The Dead and The Gone

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Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event—an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.
     With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

Curriculet Details
105 Questions
120 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for middle school students contains interactive videos exploring point of view and theme, as well as annotations describing situational irony, and figurative language. Students will explore the themes of survival and family. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1

The author is hooking the reader in with this opening line. The reader knows that something big is going to happen to Alex and now they need to read to find out what it is.  
Based on the information that you have received so far, where can you infer this story taking place?  
Georgetown University, located in Washington D.C., is the oldest Catholic university in the United States. It is highly competitive with an acceptance rate of only 17%.  (This annotation contains an image)
In September 2013, scientists recorded the "largest" and "brightest" impact by a meteor on the moon.  (This annotation contains a video)
In this first entry, you have been introduced to Alex and his family. Write 3-5 sentences to summarize what you have learned.  
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
A bodega is a small grocery store, especially in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood. It might look something like this.  (This annotation contains an image)
Based on the meaning of perishable, which of the following items would be considered perishable? 
What problems do you think would occur if the tides were higher? 
Carlos tells Alex that he has electricity in California. Therefore, we know that some parts of the United States are not as badly affected.  
From what you know about Alex, you can infer he is approximately __________ years old.  
Based on the information from the website in the previous annotation, what problems can you expect Alex and his family to encounter in upcoming chapters? Use evidence from the website to support your ideas.  
Use the information from this website to answer the following question.  (This annotation contains a link)

Chapter 2

Choose the logical inference a reader can make based upon this sentence.  
Were these the issues that you predicted at the end of chapter one? Is it realistic that these would result from the change in the moon's orbit?  
Based on what you know about Aunt Lorraine, what is the English equivalent of a dramatica? 
This sentence is similar to the commonly used phrase, Knowledge is Power. Alex feels empowered and less fearful by focusing on what he knows.  (This annotation contains an image)
Have you already figured out that Alex was of Puerto Rican decent? What clues did the author give you that hinted at Alex's ethnicity? 
Based upon his aspirations, Alex can be described as ______________. 
Based upon the meaning of draconian, which of the following punishments would be considered draconian? 
By this point in the book, it is obvious to see that religion and faith are very important to Alex. Do you think this will change as he deals with rough times? 
Most likely, Julie's comment was made in a ______________ tone.  
Do you think Alex is justified for going through his parents' belongings? 
This phrase is a reference to the title of the book, The Dead and The Gone.  
Of all three characters, Bri is the one openly displaying fear of the situation.  
Based on what you have read, which of the following sentences best summarizes the relationship between Alex, Bri, and Julie?  
Remember that Mami had to take the subway to work Wednesday night. Even though she has not been identified as dead, there is still a chance she never made it to work.  
What does it mean when Alex could not "trust himself to speak?"  
Why does Joey claim a full moon would be a problem?  
In order to answer a question at the end of the chapter, watch this video on point of view.  (This annotation contains a video)
In order to answer the following question, use this website to help you understand the meaning of "supply and demand."  (This annotation contains a link)
Based on supply and demand, which of the following sentences is accurate? 
Here is an example to support Alex's claim that Aunt Lorraine is a dramatica, or drama-queen.  
Based on what you have learned, what do you think has happened to Mami? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.  
Which of the following accurately identifies this story's point of view? 
Even though Milagro del Mar is a fictional place, San Juan, Puerto Rico actually exists. Therefore, you can locate San Juan on this map to have an idea where Papi was near in Puerto Rico.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 3

Usually authors use dates in a novel when the structure of the text is journal or diary entries. However, this text is not Alex's journal, but the author still records dates. Why do you think that is? 
What does Alex refer to as illicit buzz? 
Do you agree with Alex that the rich kids are better off? How would having money be helpful? 
Father Mulrooney is referring to the fact that in the Roman forum, the people were given the opportunity to make their voices heard.  
Alex whispering Thy will be done is his way of  
This is the day Alex goes to Yankee Stadium to look for his mother's body. The author has created a strong tone of tension, which has created a suspenseful mood for the reader. Do you feel nervous for Alex? 
Why would it be safer to go somewhere that is more inland? 
Remember earlier in the book, Alex claimed "Knowledge was the enemy of fear." Here is another example of how Alex uses knowledge to help him stay calm.  
Explain how silence and rules were a protection against grief. Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.  
This is an example of situational irony, or when the opposite of what is expected occurs. In the past, the arrival at Yankee Stadium was filled with excitement and fun. However, the arrival today is filled with fear and dread. That is not how you are expected to feel when arriving at Yankee Stadium.  
You are about to experience the journey through Yankee Stadium with Alex. You will notice that the author reveals what Alex hears, sees, smells, and tastes. This next section is graphic and may be difficult for some readers.  
How did you feel experiencing Alex's journey through Yankee Stadium? How did the author make you feel that way? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.  

Chapter 4

Have you ever blamed weird, strange, or unusual behavior on the full moon? Read this article to see if that is really the case.  (This annotation contains a link)
Based on the previous article that you read, is Alex's hypothesis about the moon correct? 
Even though Alex is dealing with a lot, he is still worried about Father Franco. What does that tell you about his character? 
Why does Alex slap Julie in the face? 
It has been ten days since this whole ordeal began. Would you have lost hope that your parents were alive by this point? 
What does Chris mean when he tells Alex You bring out the best in me? 
Remember Alex mentioned that the rich will be better off. Here is an example of how money can help.  
Why do you think the conversation with Chris caused Alex to lose control and sob? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.  

Chapter 5

Bruja is the Spanish word for witch. Why did this woman make Alex so angry? 
What does Julie's response reveal to the reader? 
Alex is admitting that he does not want to take care of his sisters. Does this make him a bad person? 
Of the three characters, ____________ is the most devoted to the faith.  
This is the first time Alex deliberately goes against a rule. Do you think this situation is changing him for the bad? 
Why hasn't Alex made it known that both of his parents are missing?  
This is a huge decision that Alex has to make by himself. Do you think his parents would want him to send Bri to the convent? 
What does Alex's prayer reveal? 
"Who died and made you boss?" is an idiom, or commonly used phrase that is not meant to be taken literally. However, in this case, there is a good chance that it can be interpreted literally.  
This is the painting Starry Night by van Gogh. Do you think Alex made the right decision sending it with Bri?  (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you know about Bri, how will she feel when Alex reveals that she is being sent away to the convent? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas. 
Use the "cheat sheet" on this website in order to review figurative language and answer the following question.  
This is an example of which literary device? 
How close were you in predicting Bri's reaction to the news of being sent away? Would you have reacted differently? 
Alex realized that Bri would be one of the gone if he did not see her get in the van. What are the gone? 
In this difficult time, Bri is showing that she has the faith and courage to become a nun.  
The loss of Bri in the household forces Julie to be more responsible. Maybe this will also help improve the relationship between Alex and Julie.  

Chapter 6

Which of the following is most likely the English translation of si Dios quiere? 
Do you think Alex will send Julie away? If not, what reasons does he have to keep her around? 
Uncle Jimmy claims that Alex is not so tough, but he is strong. Use evidence from the text to support or refute Uncle Jimmy's claim.  
Do you think Alex's parents would agree with his decision? What decision would you have made? 
The fact that Julie did not know Uncle Jimmy left reveals that  
Alex promised Bri he would not leave the apartment, but is that the right decision? Think about the pros and cons for staying in New York city.  
Why would Alex describe the smell of rotten produce as glorious? 
Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that basically means, if I do something for you, then you also need to do something for me. 
Why does Alex picture himself climbing the Alps on a breakfast of puffed rice? 
West Nile virus is transmitted via mosquitoes. It can result in headaches, rash, fatigue, and in some cases can be fatal. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following words is the best antonym (word with opposite meaning) of implausible? 
Can you imagine having to climb eleven or sixteen flights of stairs everyday on an almost empty stomach? Now it makes sense why Alex compared this to climbing the Alps.  
Which of the following idioms (commonly used phrases that were not meant to be taken literally) relates to this sentence? 
Chapters 1-6 
Here is an example of personification. The author gives the human quality of staring to the nonhuman phone.  

Chapter 7

In order to answer upcoming questions, watch this video on conflict.  (This annotation contains a video)
Go to this map of New York city to help you understand where Alex and Julie are. (This annotation has embedded rich content)
What type of external conflict did Alex and Julie just experience? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas. 
Are you surprised that Father Mulrooney stops Alex from eating lunch? 
This phrase means "Damned Nun" or "Stupid Nun." Would the pre-disaster Alex have ever uttered those words? What does this tell you about Alex? 
What internal conflict is Alex experiencing (hint: rules)? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas. 
Why is this a significant comment made by Alex? 
Remember Kevin Daley is the boy that Chris Flynn asked to look after Alex.  
What logical question should the reader be asking about Kevin Delaney? 
Gin-rummy is a card game that supposedly originated in New York back in 1910. Use this link if you would like to learn how to play the card game.  (This annotation contains a link)

Chapter 8

This was a short entry where very little happened. Why do you think the author included this short entry? 
What is the purpose of this entry? 
How should the reader interpret the tone of Kevin's comments? 
Not only did the previous entry emphasize the importance of the sun, but it was foreshadowing the fact that they were going to lose sunlight.  
Based on the information from the previous website, should Alex lose sleep over volcanoes? Use evidence from the website to support your ideas. 
Use this website to answer the following question. (This annotation contains a link)
Bri's comment represents which type of conflict? 
This comment is an example of hyperbole, or extreme exaggeration. Julie knows that Alex would not actually kill her for talking, but he would get angry.  

Chapter 9

This paragraph represents two very different viewpoints of the world. Survival of the fittest is a scientific viewpoint and the meek will inherit the earth is a religious viewpoint. Which do you think Julie was going to agree with? 
The character of Kevin Delaney adds ____________ to the situation.  
Remember Alex admitted that he is living without any parents. Do you think Father Mulrooney is planning on turning Alex into the authorities? 
Alex "body shopping" with Kevin is an example of survival of the fittest. Alex is willing to do whatever it takes for survival, even if it is a sin. 
Are Kevin and Alex's actions justified (acceptable)? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas. 
Dinty Moore is a brand name of canned meals. Beef stew is the most well-known of Dinty Moore meals.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is Kevin insinuating (hinting at) when he makes this comment? 
Altoona is a place in Pennsylvania. There is also a Lake Altoona.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does the idiom brings home the bacon mean? 

Chapter 10

Do you believe that Julie has gone through all of this without crying? Or has she kept her feelings hidden from her brother? 
Which of the following idioms can be applied to Julie's breakdown over the string beans? 
What is the tone, or attitude, set by the author in this paragraph? 
Sister Rita is referencing the story of Joseph and the Seven-Year Famine from the Bible to warn Alex to prepare for the worst. This reference is an example of allusion. Allusion is when an author refers to another piece of work (text, song, art, pop culture) in order to make a point.  
At this point, do you agree with Alex? Did he make the wrong decision by not sending Julie with Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Lorraine? 
Do you believe that Alex is damned anyway? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.  
This is an example of a ________________.  
Here is a reoccurring internal conflict that we see with Alex. He is regretting his decision of not sending Julie with Unlce Jimmy. What will have to happen for him to resolve this conflict? 
How could this conversation affect Alex? 
What is the significance of Alex throwing his missal, or prayer book, against the wall? (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 11

Here is an example where Alex's __________ caused him to make a bad decision. 
This is an ironic situation. Alex sent Bri away so that she would be safe and have food. However, it turned out that Julie and Alex were better off than she was.  
Julie learned how Alex has been getting them food. Her reaction reveals that she 
In times of tragedy, someone's faith is often put to the test and it is either strengthened or destroyed. Do you see Alex's faith strengthening or breaking down? 
In order to answer the following question, read this poem, Questions With No Answers.  (This annotation contains a link)
What message can Alex take from the previous poem? Use evidence from the poem and the text to support your ideas.  
When referring to God with a pronoun, such as he, you should capitalize it. You will notice he and his is frequently capitalized on this page.  
Why did the author capitalize the word Your? 
This is an example of dramatic irony. Dramatic irony occurs when the reader knows something that the character does not. In this case, the reader knows that Bri and Alex are planning a surprise party for Julie, but she is completely unaware.  
The idea that death intruded on Julie's birthday is an example of _________________.  
This comment by Alex is an example of ______________. 
This book was written in 2008, so the reference to a CD player may seem old to you, but it was normal for the time period of the book.  
Julie asking Alex for permission to wear the lipstick and Alex asking her for a dance are significant events. These are roles that a father usually takes, but Alex is standing in his place. 
Even though this party was for Julie, you could argue that everyone needed it. Explain why this party was good for all of them. Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.  

Chapter 12

Alex's response to his friend reveals that he is on edge and expecting the worse.  
What does this sentence reveal about Alex?  
Alex must be doing something right because both of his sisters have made this comment or something similar. 
Why does Alex need forgiveness from God and Papi for hammering nails over the window? Explain using evidence from the text to support your ideas.  
This sentence is an example of ________________. 
Do you sympathize with Alex and his struggles? He is sticking around and doing the right thing, even though it is difficult. What does that tell you about his character? 
St. Augustine and St. Monica are often prayed to when patience is needed.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why doesn't Julie want to attend Vincent de Paul? 
This is the basis for having all-girls or all-boys schools. The belief is that students can focus more when not distracted by the opposite sex.  
Which of the following quotations has the same message as the sentence? 
Does Julie have a point? Is she doing more than her fair share of the work? 
Chapters 7-12 

Chapter 13

Alex and his sisters have won ten thousand dollars on a lottery ticket. Write a prediction about what will happen next. Use evidence from the text to support your ideas. 
Do you think Julie would actually go off on her own? If you were her, would you leave Alex and Bri to get out of New York? 
The thought of abandoning his sisters is an example of man vs. _____________ conflict.  
The story began on May 8, which means it has been over six months since Alex has been taking care of his sisters. Do you think he has done a good job? 
Was your prediction correct? Did you suspect that the lottery ticket would be worthless? 
What does this phrase mean? 
Keep this reference, or allusion, in mind. You will answer a question about this shortly.  
Use the information from the video to explain how the story of David and Goliath relates to Alex's experience. Be sure to be specific and use evidence from both sources to support your ideas.  
Before saving Julie, Alex made a reference to the Bible story of David and Goliath. Watch this video to learn about this story.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 14

Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have two different meanings. Desert and dessert are examples of homophones. Which of the following sentences correctly uses the word dessert? 
Do you think Alex realizes how differently he treats his two sisters? How do you think he would have reacted if Julie wore out the batteries in the radio? 
According to Kevin's logic, who does Alex really love? 
This reveals that some part of Alex was still holding out hope that Papi was alive and would return to them. Do you think that is possible? 
If Alex told Julie about this offer, do you think she would sacrifice herself to save her siblings? Do you think Alex made the right decision? 
What do you think Alex has decided to do? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas. 
Did you predict that Alex would go see Chris Flynn's father?  
Even though the overall tone of this text is gloomy, sentences like this add some _________________.  
This sentence is an example of ___________________.  
As you can see, Cleopatra's Needle is quite large and would be difficult to transport. It is 70-feet tall, 220 lbs., and has been in NYC since 1881.  (This annotation contains an image)
Alex decides not to tell his sisters that they are leaving New York in eighteen days. Make a list of 3 PROS (reasons for) and 3 CONS (reasons against) for keeping this secret.  
How did Alex feel? 
With the tickets for the convoy, Thanksgiving dinner, and a game of football, things are starting to look up for Alex and his family. Do you think this will last? 

Chapter 15

There are four chapters left of the book and the themes of the text should become evident. Watch this video on theme in order to help you identify the themes of this text.  (This annotation contains a video)
Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Doctors recommend that your house should be kept at 68 degrees for a comfortable environment. 
Kevin's mom is complaining about living in a place that is over 30 degrees warmer than where Alex and his sisters are living!  
What is ironic about this situation? 
Alex is referring to the myth that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they are frightened.  
Which of the following idioms can be used to describe the fact that it is now snowing? 
Why does the author repeat the phrase There had to be? 
Shoveling a snow and ice mix is always a difficult task. Imagine having to do it when you have not eaten in over twenty hours!  
Explain the meaning of this sentence.  
A mile and half is equivalent to shoveling the length of over 25 football fields! 

Chapter 16

This sentence is an example of ______________.  
Fluicide: combination of flu and suicide. This is an example of a portmanteau, which is when you blend two words together to make a new one. Another example is brunch: breakfast + lunch = brunch 
The author uses a(n) _______________ in this sentence to express Alex's grief of losing his friend.  
Did you notice that Alex did not tell Harvey of Kevin's death? Why do you think that is?  
Explain why Mr. Flynn gave the passes to Alex as an act of respect. Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.  
This is the first time Alex praises himself. He is usually putting himself down for making the wrong decision or wanting to run.  
This is not technically the truth. Remember Julie was attacked by a man who tried to drag her into Central Park. Alex and Julie never told this to Bri.  
What is the tone when Alex calls Bri idiota, or idiot? 

Chapter 17

Alex recognizes that Julie is trying, even if her efforts are not much help.  
You most likely know what smart means as a noun, but in this case, it is used as a verb. Based on the situation, you can infer smarted means 
This diagram demonstrates how to complete a firefighter-style carry.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is the cop assuming about Alex and his sisters?  
Do you think the girls will go on the convoy without Alex? 
Even though Alex and Julie fight, this situation demonstrates  
This is a turning point for Alex when he realizes that his sisters have helped him just as much as he has helped them.  
Wow! Alex is considering a way to kill his sisters in order to save them from suffering. Do you think he could ever actually do this? 
Of the three siblings, Julie is the most __________________.  
What is this sentence referring to? 
Alex and his sisters have ten days left until the next convoy. They no longer can get food from the food line or Harvey. Do you think they will survive? 

Chapter 18

During these entries the author stopped including dialogue tags like said Julie or Bri yelled. The only dialogue tags are when Alex speaks. Why does the author stop including dialogue tags for the girls?  
Alex is experiencing delirium due to a fever. He is hallucinating and experiencing things that are not real.  
Alex is referring to the idea in Christianity that if you kill yourself, your soul cannot go to heaven. 
Alex's insecurities fueled his hallucinations. Explain one of the insecurities that came out during the delirium. Use evidence from the text to support your ideas. 
Why does Bri exclaim Santa Madre de Dios, or Holy Mother of God? 
This is Alex's eighteenth birthday. Ironically, today is the first day of adulthood for Alex, even though he has been the acting adult for over seven months now.  
Look back at this conversation between Julie and Alex. What do you notice about Julie? 
This is the second time that Julie avoids answering Alex's question about Bri. What do you think that means? 
Previously, Alex called Bri an idiot but in a loving tone. This time, he calls Julie an idiot, but it is an angry, mean tone.  
Is it fair for Alex to blame Julie for "letting" Bri leave? Explain using evidence from the text to support your ideas.  
Based on the meaning of allocate, which of the following sentences uses the word correctly? 
Alex is assuming God will listen because it is for Bri, who has shown nothing but dedication to her religion.  
Why is the snow charcoal gray? 
The roles have switched and now Julie is the one taking charge, figuring out solutions, and helping her older brother. 
What does this sentence reveal about Julie and Alex? 
How do you think Alex would have felt if Julie actually left? Would he survive without her? 

Chapter 19

Why isn't Alex going on the convoy with Julie? 
In Christianity, dying in a state of grace means dying with the acceptance that Jesus is your savior and you are putting your immortal soul in God's hands.  
Bri's faith is so strong that she considers getting sick and being sent home an answer to her prayers.  
Explain what Alex means when he says Her delusion had led to her death. Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.  
This phrase is Latin for The Lord be With You.  
What does this sentence reveal about Alex? 
Which two types of figurative language are represented in this sentence?  
Do you recognize this line from earlier in the text? Father Mulrooney is using Alex's words from a previous conversation.  
Chapters 13-19 
Explain the significance of these last few lines of the text. Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.