who is supposed to refrain from exercise of any kind, is seriously hurt by his mad dash out the door. The greatest punch line in the story is when Mrs. Sappleton observes that her guest acts like he has seen a ghost. The use of verbal irony here is perfectly timed; Framton did believe that he saw a ghost and that is what makes the story so funny. Finally, Vera uses hyperbole to great effect when she spins her tale Vera about Framton’s fear of dogs. Of course, the reader knows that this conversation never happened, so the suggestion that Framton at one point in his life had courage enough to face down a pack of vicious dogs is funny because it is so hard to imagine. If the story were not so humorous, Vera’s actions might be seen as unkind, but the self-possessed young lady was really more of a heroine than a villain because she seems to be able to figure out that this tedious stranger is not really dangerously sick. He is a hypochondriac who should get over himself, and so she rattled him for good measure. This story is different than “All Summer in a Day” because the tone of Bradbury’s tale is dark and terrible. In Bradbury’s story, when the children let Margot out of the closet, they feel very sorry for what they had done. Vera has no regrets for her actions. She goes on to tell an even more outrageous lie to her parents than she told to Framton.