The Hero’s Journey: Depth and Complexity Response

English 7 Honors / McMillan[1]

You  will write three separate reader response assignments to share with your literature group on Thursdays: May 1, May 8, and May 15.  Choose a different icon to write about each week; additionally, you and your group members should choose the icons for each member in advance to avoid repetition within the group. All three writing assignments will be collected and awarded practice points. You will then select one piece to revise for assessment points. Each reader response assignment must—

Language of the Discipline

Discuss the specialized vocabulary in the story. How is it unique? How does it contribute to the author’s style? Why is it necessary and appropriate for the author to use this vocabulary? What does it add to the text?

Patterns

Discuss patterns found in the text. These can be patterns in character behavior, the author’s style (including significant literary devices and sequence of ideas), a concept, or theme. How do these patterns contribute to the story or the author’s style?

Unanswered Questions

Discuss unanswered questions. What unanswered questions remain for you as a reader? Are there any discrepancies in the text or missing parts? Did the author leave any ideas unclear and/or incomplete? Would the story be improved if these questions were answered for the reader?

Big Ideas

Discuss a big idea/theme in the story. What literary elements (setting, plot, character, etc.) are important in revealing the theme? What lesson can readers learn from the events in the plot? How do the actions of characters contribute to the overall meaning of the story?

Ethical Issues

Identify the ethical considerations affecting the protagonist and antagonist in the story. What controversies exist regarding this topic/theme? What debate and/or arguments could emerge from a study of this topic/theme/text?

Across the Curriculum

Make a connection across the curriculum. How do the ideas in the story relate to topics across disciplines (science, art, history, English, math, physical education)? How do the interdisciplinary connections contribute to the meaning of the story?

Change Over Time

How does the main character change over the course of the novel? What do these

changes reveal about the character? How do these changes contribute to the overall meaning or theme of the story?

Multiple Perspectives

How would this story be different if it were told from the perspective of a different character or narrator? How might another character portray the main character? How would these changes affect the overall meaning of the story?

NOTE: It is not necessary to address every single question in your response. A good response might address only one or two of the focus questions.

Parenthetical Citation (at least 2)

For help with parenthetical citation, see the website OWL Purdue: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/ 

Example of parenthetical citation: Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

Response #1  May 1, 2014

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 Response #2 May 8, 2014

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Response #3 May 15, 2014

Name ________________________________ Choice ______________________________________________________

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Example

Patterns in The Call of the Wild

        Buck is a survivor. No difficulty—no matter how great—is enough to defeat him. In Jack London’s novel The Call of the Wild, Buck confronts one hardship after another. His behavior demonstrates the pattern necessary to achieve success in the dog world and in the human world.  

The pattern begins when Buck attacks the first stranger who attempts to tighten a rope around his neck. London writes, “In a quick rage he sprang at the man, who met him halfway, grappled him close by the throat, and with a deft twist, threw him over his back” (6). In this passage, Buck lunges at the stranger, but this man is able to defeat Buck, throwing the big dog to the ground. Buck is a fighter. This first defeat doesn’t beat him. On the contrary, this is the first glimpse we have the pattern: Buck simply refuses to admit to failure.

        Later, Buck shows a different kind of fighting spirit. Because of his friendship with John Thornton, Buck struggles for him instead of against him. Thornton makes a foolish gamble that Buck will be able to pull a sled weighing one thousand pounds. Buck, far from giving up, laboriously walks a hundred yards pulling the thousand-pound sled.  London describes Buck’s strength in the following passage: “His whole body was gathered compactly together in tremendous effort, the muscles writhing and knotting like live things under silky fur”(77). Buck’s body and mind is in full concentration as he does something no one but John Thornton believes he can do. In the end, Thornton won’t even take twelve hundred dollars in exchange for his prized dog.

        Buck faces his challenges with physical strength and determination. This pattern allows him to rise to be the leader of the sled dogs and later the leader of the wolf pack. At first, he faces defeat, but because he doesn’t quit, Buck finally succeeds.

Template for Basic Response

        One element of depth and complexity in (title) ___________________________________________

by (author) _______________________________________________ is _______________________________________. I first see this element when _______________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For example, (textual evidence) ___________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________ (       ).

(This means) ________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________.

This demonstrates (element of depth / complexity) _____________________________________________ because ______________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________.

        Another example of (element of depth/complexity) _____________________________________ occurs when ________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________.

Specifically, in the text it says (textual evidence), ________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________ (       ).

(This means) ________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________.

This demonstrates (element of depth and complexity) __________________________________________ because ______________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________.

As a result, _________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________.

Heading:

Literature Group Meeting

Pre-discussion: Write 3 burning questions for discussion. The Guidelines for Developing Questions may give you some ideas

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Discussion Round 1: Each group member shares a question. Take turns responding. Write a summary of what you talked about. Include notes on your own question.

(Name)___________________________________’s question is ....

Our idea is...

(Name)___________________________________’s question is ....

Our idea is...

(Name)___________________________________’s question is ....

Our idea is...

(Name)___________________________________’s question is ....

Our idea is...

Literature Group Meeting

Discussion Round 2: Each group member shares what he/she wrote about the elements of depth and complexity. Take notes on what you learn from each other. Comment and ask questions after each person finishes reading.

(Name)___________________________________ wrote about...

From his /her writing, I learned...

(Name)___________________________________ wrote about...

From his /her writing, I learned...

(Name)___________________________________ wrote about...

From his /her writing, I learned...

Ticket Out :What was the most interesting question or topic? What did you add to the discussion?  What do you wish you said but didn’t? What important idea was expressed by someone else? What discussion strategies did your group do well? (Be specific when you discuss how you and your group membered showed the following: being prepared, using academic language, encouraging all members to respond, listening, making eye contact, facing each other, using “private” voices, being considerate of others’ opinions, asking for clarification, deciding on conclusions)? What strategies did you or your group struggle with? Be specific about what small group discussion strategies you need to work on.

modified by A. McMillan GVJH from A.Woods LCJH, 2013.


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