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2 B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut

Nick DiChario envisions a not-so-rosy future courtesy of Kurt Vonnegut.

“Everything was perfectly swell.

There were no prisons, no slums, no insane asylums, no cripples, no poverty, no wars.

All diseases were conquered. So was old age.”

So begins ‘2 B R 0 2 B’, a clever short story by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, the author of far more famous works such as Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle, The Sirens of Titan, Mother Night, and many others. The story first appeared in the January 1962 issue of the pulp sci-fi magazine Worlds of If.

Its modest utopian beginnings quickly open up to an underlying dystopia: the only way to maintain the perfect balance on this seemingly perfect far-future Earth is to limit the population to precisely forty million souls. But old age has been beaten. To maintain eternal happiness, should birth control fail, one must acquiesce to either infanticide or suicide – choose your pleasure. Those few adults who decide they want to die are encouraged to call the Federal Bureau of Termination’s hotline at 2 B R 0 2 B (pronounced 2 B or naught 2 B) and make an appointment for euthanasia, thus opening the door for the birth of a new human. No one is forced into death, unless you count social pressure, although there is plenty of that in a society where the most admired man on the planet is Dr Hitz, “responsible for setting up the very first gas chamber in Chicago.”

The plot of ‘2 B R 0 2 B’ concerns a man named Wehling whose wife is pregnant with triplets. No newborn is allowed to survive unless the parents find a volunteer to die, and Wehling’s grandfather is the only person who has stepped up. So the unhappy couple is faced with the deaths of their grandfather and two children just to ensure the survival of one of their offspring. Quite a pickle. Without spoiling the finale, I will say that the story has a brilliant, appropriately Shakespearean climax, wherein Vonnegut invites readers to reflect on life and death, happiness and despair, human values, over-population, and the sacrifices people might one day need to make for the sake of society.

Today, with the world’s population twice what it was in the 1960s and closing in on seven billion, a utopia of any kind seems unlikely. Demands on our diminished resources are expected to double in the next two decades. Even politicians have begun to talk about how climate change and the shortages of food and water will soon become international security issues. What are we willing to sacrifice to solve these problems? Conversely, what will sovereignties do to protect their natural resources or secure what they need? How will our leaders rationalize the decisions they make? How will we? These challenging ethical questions will move out of the theoretical into the very real world in the too near future. At the end of Vonnegut’s story we are left wondering if the greatest gift we can offer our descendants is to just plain die.

‘2 B R 0 2 B’ is reminiscent in style and tone of another well-known work concerning population control, Jonathan Swift’s 1729 satirical essay ‘A Modest Proposal’, mocking the English apathy and condescension towards the Irish during a famine. In his famously chiding manner, Swift recommends infanticide and cannibalism to the Irish people to help them curb their over-population. Vonnegut’s story also harkens forward to Harry Harrison’s dystopian novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966), which director Richard Fleisher would later turn into the film Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston. Harrison’s story does not share Vonnegut’s dark humor, but they both examine what might happen if we allow our population to run amok. Harrison finds his solution in euthanasia and cannibalism.

There is no shortage in science fiction of utopian aspirations gone bad: George Orwell’s 1984; Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451; The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood; A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (brought to film as Blade Runner). These are but a scant few of the more popular examples, and I recommend them all. I would be remiss if I failed to mention a not-so-famous d ystopian film, Harrison Bergeron, based on a Vonnegut short story of the same name, originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1961 and republished in Vonnegut’s brilliant collection Welcome to the Monkey House.

‘2 B R 0 2 B’ is not among Vonnegut’s most ingenious works. It is a short story, after all – limited in scope and scratching the surface of the serious issues it introduces. Nevertheless, it is a quirky, absurdist tale with a harsh bite, written by a major author of the 20th century. The story remains unknown to most readers, in part, I suspect, because Vonnegut didn’t mind if his science fiction stayed hidden. He spent most of his professional life as a novelist denying he was a science fiction writer. He felt that the road to literary respectability was through mainstream channels, and that no-one would take him seriously if he embraced sci fi. But Vonnegut’s twisted worldview is on full display in ‘2 B R 0 2 B’, and this story seems even more relevant today than in the 1960s, when a population of seven billion people and an average life expectancy of eighty years seemed incomprehensible.

© Nick DiChario 2008

Nick DiChario has been nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy awards. His novels are A Small and Remarkable Life (2006) and Valley of Day-Glo (2008) both published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside.

• Utopian/dystopian aficionados, and anyone else, can find ‘2 B R 0 2 B’ on the Gutenberg Project’s website at gutenberg.org/etext/21279.

Unit 2: Short StoriesBefore delving into longer, more rigorous texts, it wil be helpful for you to digest a series of shorter stories. This will allow you to practice reading skills, literary analysis, and response writing on a variety of texts with different themes, styles, and techniques.

For each story, you will learn the literary devices used therein. You will assess the author’s tone, style, theme(s), and message. The stories will be used to practice close reading practices, such as annotating, questioning, and drawing inferences. Additionally, you will be exposed to a range of influential writers, genres, and time periods. Overall, the stories will serve as an introduction to literary traditions as well as a vehicle for textual interpretation and response.

Although these stories can stand on their own (thus serving as the subunit titles), you will be expected to compare and contrast their content and style. You will draw thematic connections across the literature and use these connections to ultimately write a formal literary response paper. At the end of this unit, you will have the terminology, reading practices, and critical eye needed for a close, meaningful examination of texts/literature.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 56 hours:

☐    Subunit 2.1: 10 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 11 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 2.6: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 2.7: 16 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify and evaluate the key elements, terminology, and traditions of literature; - analyze an author’s message, intent, and writing style, and respond critically to it using textual support; and - compare and contrast the views and methodology of two writers/speakers, analyzing how these similarities and differences affect the message.

Standards Addressed (Common Core): - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.9 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9

2.1 “2BR02B” by Kurt Vonnegut“2BR02B,” pronounced “To Be or Naught to Be,” with naught being another name for the number zero, is a science fiction short story by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. The story takes place in the future in a society where population control is not a problem. I won’t ruin the story for you by giving away the plot, but pay special attention to exactly what must happen for this ideal population control to take place. Think about the theme of utopia (a perfect world) and the dystopia (chaos) that often occurs. How closely related are utopia and dystopia? Are they worlds apart, or is there only a fine line separating the two? Enjoy the story!

2.1.1 Establishing Setting  - Web Media: Curriki: Tom Jones’s “Elements of Fiction” Link: Curriki: Tom Jones’s “Elements of Fiction” (HTML)

Instructions: Click on the link, log in, download the file, and watch this presentation about the elements of fiction. Pay special attention to the first three slides about setting, but go ahead and review all of the elements. Then, jot down what you believe the setting is in “2BR02B.” As you make your notes about what you believe the setting to be, write down some specific examples, or quotations, that gave you the ideas about the setting. In other words, write down the part or sentence(s) from the story that helped you determine the setting. How did you know that was the setting? Prove it by showing those examples.

Completing this activity should take approximately 45 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.1.2 Imagery  - Explanation: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Imagery” Link: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Imagery” (HTML)

Instructions: Read and/or listen to this tutorial about imagery. Take notes as you read, and then, give three examples of figurative imagery from “2BR02B,” explaining why each contains figurative imagery.

Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.1.3 Metaphor/Symbolism  - Explanation: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Symbolism” Link: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Symbolism” (HTML)

Instructions: Read through this PowerPoint presentation about symbolism, and take notes. Then, find at least four different examples of symbolism from “2BR0RB.”

Reading about symbolism, taking notes, and finding examples should take approximately 20 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

  • Explanation: SOPHIA: David Shaffer’s “Metaphors and Similes” Link: SOPHIA: David Shaffer’s “Metaphors and Similes” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read through this tutorial. There are some videos to watch as well, and be sure to take notes. Now, try to find two examples of metaphor in “2BR02B.”

    Reading this tutorial, watching the videos, taking notes, and finding examples should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: LoveYourPencil: “Symbolism” Link: YouTube: LoveYourPencil: “Symbolism” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Watch this video about symbolism. While watching, find three examples of symbolism in “2BR02B.” Be sure to explain why the examples you chose are symbolic. Keep these for later!

    Watching this video and finding examples should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: BetterLesson: New Orleans Collegiate Academies: “Guided Notes Symbolism” Link: BetterLesson: New Orleans Collegiate Academies: “Guided Notes Symbolism” (HTML)

    Instructions: Begin by reading the short story in Section II on the first page. This section will ask you to explain what you think the symbols might stand for. Then, the “Homework” page asks you to think of five symbols that you see in everyday life and explain them. This activity will help you to “be on the lookout” for symbolism in your reading.

    Reading this short story and working through the “Homework” page should take approximately 1 hour.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.4 Utopia versus Dystopia  - Explanation: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Dystopia: The Ultimate Dysfunctional Society” Link: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Dystopia: The Ultimate Dysfunctional Society” (HTML)

Instructions: Read through this PowerPoint presentation, and take notes about the characteristics of a dystopian society. Then, give at least three examples showing how the setting of “2BR02B” is dystopian.

Taking notes and giving examples should take approximately 45 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.2 “The Country of the Blind” by H. G. WellsThis short story is a real eye-opener (ha, ha, ha—I crack myself up)! Really though, this guy finds himself in an isolated area where being blind has become “normal.” At first, he thinks, “Oh yeah, I’m the man in this land! I can see everything, and they can see nothing!” But shortly, he finds that that is not the case at all. His sight becomes a disability for him, and ultimately he must choose whether his sight or his love for a blind woman is most important. This story will really make you think about what it means to be an alien in another country, uncertain of the customs and traditions that you may believe to be “normal.” It also brings thoughts of what a disability really is and how that disability may be defined by circumstances surrounding it.

2.2.1 Compare/Contrast with “2BR02B”  - Web Media: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: The Writing Center's “Compare and Contrast” Link: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: The Writing Center's “Compare and Contrast” (HTML)

Instructions: Watch this video, which discusses three different ways to organize a compare/contrast assignment. Please take notes, and decide which method you think you will be most comfortable using.

Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 20 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.2.2 Societal Norms/Culture/Traditions  - Web Media: SOPHIA: Sadie Pendaz’s “Culture, Norms, & Deviance” Link: SOPHIA: Sadie Pendaz’s “Culture, Norms, & Deviance” (HTML)

Instructions: Watch this tutorial about norms and deviance. Make a list of any deviance from the norm that you read about in “The Country of the Blind.” Give specific examples of this deviance and explain why, in their isolated society, this deviance actually was the norm. Can you think of any “norms” you have in your society? Why would people from another place find your “norms” strange? Have you ever been anywhere and felt like their “norms” were different than yours? Who decides what is “normal”? Think about it. Be sure to take the interactive quiz on the right side of the page to check your understanding.

Watching this tutorial, listing examples of deviance and norms, and ansering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.2.3 Characterization  - Web Media: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Characterization” Link: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Characterization” (HTML)

Instructions: Read this PowerPoint presentation about characterization. Be sure to remember the five ways that authors might show, rather than tell, characterization. Now, think about Nunez, and list some of the ways he is characterized in the story. Be sure to give specific examples that show you information about his character.

Reading this presentation should take approximately 45 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.2.4 Foreshadowing  - Web Media: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Foreshadowing” Link: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Foreshadowing” (HTML)

Instructions: Read this PowerPoint presentation about foreshadowing in literature. What type of foreshadowing do you find in “The Country of the Blind”? Please give specific examples of foreshadowing from the story, explaining why it is foreshadowing and what kind.

Reading this presentation and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.2.5 Tone/Mood  - Web Media: YouTube: Kevin Brookhouser’s “What Is the Difference between Tone and Mood?” Link: YouTube: Kevin Brookhouser’s “What Is the Difference between Tone and Mood?” (YouTube)

Instructions: Watch this video about tone and mood. What is the tone in “The Country of the Blind”? The mood? What is the difference between tone and mood?

Watching this video and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

  • Web Media: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Identifying Tone” Link: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Identifying Tone” (HTML)

    Instructions: Watch this video about identifying tone in literature, and take notes. Then, write a brief paragraph stating what you think the tone is in “The Country of the Blind.”

    Watching the video, taking notes, and writing the paragraph should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License. It is attributed to Kathryn Reilly, and the original version can be found here.

  • Explanation: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Describing the Mood” Link: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Describing the Mood” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read through this handout about identifying the mood in literature, and take notes. Then, write a paragraph explaining what you believe the mood is in “The Country of the Blind.” Be sure to give examples from the story that support your statements.

    Reading, taking notes, and writing the paragraph should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License. It is attributed to Sydney Bauer, and the original version can be found here.

  • Explanation: BetterLesson: Stephanie Finger’s “Words That Convey Tone and Mood” Link: BetterLesson: Stephanie Finger’s “Words That Convey Tone and Mood” (HTML)

    Instructions: If possible, print this handout for future use. The words listed here are used to set tone and mood in writing. These are clue words to look for or to use when you are writing about tone and mood. Did you see any of these words used in “The Country of the Blind”? Did any of these words help you determine the mood or tone in the previous exercise? Look over what you wrote down in the last exercise. Do you need to make any revisions based on this new list of mood and tone words?

    Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License. It is attributed to Stephanie Finger, and the original version can be found here.

2.3 “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose BierceIf you thought “The Country of the Blind” was an eye-opener, then “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” will really keep you hanging! Oh my! You will have to read the story to understand what I mean by “hanging”! Basically, this short story is about a man’s last thoughts before dying. There are many hints about what is actually going on—foreshadowing, if you will, and then a surprise ending that I will not ruin for you. Rest assured, the imagery and foreshadowing alone will keep you engaged in this one.

2.3.1 Foreshadowing/Imagery Review  - Reading: BetterLesson: Kevin Kloth’s “Foreshadowing Notes” Link: BetterLesson: Kevin Kloth’s “Foreshadowing Notes” (HTML)

Instructions: Read through this PowerPoint presentation about foreshadowing, and take notes. There are many examples given from fairy tales and some practice lessons for you to complete on the last two slides. When you have completed the practice lessons, please list two or three instances of foreshadowing from “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.”

Reading through the presentation and answering the question above should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.3.2 Drawing Inferences  - Web Media: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Inferences” Link: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Inferences” (HTML)

Instructions: Watch this video about inferences. Please take notes and pay close attention to the many examples that the presenter gives. What inference or inferences can you make from “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge?” Can you support these inferences with strong evidence from the story?

Watching this video, taking notes, and answering the questions above should take approximately 20 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.3.3 AnnotatingWhat in the world is annotating? It’s really just a fancy name for taking notes as you read. That may mean highlighting things you want to remember or making notes to yourself about a certain passage that you may want to come back to. Annotation is a really handy thing to know how to do, especially if you are going to write a literary analysis.

2.3.3.1 How to Annotate During Reading  - Reading: BetterLesson: Colleen Lawson-Thornton’s “Quote-Note-Thought Notes” Link: BetterLesson: Colleen Lawson-Thornton’s “Quote-Note-Thought Notes” (HTML)

Instructions: Read these directions for taking Quote-Note-Thought notes. Then, read the selection and use your new QNT skills in the chart provided.

Completing this activity should take approximately 15 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.3.3.2 How to Reflect After Reading  - Explanation: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Reflecting on Reading” Link: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Reflecting on Reading” (HTML)

Instructions: Read this PowerPoint presentation. Take notes and be prepared to reflect on your reading.

Reading this presentation and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.4 “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allan PoeMoving along in our short story unit, this tale takes another look at impending doom. Unlike the main character in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” the main character in “The Pit and the Pendulum” is not only facing death, but a torturous one. This story examines the horror and fear brought on by various tortures of the Spanish Inquisition. Turn down the lights, make some popcorn, and enjoy this creepy story.

  • Reading: The Literature Network: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” Link: The Literature Network: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” (text) and LibriVox: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” (audio)

    Instructions: Click on the first link if you would like to read this short story. If you prefer to listen to the short story, click on the second link. After clicking the second link, you will need to scroll down to the last story and click on the Mp3 link. Later in this subunit, you will need to cite quotations from the short story, so even if you choose to listen, you should read along, making annotations on a printed copy of the story if possible.

    Reading and/or listening to this short story should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Explanation: BetterLesson: AF High School Literature: “Dark Romanticism” Link: BetterLesson: AF High School Literature: “Dark Romanticism” (HTML)

    Instructions: Click the download button on the right side of this page to read the presentation. Be sure to read the comments at the bottom of each slide. Please disregard the last slide as it refers to a poem we are not analyzing. Notes about dark romanticism will be used to refer back to at a later time, so please be sure to take good notes. Also, think about some examples of dark romanticism in “The Pit and the Pendulum.” If you were able to print the story, read through and highlight or underline any examples you find, annotating in the margin why they are good examples.

    Completing this activity should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. It is attributed to AF High School Literature, and the original version can be found here.

2.4.1 Imagery/Mood/Tone/Symbolism Review  - Explanation: Wikispaces: sbrooksdriftwood’s “Tone and Mood” Link: Wikispaces: sbrooksdriftwood’s “Tone and Mood” (HTML)

Instructions: Click on the link titled “Tone and Mood.ppt” and open the file. Read through this PowerPoint presentation, taking notes about tone and mood.  Be sure to answer the questions on the slides that ask you to read a passage and think about its tone or mood.  When you have completed the slideshow and activities, write a letter to one of your friends explaining what tone is, what mood is, and how they are different.

Reading the presentation, taking notes, and writing the letter should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

  • Explanation: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Common Symbols” Link: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Common Symbols” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this PowerPoint presentation, which gives some super notes and examples about symbols found in literature. After you have watched the slideshow and taken some notes about symbols, jot down a few ideas about any symbols you may have recognized in “The Pit and the Pendulum.” What makes you believe these are symbols?

    Reading this presentation, taking notes, and answering the question above should take approximately 1 hour.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Kathryn Reilly, and the original version can be found here.

  • Web Media: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “The Impact of Imagery” Link: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “The Impact of Imagery” (HTML)

    Instructions: Watch this video about imagery. When you have finished watching the video, list a few examples of imagery from “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Why do you think these are examples of imagery? What makes them examples of imagery and not symbols?

    Watching this video and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Kathryn Reilly, and the original version can be found here.

  • Web Media: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Identifying Symbols” Link: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Identifying Symbols” (HTML)

    Instructions: Watch this video, which will give you a better grasp on identifying symbols in a piece of literature. You should have already listed some symbolism that you found in “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Take that list and “test” the symbols you chose with what you learned in this video. Do you need to add any other symbols to your list? Do you need to omit any?

    Watching this video and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Sydney Bauer, and the original version can be found here.

2.4.2 Narrative Voice  - Web Media: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Author’s Voice” Link: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Author’s Voice” (HTML)

Instructions: Read this handout about author’s voice and point of view. As you read, be sure to pay attention to the information about the author’s voice and the narrator’s point of view not always being the same. Do you think the narrator in “The Pit and the Pendulum”is speaking with Poe’s voice or in a different point of view? What makes you think this? Find some examples to prove it!

Reading this handout and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.4.2.1 Reliability of Narrator  - Web Media: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Evaluating Narrator Reliability” Link: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Evaluating Narrator Reliability” (HTML)

Instructions: Pay close attention to what you are reading in this presentation. Had you ever thought about NOT trusting a narrator before? Based on the all the things a narrator should be, do you believe the narrator of “The Pit and the Pendulum” is reliable? Why do you believe what you believe? Can you give specific examples of times the narrator is reliable? Not reliable? Why do you think this is the case?

Reading this presentation and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.4.2.2 Narrator as a Character  - Explanation: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Analyze the Impact of the Point of View” Link: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Analyze the Impact of the Point of View” (HTML)

Instructions: Read this presentation. If “The Pit and the Pendulum” had been told from a different point of view, what might change about the story? Would you know more or less about what is happening? How might you feel differently about the narrator? Point of view is a pretty important point, huh?

Reading this presentation and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.4.3 Psychological Fiction2.4.3.1 Characterization as a Gateway to the Human Psyche  - Activity: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Analyzing Characterization” Link: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Analyzing Characterization” (HTML)

Instructions: Now, get ready to have some fun! This little informative sheet is going to guide you through an analysis of a character. It asks you to choose a character from the story, and well, you don’t really have a huge choice—it’s going to need to be the narrator. But that means the first step is already done for you! So, with the narrator of “The Pit and the Pendulum” as your subject, proceed question by question through this exercise. Work your way through the questions in Step 2 and Step 3. If you would like to look at the example first, it may help you in “stalking” your character. And they couldn’t have chosen a better example for you—another Poe story! Also, if you have been annotating as you read, a lot of the answers to the questions will be obvious.

Completing this activity should take approximately 2 hours.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.4.3.2 How Characterization Affects Tone/Mood  - Explanation: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Describing the Mood” Link: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Describing the Mood” (HTML)

Instructions: As you read this handout about mood, think about “The Pit and the Pendulum.” How would you describe the mood in the story? Do you think the mood enhances or detracts from the story? Can you give some specific examples from the story that helped you determine the mood?

Reading this handout and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.5 Dracula’s Guest by Bram StokerJust when you thought it was over…another short story from the Dark Romantic genre. This short story was published after Stoker’s death. Some say it is from the original manuscript of Dracula. Regardless of its origin, it is a story worth reading and studying. Be sure to make annotations as you read the story, highlighting examples that help you to understand why the author wrote the story (theme) and how his characters’ actions and words carry out the theme. Enjoy the story!

2.5.1 Compare/Contrast with “The Pit and the Pendulum” within Dark Romanticism Genre  - Web Media: SOPHIA: Tara Neely’s “Gothic Literature Introduction” Link: SOPHIA: Tara Neely’s “Gothic Literature Introduction” (HTML)

Instructions: Read this great presentation about Dark Romanticism/Gothic elements in Poe’s work. After reading through the slides, see if you can identify any of these elements in Stoker’s “Dracula’s Guest.” Be sure to cite specific examples of these elements as you find them. Then, I bet you can guess what is next…you get to compare and contrast “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “Dracula’s Guest.”

Think about both stories in a dark romantic way, then choose certain elements to compare and contrast. For example, you may choose to compare and contrast the settings, imagery, tones, symbolism, and so forth. Be sure to show specific examples to prove the things you are saying.

Reading this presentation and completing the compare/contrast exercise should take approximately 2 hours.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.5.2 Defining New Words within Context  - Explanation: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Determining Meaning through Context” Link: SOPHIA: LaShanda Lawrence’s “Determining Meaning through Context” (HTML)

Instructions: Read this presentation. You may want to take some notes because this is pretty handy stuff. Now, skim through your printed copy of “Dracula’s Guest” and jot down 5 to 10 words that you don’t really know. Here are some words from the story to get you started: obstinate, manifest, paroxysm, restive, commencement. There’s no extra charge for those, and I bet you can find at least five more to practice your skills.

Reading this presentation and completing the vocabulary exercise should take approximately 1 hour.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.6 Comparing Literary TraditionsOkay, so we know what comparing is, but what is a literary tradition? A literary tradition is simply a group or collection of literature that, for a long, long time, has included the same themes or ideas or styles of writing. So, for example, the first two short stories we read, “2BR02B” and “The Country of the Blind,” both had settings that were utopian in different ways. In that way, those stories are from the same literary tradition. So, think about the other stories you have read in this unit, decide what themes they have that are similar, and then you will get to compare the different literary traditions.

2.6.1 Identifying Themes2.6.1.1 What is a Theme?  - Web Media: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Identifying the Theme” Link: SOPHIA: Sydney Bauer’s “Identifying the Theme” (HTML)

Instructions: Watch this video about identifying theme. When you are finished, watch it one more time, this time thinking about the information in light of “Dracula’s Guest.” Then, write down what you think the theme is in “Dracula’s Guest.” Is there more than one? Can you show examples from the story that prove what you think the theme is?

Watching this video and identifying the themes in “Dracula’s Guest” should take approximately 1 hour.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.6.1.2 Comparing Themes among the Stories  - Explanation: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Common Themes” Link: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Common Themes” (HTML)

Instructions: Read this presentation, and take notes about the different common themes found in literature. Do any of these themes apply to “Dracula’s Guest”? How do you know? Can you apply any of these themes to the other stories we have read in this unit? Please list each story we have read and what you believe to be the theme of each story. Also, list anything you may have independently read that applies to the other common themes mentioned in the slides.

Reading the slides, taking notes, and listing stories and themes should take approximately 45 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.6.2 Authorial Intent2.6.2.1 Revisiting Each Author's Purpose  - Web Media: SOPHIA: Nichole Carter’s “Theme and Author’s Purpose” Link: SOPHIA: Nichole Carter’s “Theme and Author’s Purpose” (HTML)

Instructions: Watch this video according to the instructions, and complete the self-check quiz. How does this information help you understand the author’s purpose in “Dracula’s Guest”? Did it help to clarify any questions about what the theme is?

Watching this video, completing the quiz, and answering the questions above should take approximately 45 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.6.2.2 Comparing the Authors’ Intentions/Messages  - Activity: BetterLesson: Amber Smith’s “Venn Diagram Template” Link: BetterLesson: Amber Smith’s “Venn Diagram Template” (HTML)

Instructions: Either print a copy of this Venn diagram or draw your own. Begin listing the authors’ intentions/messages (themes) from two of the stories you have read in this unit. Be sure to place the like items in the overlapping portion of the circles.

Filling in your Venn diagram should take approximately 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.7 In-Depth Literary ResponseNow it’s time to put all of the skills you have acquired into action! You get to choose two of the short stories we have read and compare and contrast them. In this writing, you will look at the literary elements used in each story and decide which ones are similar and which ones are not similar. To prove this in your writing, you are going to have to show, or cite, specific examples. Then you will explain how these specific examples show the literary devices that are similar and not similar. It sounds like a lot, but really it’s just like eating an elephant! And the only way to eat an elephant is one…bite…at…a…time. Let’s get started!

2.7.1 Choosing Two Stories to Compare/Contrast for Literary Response  - Explanation: SOPHIA: Ryan Howard’s “Comparing and Contrasting Literary Texts” Link: SOPHIA: Ryan Howard’s “Comparing and Contrasting Literary Texts” (HTML)

Instructions: Read this presentation. You really need to take notes on this one. These slides will guide you through a comparison and contrast of two fairy tales. This activity begins on slide 5 and will be great practice, so please read the fairy tales and follow through with the assignment on the remaining slides. Take notes, take notes, take notes!

Completing this activity should take approximately 2 hours.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.7.1.1 Responding to an Essay Prompt  - Activity: BetterLesson: Jennifer B’s “How Do We Analyze Stories by Comparing and Contrasting Them?” Link: BetterLesson: Jennifer B’s “How Do We Analyze Stories by Comparing and Contrasting Them?” (HTML)

Instructions: This is another great practice activity to make sure you are able to adequately compare and contrast two stories. The Venn diagrams used here should look very familiar to you, and practicing with the short passages will be helpful for the next part of our unit. As an added bonus, the last page of this activity allows you to use your skills at finding like themes, and that will also be helpful.

Completing this activity should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Standards Addressed (Common Core):

2.7.1.2 Using Details from Both Texts  - Explanation: Curriki: Andrea Chen’s “Literary Analysis Essay Guide” Link: Curriki: Andrea Chen’s “Literary Analysis Essay Guide” (HTML)

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