The Survivors

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Two years ago, the ash started falling like gray snow. The volcanoes had erupted. . . .

For Miles and his sister, Sarah, the real disaster started in the violent aftermath—when they were forced to leave their cushy suburban home and flee to the north woods for safety. Miles got them to a cabin, but now winter is setting in. All they have to get them through is the milk from Sarah’s prized possession—her goat—and Miles’s memory of wilderness survival skills.

When Sarah tries to regain some normalcy by attending the local school, she realizes she is no longer quite the person she used to be. Now she is Goat Girl, a Traveler, and it’s hard to pretend she isn’t. And when a horrific twist of fate robs Miles of his memory, he discovers the heart of his true identity. They knew the volcanoes would change the world. Now, in order to survive, they must change with it.

Will Weaver delivers an extraordinary sequel to Memory Boy, showing that several basic instincts lie deep inside us all: love, fear, and survival.

Curriculet Details
47 Questions
51 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 9-10 grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining advanced techniques, idioms and connections with other media. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about parallels to popular films and literary terms. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of survival, unity, and perseverance. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter One

This novel is a sequel to another titled Memory Boy. Watch the following brief clip for a summary of Memory Boy's exposition. Unfortunately, the clip does not summarize the prequel's climax or resolution, which you may want to research on your own. (This annotation contains a video)
Click on this link and read the review of the book Memory Boy, which is a prequel to this text. Understanding the plot of the prequel will help you to better understand what goes on in this text. (This annotation contains a link)
Though this video is about a different volcanic system, it is a good illustration of the conditions these characters live within. (This annotation contains a video)
Summarize the opposing positions that Miles and Sarah hold regarding their new life. Refer specifically to the text to support your answer. 
A rhetorical question is a question posed to advance or further an argument, yet the speaker does not expect an answer from his or her audience. In this case, however, Miles exploits Sarah's use of the technique to further agitate her. You can watch the following clip for humorous examples of rhetorical questions from a national advertising campaign. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on character action and leadership, which of the characters is acting as the current head of the family? 
Consider how Sarah uses the river as a barrier between herself and the world she wishes to avoid. Water is a convenient symbol that suggests how Sarah wishes she could "wash away" the world she now knows: dust, ash, dirt. However, just as she must ultimately face the issues of her reality following the eruptions, she cannot physically spend much time underwater and must ultimately surface. This scene iillustrates her external and internal conflicts. 
Taken in close juxtaposition to the anecdote of the squatters and the expression "it's a dog-eat-dog world nowdays," the sighting of this dog can be taken as 

Chapter Two

Notice that the point of view has changed. Consider how the author will adjust tone and style to give Miles a different "voice" than Sarah. If an author is to use different character POV within his or her work, one of the biggest challenges is to make those POVs distinct enough to warrant their usage. 
Which of the following idomatic expressions best parallels this passage? 

Chapter Three

Consider the variety of conflicts Sarah and Miles are facing: survival in the midst of a threatening environment, the potential loss of sane, level-headed parents, the longing for normalcy, the security of safe housing, etc. Though the author addresses these ideas sparingly through character dialogue, consider what other conflicts you can identify. 
Sarah's defense of the travelers' theft best reflects which of the following idioms? 
Do you find this part believable? In the event of a cataclysmic natural disaster, what parts of our culture would continue on and what parts would become events of the past? 
Which of the following expressions is a literal translation of the high-lighted section? 
Clearly, this is the explanation for the title of this novel's prequel. 
The author creates a sense of surprise in this passage primarily by 

Chapter Four

Grouse are common game birds within the same family as chickens. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Five

Watch the following film clip in preparation for the question below. (This annotation contains a video)
Compare the representation of Sarah's experience with the cafeteria and with meeting Mackenzie and her group with the scenes from Mean Girls. What parallels can you identify? 

Chapter Six

Consider whether there is anything to suspect about this bundle. Is it normal to completely wrap a baby? 
Which of the following excerpts from this page contradicts Miles's development into the family guardian? 
This idiom means "to speak deceitfully" or, in more contemporary contexts, "just joking around." Its meaning developed from a purported medical cure with tobacco smoke that did not actually work. 
Given the context of this statement, which of the following best characterizes Miles's tone? 

Chapter Seven

Consider what Sarah means by this allusion. What about her school experience parallels Wonka's factory? You can watch the trailer for the original film below to get a sense of its content if you have not seen it. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following ideas best reflects the message(s) developed through the scene with Emily and Sarah? 
Often an author will establish a point through which dynamic characters - characters who change, develop, or grow throughout the course of a novel - can use later in the novel as a growth opportunity. Consider whether Sarah's staunch refusal to shoot a gun will become relevant again later in the novel. Watch the clip below to learn about dynamic characters.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Eight

Miles's and Artie's disagreement is based on issues of 
While this may seem like an unconvincing, desperate measure, sawdust has a history of being an effective insulator. 

Chapter Nine

Which of the following motives is the pivotal consideration in Sarah's decision to accept Mackenzie's invitation? 
What motivation do you think Sarah has for pretending that she cannot play tennis? 
Based on their questions, the Phelpses seem principally concerned with 
Ray fulfills the archetype - or the prototypical model for a character type - for the school rebel: one who acts out toward an institution for the sake of acting out itself and not necessarily for the protest's result. 
Mackenzie's criticism of Ray shows that, even in spite of the cataclysmic events that have changed the characters' lives, which of the following is still an important aspect of teenagers' social lives? 
Because the reader is aware of Sarah's home-life and Mackenzie is not, this is an example of the literary term 'dramatic irony.' You can learn more about this device in the video below. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Ten

Based on his preference for the AEC, the reader can conclude that Miles values 
This figurative expression refers to the close-in frame of newscasters' profiles. This image is an illustration of two 'talking heads.'  (This annotation contains an image)
Miles considers the librarian his new hero because 
Consider what you have read in the novel thus far and determine if you find Miles's precaution/paranoia justified. 
Though it's difficult to ascertain exactly why, the people within this novel seem to speak in code when asking for gas (think back to the travelers driving the minivan in the earlier part of the novel as well). 
Chapter One - Ten Quiz 
What effect does the author showing Miles's and Nat's errands have on the reader? What is the reader supposed to glean from these scenes? 

Chapter Eleven

How is the dog portrayed in the scene where it is rummaging through the barrel? 
Science is demonstrating that dogs growl in different contexts for different meaning(s). Watch the Discovery video below that documents this phenomena and consider how the author is "characterizing" the dog through its description. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Twelve

Here Miles struggles between his need for food and his 
Discovering the rice is a mild example of a plot device called "deus ex machina," which is a Latin term meaning "god from the machine," where a conflict is suddenly or abruptly resolved by the intervention of a new event, character, ability, or object. For a more dramatic example, watch the following clip from the film Jurassic Park. The T-Rex's sudden introduction into the scene, thereby saving the characters, is what makes this an example of deus ex machina. Please note that the clip depicts some natural violence and suspense. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Thirteen

This sentiment is similar to an emotion called "nostalgia," which is the longing for a past period or event with which one has a positive association. 
Why does Sarah lie to Mackenzie? 
Consider whether Bill's motive is a general distaste for Travelers or if it is specifically based on Sarah's superior tennis talent. 
This passage creates a/an _____________ tone. 

Chapter Fourteen

This somewhat atypical use of "score" means "to gain," which is derived from an Old English word for "tally," such as a tally mark. If one were to "score cattle," it meant that one has gained cattle. Here, Miles has gained a pumpkin! 
Art equates change to 
The dogs fear of the motion, but not the noise, implies what about the dog's hearing? 
Which of the following is NOT a hunting technique Miles uses? 

Chapter Fifteen

The United States leads the world in gun ownership per capita; there are 97 guns per 100 people, almost 70% more than the second leading country. 
This line contains an example of which of the following devices? 

Chapter Sixteen

Blaze orange is a specific hue that is used in various safety operations. Hunters should wear some article of blaze orange to ensure that other hunters don't mistake them for animals. Interestingly, research has shown that deer cannot detect this hue, and it therefore does not limit the hunters' ability to camouflage. (This annotation contains an image)
How has Sarah changed? 
"To dress" means "to field-dress," which is the process of choosing and separating the needed parts of the deer from the unusable parts. 
What themes about nature are developed in this chapter? Support your answer with evidence from the text.  

Chapter Seventeen

Consider whether this uncharacteristic lapse in Miles's concern for safety is a meaningful change on the part of his character or an inconsistency with his other depictions. 
Based on this passage, we can infer that 

Chapter Eighteen

Though it may go against common sense, aggressive tires with deep voids are actually inadequate for snowy conditions. The gaps in the treads scoop the snow out and dig the vehicle to the bottom, which will render the vehicle stuck if the snow is deep enough to prevent reaching the bottom hard surface. A wide, flat tires is more adequately suited for this kind of travel, as it supports the weight of the vehicle on the top of the snow, similar to a snow-shoe. 
Why does Miles "give the black Polaris a calculatedly causal look" and "pretend that nothing really interests him"? 
Below is a picture of the actual model of the snowmobile Miles purchases. Interestingly, in real life, this model is wrought with engine problems and frequently experiences catastrophic failure. Consider whether the author will work that true-life detail into the novel. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Nineteen

Consider whether your own experience confirms this stereotype true or if it is, in fact, just a stereotype. 
What important lesson does Sarah learn from her Mom? 

Chapter Twenty

Lassie was a popular novel, movie, and television series throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Though popular, it was frequently parodied by other productions for its "dog saves the day" motif. You can watch an excerpt of the show's introduction below. (This annotation contains a video)
Quiz Eleven - Twenty 
The word choice and figurative language in this chapter creates a sense of ___________. 

Chapter Twenty-Two

This sentence contains which of the following devices? 
Scientists have determined that the sense of smell (olfactory sense) is most powerful in triggering memories. 

Chapter Twenty-Three

When Sarah says this line, she is illustrating which of the book's themes? 
Authors have two techniques from which they can choose when writing fiction: showing or telling. Showing is presenting the narrative as if the reader was there in person - it's dialogue, imagery, character action, etc. Telling is the type of writing in which the author summarizes, controls time, or gives insight into emotion and thought a first person witness would be unable to see. Here the author uses telling to manipulate time by fast forwarding through information the reader has already seen but Nat has not. Pay attention to these kinds of structural choices and see if you can infer their significance. 
Sarah and Ray have just kissed, unexpectedly, for the first time, but the author does not show Ray's reaction past one word of dialogue ("Whoa!"), noticeably without any response from Sarah. What effect is created from the author's use of telling to fast forward past this key scene? 
Consider how Miles's injury will complicate his family's situation at the river. 

Chapter Twenty-Four

What is Miles's chief concern? 
How might this line foreshadowing future plot development? 

Chapter Twenty-Five

Which of the following is NOT something the reader learns through Sarah's and Ray's conversation? 
Pike are carnivorous fish native to the novel's setting; they can be up to five feet long and weigh 60 pounds. There is a picture of a pike below. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Twenty-Six

How has Miles's personality changed since his injury? Compare his disposition before and after the accident. 
Consider how this passage may serve as foreshadowing. 
What is the overall tone of the medical examination scene? 
Notice how the author uses an objective, direct description to startle the reader. Also, consider what complications this may pose to the family dynamic. Did the family's forgetfulness in feeding Brush lead to Emily's death? 
Which of the following words best describes Sarah's choice to shoot Brush? 

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Though the juxtaposition of Emily's "burial" with this deer's appearance is likely unintentional, in some cultures deer are associated with the ability to overcome life's obstacles. This raises an interesting question about an author's intent (whether writers mean to develop this kind of symbolism). While writers may not intend to create these effects, just as someone may not intend to hit a deer while driving home, sometimes things happen regardless of our intentions, but this does not make them any less real or meaningful. 
What does killing the deer signify for Sarah's character development? How does it change her position with both Miles and Ray separately? 
These hunters represent basic, flat characters - characters that have very limited traits and are usually meant to serve as plot devices rather than represent actual people. In this scene, the hunters are presented as stereotypical chauvinistic, primitive men to serve as an external conflict to Sarah's family. 
What does this line imply? 

Chapter Twenty-Eight

In the first book of the series, squatters insisted that the cabin at Birch Bay was theirs, and Miles's family was forced to leave. The incident with the hunters claiming ownership of Sarah's deer probably sparked within Art resentment of the squatters and has motivated him to take back what is theirs. 
Which of the following devices gives this sentence its rhetorical power? 

Chapter Thirty

What allows Miles's family to return to Birch Bay? Cite two specific reasons from the text. 
This idiom allegedly developed through law enforcement officers who rode in the front passenger seat of police vehicles - the seat next to the stored shotgun. 
Which of the following is NOT a reason the squatters felt entitled to the cabin? 
Below is a photo of a cabin on Birch Bay, perhaps quite similar to the setting Miles's family is headed to now. (This annotation contains an image)
When Sarah says, "Because we're not you," which of the book's themes is being developed? 

Chapter Thirty-One

Consider whether the author wants the reader to feel sympathetic with Danny and Sheila for giving Sarah's family the shotgun and Emily. Is this supposed to be their redeeming quality? 
Referring to an entire vehicle by calling it "wheels" is an advanced device called synecdoche. Synecdoche is when a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing. Another example is if a farmer were to say she had 100 head of cattle on her farm. Of course, we understand "head" to mean the whole cow, for if we were to take this literally, 100 decapitated heads would be horrifying. 
Which of the following devices is employed in this sentence? 
Consider how the volcanoes might have helped Sarah's family learn to value immaterial things over possessions. 
What was damaged inside the house? Quote the text to support your answer. 
Quiz Twenty One - Thirty One