Counting on Grace
1910. Pownal, Vermont. At 12, Grace and her best friend Arthur must leave school and go to work as a "doffers" on their mothers' looms in the mill. Grace's mother is the best worker, fast and powerful, and Grace desperately wants to help her. But she's left handed and doffing is a right-handed job. Grace's every mistake costs her mother, and the family. She only feels capable on Sundays, when she and Arthur receive special lessons from their teacher. Together they write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board about underage children working in Pownal. A few weeks later a man with a camera shows up. It is the famous reformer Lewis Hine, undercover, collecting evidence for the Child Labor Board. Grace's brief acquaintance with Hine and the photos he takes of her are a gift that changes her sense of herself, her future, and her family's future. From the Hardcover edition.
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Chapter 1 - School
Below is a picture of the cover of "The Red Badge of Courage." The story is of young Henry Fleming, a private in the Union Army during the Civil War, who runs from the field of battle. (This annotation contains an image)
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?
What does the conversation between Miss Lesley and the students reveal about many of the students' grandparents?
Watch the video on internal conflict and external conflict. In the highlighted text, we see an example of external conflict between Miss Lesley and French Johnny; however, we also can infer that Ms. Lesley is against child labor. This would fall under character versus society. (This annotation contains a video)
French Johnny is requesting for which character to leave school and work in the mill?
The picture below depicts a young girl wearing a white pinafore, much like what Grace would be wearing over her dress in this scene. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 2 - The Trapper's Shack
Where is the setting of this novel?
Watch the short video on character traits. Here, we can infer that Grace prizes her ability to keep a secret. In other words, she believes she is trustworthy. (This annotation contains a video)
Using details from the highlighted text, explain why there is tension between Pepe's family and the Irish gang.
Watch the short video on the genre of historical fiction. Which details in the story so far support that this novel is taking place in the early 1900's? (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 3 - A Knocking at the Door
Locate Vermont, Massachusetts, and Canada on the map below. This will help you to visualize the locations mentioned so far in the text. (This annotation contains an image)
Read the definition of onomatopoeia below and check out the examples listed. In the highlighted text, we see that "tik-tokking" is an example of this type of figurative language. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Miss Leslie visit Grace's home?
Chapter 4 - The Story of the Cotton
Below is a picture of a cotton carding machine used in the late 1800's. Men would feed the cotton into the machine to be brushed out; the cotton would come out of the machine in a rope form called "silver." Cleaning this machine while it was running resulted in numerous injuries. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the primary purpose of Delia's story?
Watch the short video on tone and mood in literature. In the highlighted text, we see that that the tone is urgent. This creates a feeling or mood of anxiety in us, as readers, because we recognize that Delia is warning Grace of how dangerous the mill can be. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 5 - My Papers
Using the highlighted text, which character traits best describe Grace?
Below is a picture of two children replacing bobbins or "doffing" like Grace will do. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 6 - Doffing
What can readers infer about Delia's character based on the highlighted text?
Watch the short video on how the Industrial Revolution impacted women, who went to work in the Lowell Mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. As you watch pay attention to how the mills still impact our lives today. (This annotation contains a video)
According to the video in the previous annotation on the Lowell Mills, the loom is the predecessor to what technological invention that is used on a regular basis today?
Chapter 7 - Arthur Speaks to Me
Which image below would best represent the connotation or meaning associated with the words in the highlighted text?
Watch the short video on personification below. This type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text because Grace says the machine will "gobble" or eat up Arthur's arm. The act of eating is an action of living things. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 8 - French Johnny and Miss Lesley
Why does Grace stay behind?
Can you explain how Grace's situation is similar to the protagonist, Henry Flemming's situation in "The Red Badge of Courage"?
Watch the short video on similes and metaphors. In the highlighted text, you will notice that Grace uses a metaphor to compare French Johnny to a bear. (This annotation contains a video)
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text?
Chapter 9 - Sunday
Watch the short video on text-based evidence below. What can you infer about Grace's family's situation based on the textual evidence that is highlighted? (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the highlighted textual evidence, what can you infer about Grace? Choose one character trait to describe her and explain how the highlighted quote supports your character trait.
Chapter 10 - The Letter
Watch the short movie trailer for the film adaption of Charles Dickens's famous novel, "Oliver Twist." It follows the orphan Oliver Twist from the cruel workhouse to life with criminals. (This annotation contains a video)
Which statement below best summarizes how Oliver Twist is similar to Counting on Grace?
Notice the connection here to the video you watched in an earlier chapter about the Lowell Mills during the Industrial Revolution.
From Arthur's perspective, there is nothing "worse than the mill." Does Grace share this viewpoint? Why or why not?
Chapter 11 - The Frames
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text?
Watch the short video on hyperbole. This type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text because Grace wishes to throw the cotton ball all the way into the next state "as far away...as ever it can get." (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 12 - No Sausage
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text?
Even though Grace tries to shut out her mother's voice, we can see from the highlighted text that she is disturbed and hurt by her mother's opinion and actions toward her. Grace feels like a disappointment to Mamere.
Chapter 13 - Ropes
In today's society, Grace's family would be in serious trouble for tying their grandpa to a bed because it would be a form of abuse. It is important to note though that Grace's family is working incredibly hard, but they are still not able to provide for their basic needs and as a result, they must take drastic measures.
The highlighted text uses which types of figurative language?
Watch the short video on foreshadowing. Here, we see Grace's grandfather foreshadow his departure. Read on to find out what happens to him. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 14 - The Train
Read the highlighted passage. What can you infer from Grace's mother's words?
We can infer from Grace's words here that she feels guilty and believes she played a key role in Pepe's death.
Chapter 15 - School on Sundays
Based on the highlighted text, readers can infer that Grace's family is suffering primarily from what?
It seems that Delia is avoiding spending time in the family's apartment most likely because it reminds her of her grandpa.
How many bobbins does Grace doff?
When people are illiterate or unable to read, they can be taken advantage of or cheated like Mr. Dupree has been doing to Grace's parents. Watch the short video about Malala Yousafzai. Look for similarities between Malala and Grace. (This annotation contains a video)
Which statement best summarizes one of the key similarities between Malala Yousafzai (seen in the previous annotation) and Grace?
Chapter 17 - The Flash
While this book is a work of historical fiction, Lewis Hine was a real-life photographer, whose photographs were instrumental in changing the child labor laws during this time period. Below is a picture of the real-life Hine holding a camera. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Mr. Hine reveal about himself in the highlighted text?
This is the real-life picture that Lewis Hine took at a Vermont mill of a young girl like Grace, who was named Addie Card. This picture, an example of a primary source, inspires the author Elizabeth Winthrop to write this book. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Grace's mother react this way?
Chapter 18 - The Group Picture
Watch this short video about Lewis Hine, the photographer. As you watch, pay attention to what Hine's work teaches us. (This annotation contains a video)
After watching the short biography about Lewis Hine in the previous annotation, identify which statement(s) is true about the real-life Hine?
Chapter 19 - Up the Hill
Here, we see foreshadowing taking place. Arthur reveals once again that he is desperate to get out and is planning his escape. Will he wait for the Labor Committee to take care of the problem or take matters into his own hands?
In the film clip about Lewis Hine earlier in this chapter, we learned that Hine desires to persuade skeptics that child labor exists as a societal problem, so means can be taken to protect children. Which piece of textual evidence from this novel would support this claim from the video?
Chapter 20 - Dinner
Locate Oshkosh, Wisconsin on the map below. (This annotation contains an image)
How do you think Mamere would react if she knew what Mr. Hine's true purpose is? Be sure to explain why with at least one example from the story.
Chapter 21 - The Ghost Girl
The Normal School, during this time period, was a school to train high school graduates to become teachers. Its name comes from its mission of establishing teaching standards or "norms."
Why does Grace compare Mr. Hine developing photographic slides to delivering babies?
Notice that Grace makes a point of establishing her physical strength. Mr. Hine's response acknowledges her comment, but he also calls attention to her inner strength. Why might Grace need inner strength to "survive the mill"?
Chapter 22 - Gone
Based on the highlighted text, which word below best describes Arthur's character?
In the highlighted text, we see the tension building due to the recent developments in the plot. Arthur is about to lose his window to the world, his escape, during work. In addition, Miss Lesley is gone. The "quiet and certain" way in which he says that last line alerts us as readers that he will no longer wait around.
Chapter 23 - Arthur
Here, Grace witnesses Arthur intentionally allowing his hand to be caught up and pulverized by the gearbox. Notice how the use of personification in the last sentence creates a gruesome picture in our minds. Why do you think Arthur does this?
Should Grace have told someone about Arthur's intention "to do whatever he had to" to escape the mill? Why or why not?
Chapter 24 - The Wound
Grace enjoys doing math here because it finally allows her to focus on something other than the accident. Her comment about how this is "the first peace" she has had since Arthur's accident reveals that she is struggling internally with his accident and whether or not she should have spoken up.
What tone is conveyed through the highlighted text?
Arthur's mother cannot afford for a doctor to continue to care for him even though he is probably suffering from an infection right now. We know that he has a fever, and the "sweet sickly smell" is concerning. Arthur's situation helps us to understand how difficult life is for anyone living in poverty.
Chapter 25 - Teacher
Which image below matches the connotation or images associated with the highlighted text?
Watch the short video on point of view. What clues in the highlighted text help you to identify the point of view from which this novel is written? (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Miss Lesley come rushing into the classroom?
Identify the the type of figurative language used in the highlighted text.
We have to remember that being able to read and write is not common in Grace's community. Therefore, we get a sense of the awe Grace feels at the privilege of being the scribe.
Chapter 26 - Mail for Grace
Why does Grace feel ripped in two? Explain why she feels this way at this moment in the text and give at least one other example prior to this of when Grace has felt this way.
Chapter 27 - Monsieur Dupree
Notice that Grace and her mother are in conflict (character versus character). However, in the highlighted text, we also see that Grace is struggling with internal conflict (character versus self) when she says that "inside I am burning up." What emotion is she struggling with?
What is the significance of Grace's actions in the highlighted text?
Chapter 28 - Troubles
Watch the short video on theme. In the highlighted text, we see Arthur struggling internally after his accident. What message can we infer about one's self-worth? If we look at Grace and Arthur, what message can we infer about perseverance? (This annotation contains a video)
Which word would not describe the tone of the highlighted text?
Chapter 29 - Goodbye
Grace recognizes that she can give Arthur one last gift. By showing him the picture of himself, she can remind him of who he is. He will need to dig down deep and find his inner strength as he leaves his home.
What does Grace give Arthur as a parting gift?
Chapter 30 - Miss Lesley
Below is a photograph from the late 1890's of North Adams, Massachusetts. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Miss Leslie mean when she says, "Arthur and his mother are going from the frying pan into the fire"?
Chapter 31 - The Smock
Watch the short video on summaries. As Grace walks by Arthur's house (in the highlighted text), how do you think she would summarize the recent events that have dramatically changed her life, Miss Leslie's life, and Arthur's life? (This annotation contains a video)
Summarize what happens to Grace. Be sure to include at least three details.
Grace is experiencing shock. Her body is having a physical reaction to the terrifying situation she just went through! How would you feel in this moment if you were in her shoes?
Chapter 32 - Across the Border
What is Grace's plan?
Watch the short video on imagery below. Many of the details in the highlighted text appeal to our five senses. Which details help you to picture Grace's plight? (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 33 - First Day
How does Grace feel in this moment?
Notice the use of imagery in the highlighted text. Grace brings to life the setting of the classroom. She also reminds us of all that has gone before this moment when she recalls Arthur, Miss Lesley, and Mr. Hine. We see that every event in this novel has led towards this moment.