We will dance on the cliffs of Brooklyn. Maggie's Dooris the story of the journey from Ireland to America told by both Nory and her neighbor and friend Sean Red Mallon, two different stories with the same destinationthe home of Nory's sister Maggie, at 416 Smith Street, Brooklyn, America. Patricia Reilly Giff calls upon her long research into Irish history and her great powers as a storyteller in this deeply involving, riveting stand-alone companion novel toNory Ryan's Song.
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The Irish Potato Famine (also known as the Great Potato Famine) occurred in Ireland between the years 1845 and 1849. The potato crops were destroyed each year by late blight, a disease that kills the leaves and edible roots of the potatoes. During the famine, around one million people died and one million people left Ireland.
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?
Brack is the shortened name for barmbrack, an Irish tea bread filled with raisins and other fruits. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Nory feel when she sees the bird drop the biscuit into the sea?
If Granda is Nory's grandfather, who is Da?
Brooklyn is one of the five boroughs that make up New York City. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Anna mean when she says, "I belong here"? If she is staying, why is she making Nory leave?
Dulse is a red seaweed that grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. (This annotation contains an image)
Sean is starving, his hands are bruised and bleeding, and he is still pulling the cart to the port. He is an example of which of these themes?
These figures are part of the Famine Memorial in Dublin, Ireland. They are walking to the ships to try to leave Ireland. Use this picture for the next question. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the Famine Memorial connect with this story?
Smallpox is a highly contagious disease that starts with a rash. The rash becomes large bumps that cause pits in the skin when they heal. Smallpox spread throughout Ireland in the late 1830s.
What does it mean that the man "laughed without humor"?
Lard is fat from a pig. It is used in cooking instead of butter or oil. It does not taste like pork, and many people still cook with it today.
In the late 1700s and 1800s, Great Britain sent over 165,000 prisoners to Australia. They did this because they didn't have enough space in their own prisons. The illustration below shows a group of prisoners arriving in Australia. (This annotation contains an image)
Sean can't remember the prayer because he is feeling
The woman's leg turned black because her wound became infected. It was a problem that was more common before there were antibiotics and the other medicines we have now.
The girl most likely knows that Nory had more food in the bag. Why do you think she lets Nory keep it, when she is clearly starving?
What does Sean's Mam mean when she says "It's what I have"?
Use the dictionary feature to read the definition of the word quay. Which of the words below is a synonym (a word that has a similar meaning) for quay?
Pounds are the unit of money in Great Britain. In Sean's time, two pounds would have been equal to around $7,000 for us today.
Using evidence from the text, what is a boreen?
Because the pigs died at sea and were thrown into the ocean, the men were needed deep down in the ship to take the place of the pigs.
Journeys are common themes in stories. Sean and Nory are both on journeys in this story. Think about other stories you have read that have characters going on journeys or quests. How are Sean and Nory's journeys similar or different to the other story journeys you know of?
How do you think Nory feels when Mrs. Mallon leaves her and Patch?
Liverpool is a city in northern England. It was established in 1207. It is marked with a red star on the map below. You can see Ireland to the left of England. (This annotation contains an image)
We know from an earlier question that the word quay means dock. Using that knowledge and other evidence from the text, what is a curragh?
Nory is so dehydrated at this point, that she doesn't have enough water in her body to have tears in her eyes.
Watch this video about identifying themes in literature before you answer the next question. (This annotation contains a video)
Which theme is Nory not showing in the highlighted passage?
Why didn't Anna ever beg for food?
From Nory's point of view, the girl is doing something wrong by stealing the money for her ticket. Is the girl's point of view different from Nory's? Does she think it is wrong? Use evidence from the text to explain why or why not.
Why is Nory okay with having bugs in her food?
Most immigrants had never been on a ship before, and didn't understand how hard the journey would be. Boats took anywhere from six to fourteen weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean. There wasn't enough food or clean water for the people, and they often dealt with fires, bugs and rats, and disease. About 500,000 Irish immigrants died on the boats to America. The picture below shows an Irish family on their journey to America. (This annotation contains an image)
There were big differences between the steerage area below the ship's deck, where most of the people traveled, and the few private cabins of the rich. Steerage was crowded, dark and damp. Disease passed quickly among people in that area. The private cabins were cleaner and warmer. But all of the people, rich or poor, battled boredom and fear on the journey.
How is Sean feeling when he wonders what Nory and Mam would say if they knew he is happy in that moment?
The girl was most likely suffering from yellow fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes. Yellow fever damages the liver, which causes the yellow skin and eyes.
Why does Nory want to help the girl, who she thinks of as a thief? What does that say about who Nory is as a person? Use evidence from the text in your answer.
Why is the girl confused by Sean not knowing how to read?
Goat cheese is white. Eliza's face isn't yellow anymore, but the white color means she is still very weak and not completely healed yet.
Why did Eliza throw the stone through the squire's window?
The terrible smell Nory remembers was the rotting potatoes. When the potatoes were infested by the blight, they would soften until they oozed and turned black. It happened very quickly. The picture below is a potato with blight. (This annotation contains an image)
Use the dictionary feature to define porthole. Which of these definitions is correct?
Have you ever moved away from your home? If you have, you know how hard it can be. For many of these Irish immigrants, they left Ireland knowing they would never see their home again. Nory has her life in America ahead of her, but Granda has already lived most of his life in Ireland. Leaving his home was too hard for him.
Why does Nory throw the cures over the side of the boat?
If Sean has only gone up on the deck twice during the journey, it means he was only outside twice in about a month.
What do you predict will happen when Sean opens the door? Why do you think that?
List the characters who have been a part of Nory's journey so far.
A wastrel is a wasteful or good-for-nothing person.
Was your prediction about Sean correct or incorrect? Use details from the text in your answer.
Nory realizes in this moment that it is time to
Why doesn't Nory believe the story about the birds helping their journey anymore?
Doctors checked the immigrants for signs of disease. They did this to try to prevent the spread of new diseases in America. The picture below is of a doctor checking a woman for an eye disease. (This annotation contains an image)
The picture below shows Brooklyn as Nory would have seen it when she left the boat. (This annotation contains an image)
Who is the boy Eliza is talking about?
Who helped Sean the most on his journey? Use evidence from the text to explain your answer.
Who helped Nory the most on her journey? Use evidence from the text to explain your answer.