The Seven Sisters

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Candida Wilton--a woman recently betrayed, rejected, divorced, and alienated from her three grown daughters--moves from a beautiful Georgian house in lovely Suffolk to a two-room walk-up flat in a run-down building in central London. Candida is not exactly destitute. So, is the move perversity, she wonders, a survival test, or is she punishing herself? How will she adjust to this shabby, menacing, but curiously appealing city? What can happen, at her age, to change her life? And yet, as she climbs the dingy communal staircase with her suitcases, she feels both nervous and exhilarated.
There is a relationship with a computer to which she now confides her past and her present. And friendships of sorts with other women--widows, divorced, never married, women straddled between generations. And then Candida's surprise inheritance . . .
A beautifully rendered story, this is Margaret Drabble at her novelistic best.
Curriculet Details
97 Questions
51 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in ninth grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining allusions to Virgil’s Aeneid, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the themes of sisterhood, transformation and death. It includes videos and images that clarify geographical, biblical and literary references. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about structure and point of view and cultural perspective. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of family relationships, betrayal, and the importance of friendship. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Epigraph

This is the biblical reference from Luke 12:6. What do you think this means? 

Her Diary

Drabble's novel is a postmodern narrative. Postmodern literature uses techniques such as fragmentation, discontinuity, paradox, and questionable narrators. Other techniques used are metafiction, writing about writing, and pastiche. This combination of subjects and genres was not previously considered suitable for literature. 
Emily Bronte was an English author best known for the novel "Wuthering Heights."  
"En effet" is French for "indeed."  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
From which point-of-view is this chapter written? 
These are types of massage and healing techniques. 
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The younger woman suggests that the older woman ___________________. 
A lipoma is a growth of fat cells in a thin, fibrous capsule usually found just below the skin. 
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The Health Club initially is  ___________. 
This is Latin for "in place of parents." It refers to someone who will assume parental responsibility. 
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The narrator joins the Health Club to _________________. 
"Aeneid "is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. 
This is a reference to the fairy tale characters Hansel and Gretel who use bread crumbs to find their way home when they are left in the forest by their wicked stepmother. (This annotation contains an image)
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What do we learn about the narrator's family? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
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Which literary device does the highlighted sentence use? 
The narrator gives an example of an epic simile. An epic simile is an extended simile in great detail. 
In Greek mythology, the oracle at Delphi was a priestess who spoke for the god Apollo. The Greeks consulted her about colonization, religion, and power. (This annotation contains an image)
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How does the narrator portray her husband? 
The picture below shows an English home in the Georgian style. (This annotation contains an image)
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The Trust is set up to _______________. 
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The narrator has ______ friends in Suffolk. 
This is a reference to the Biblical story of Job. Job had three friends who tried to console him by telling him that his troubles were judgment from God for his sins. 
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The narrator's marriage ends because 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What can the reader infer about the narrator's relationship with her daughters?  
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist. 
A prefect is a student who is elected by teachers and other students due to his or her character to be a leader of other students in school. Below is a picture of three girls selected to be prefects at a private school. (This annotation contains an image)
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Julia approves of the narrator's divorce because 
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The girls consider Julia a pioneer because  
The narrator gives the reader a description of her friend Julia. View the short video on character and note how the author develops the major characters of the novel. (This annotation contains a video)
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What do you learn about Julia from her conversations with the girls? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
Again, the French expression "en effet" translates to "indeed." It confirms what was just said.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
What does the narrator's entry about Julia's first book accomplish? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
The narrator prefers to play solitaire with real cards rather than the computer because 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What is the difference between being notorious and being famous? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  
A stone is approximately 14 pounds. Use this information to determine Sally's weight. 
A philosophy of teleology sees purpose in ends rather than stated causes, making the outcome the actual or "final" cause.  
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Why were people's loyalties divided when the narrator's marriage ended? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator does not move back to the Midlands because 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
How do the narrator's daughters respond to their parents' divorce? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
"Kirth and kin" is an example of which literary device? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator's description of her daughters suggests that  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator suspects that  
Roberts is a consumer electronics limited company now based in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, England. It has been producing radios for over 80 years. (This annotation contains an image)
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The narrator clutches her bag because  
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This text suggests that the narrator  
The narrator refers to the alstroemeria flower which is symbolic of wealth, prosperity and fortune. It is also the flower of friendship.  (This annotation contains an image)
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In the highlighted text, the narrator means that  
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The narrator's description of Sally is 
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The narrator offers Sally wine as a way to ________ her. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
 Sally's questions about Anais 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
This sentence is an example of a(n) 
Canapés are appetizers consisting of a piece of bread, toast, or cracker topped with a savory spread and often served at parties.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Anthea's daughter 
A samosa is a fried pastry with a savory filling of vegetable or meat. The picture below shows a vegetable samosa.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What racist attitudes does the narrator display? 
Pleurisy, also known as pleuritis, is a condition that results from the swelling of the linings of the lungs and chest.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Her experiences living in London teach the narrator that   
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator's comments about Mrs. Jerrold suggest that  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator decides to take Julia to Mr. Gordano Black's to  
The cameo brooch Julia gives the narrator may have looked like the one shown below. (This annotation contains an image)
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The author uses the conversation between Julia and the narrator to  
In her diary entries the narrator makes observations about herself and her friends. These observations help us to understand how the characters change. View the video and then note how the characters in the novel develop.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
The narrator's appraisal of Andrew in this paragraph depicts him as 
"Cranford" is a novel written by Elizabeth Gaskell, an English 19th century author. 
"Persuasion" is the last novel written by English author, Jane Austen. As you view the movie trailer below, see if you note any similarities between Candida and the protagonist of Austen's novel. (This annotation contains a video)
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The highlighted comment suggests that the narrator 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
The narrator's need for Anais to understand that Julia and Sally are not in the same league indicates that 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
The contrast of Mrs. Jerrold's home to the narrator's depicts  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Mrs. Jerrold's comment emphasizes the theme of  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
A symbol that the relationship between Mrs. Jerrold and the narrator is growing is 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
The incident with the hourglass at the Health Club suggests that  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
This sentence uses a ___________ to describe Mrs. Jerrold.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator buys a crown of lamb because 
Holland Park has a reputation as an affluent and fashionable area, known for attractive large Victorian townhouses, and high-class shopping and restaurants. (This annotation contains a link)
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Mrs. Barclay's conversation with the narrator 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What purpose does the narrator's visit with Mrs. Barclay serve? 
This translates to "from time to time." 
The Evil Eye is a superstition that is held on almost every continent. It is a belief that a person can give another person a look that is so filled with evil and malice that it can cause harm to the other person. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator is going through a period of  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator's use of the word poorly suggests that the girl with the lipoma 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator gets out of the whirpool because 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
The narrator's invitation to have coffee with the young girl with the lipoma 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
The narrator's desire to travel in the footsteps of Aeneas suggests 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Mr. Wentworth's attention to the narrator's tooth reminds her  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator's conversation with her man at the Scrubs suggests that she is  
In today's economy, a British pound is worth approximately $1.7. The exchange rate of British money to American currency changes periodically, but you can gain an idea of how much money Candida receives.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The money the narrator receives __________ her.  
The number three recurs often in the novel. It is a motif. A motif is a recurrent image, idea or a symbol that develops or explains a theme, while a theme is a central idea or message. (This annotation contains a video)
This is a reference to the biblical text Acts 9:1-19. The videoclip shows what happens to Saul on the road to Damascus. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What is the meaning of the highlighted statement? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Mr. Barclay's conversation with the group  
This is the first time we are told the narrator's name. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Candida thinks her husband calls before the trip 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What does Candida discover about herself the day before the trip? 
Her Diary 

Italian Journey

The second chapter is told from the point of view of a third person narrator. After viewing the video on point of view, think about why the author chose to use third person, rather than first person point of view in this chapter. (This annotation contains a video)
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At the airport the group waits for the arrival of 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What changes does Sally Hepburn see in Candida? 
This is an allusion to Shakespeare's play "Hamlet." Ophelia is Polonius's daughter, a beautiful young woman with whom Hamlet has been in love. Ophelia is a sweet and innocent young girl who obeys her father and her brother, Laertes. Dependent on men to tell her how to behave, she gives in to Polonius's schemes to spy on Hamlet. View the videoclip of Ophelia's drowning. Readers of the play "Hamlet" must determine if Ophelia's drowning was suicide or an accident. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Sally's response when she finds pine-nuts in her salad shows  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
The use of "Death" in these sentences is an example of  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Through Valeria's eyes, the narrator is able to give the reader 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Candida suggests what the group should do their first evening in Italy. This is an indication that 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Candida's willingness to learn to play cards, though she was taught that it is wicked, supports the theme of 
A sarcophagus is a box-like funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The videoclip shows two monuments located next to one another in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, Italy. (This annotation contains a video)
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Sally's attitude is  
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The descriptions of the ladies' bedtime activities  
The Seven Sisters is an allusion to the myth of the Pleiades pursued by Orion and made into a constellation. 
Herman Broch wrote "The Death of Virgil," a narrative that led him, like his hero Virgil, to the conclusion that poetry is immoral in an age of decline. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
The narrator uses a ___________ to describe Cynthia's swimming ability. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Cynthia and one of the boy urchins share 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Candida realizes that her conversations with Julia when they were in school 
A conceit is a figure of speech in which two vastly different objects are likened together with the help of similes or metaphors. What is being compared in this conceit? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why do the seven sisters refer to themselves as pilgrims rather than tourists? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The text suggests that  
Escalope is a thin slice of boneless meat, usually veal, pork or turkey, that is often beaten even thinner for the purposes of quick cooking. It can also be used to refer to thick slices of fish with a strip of skin on one side. (This annotation contains an image)
Paul Klee was a Swiss German painter whose highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. 
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How does this allusion compare to Candida's life? 
This is a reference to Procrustes, a mythical Greek giant who stretched or shortened captives to make them fit his beds. 
Arco Felice means "Happy Arch!" Below is a picture of the arch. (This annotation contains an image)
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Mrs. Jerrold's insistence that they find the standing stone with the Virgilian inscription is a reminder  
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The narrator's description of Mrs. Jerrold suggests that  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The story Anais tells reminds the ladies of  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Candida hesitates to call the number her husbands leaves with the tour agency because 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6
How does this reference to the constellation Pleades compare to the "sisters" situation? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Ellen's response to Candida's call is  
Sibyls were oracular women believed to possess prophetic powers in ancient Greece.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
At the Sybil's cave Candida is able to accept the inevitability of  
Italian Journey 

Ellen’s Version

Part Three is told from Candida's daughter's point of view.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
Discuss the irony of Ellen's train stopping at Seven Sisters station. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
The narrator uses italicized phrases throughout the novel.  What purpose do they serve? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Ellen works as a  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
The fact that Candida knows little about Ellen's work at a well-respected clinic shows  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
In this sentence, "escap[ing] from the prison of her own voice" means that  
Faux-naif means marked by a false show of innocent simplicity. Does Candida use a tone of faux-naif? 
These are the names - along with Candida - of the seven sisters, the women who are Candida's friends.  
Ellen discovers that her mother never went to Cumae or sought the advice of the Sybil. What insight does this provide about Candida? 

A Dying Fall

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
The narrator of Part Four is 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Assuming the persona of Ellen allows Candida to  
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Candida realizes that her revulsion towards Andrew results from 
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After writing as pseudo-Ellen, Candida is now able to  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
After finding Ellen's article on "The Serpent and Zarathrusta", Candida realizes that  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Candida considers Ellen's wedding 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Jan Gunarsson offers  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Stuart Courage has a   _______ problem. 
"Peer Gynt" is a five-act play in verse written by Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
What does Candida achieve by referring to herself in the third person? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Candida discovers that Jenny Argent 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What happens when Candida tries to remove an abandoned Christmas tree from under a motorway bridge? 
Ellen's Version & A Dying Fall