Driven from his home by the Ku Klux Klan and still reeling from the death of his mother, Nathan moves with his father and grandfather to the desolate Pea Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to start a new life. Fortunately, life on Pea Island at the end of the 19th century is far from quiet. The other island residents include the surfmen--the African American crew of the nearby U.S. Life-Saving Station--and soon Nathan is lending an extra hand to these men as they rescue sailors from sinking ships. Working and learning alongside the courageous surfmen, Nathan begins to dream of becoming one himself. But the reality of post-Civil War racism starts to show itself as he gradually realizes the futility of his dream. And then another dream begins to take shape, one that Nathan refuses to let anyone take from him.
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Chapter 1 - ONE
Genre: Historical Fiction (This annotation contains a video)
Story Introduction: The story you are about to read is about Nathan Williams who lives with his father and grandfather on Pea Island, North Carolina. The year is 1895, and slavery is still well remembered. The threats of the Ku Klux Klan drove Nathan's family from their home to the Pea Island Lifesaving Station, which is the only one in North Carolina run by African-American surfmen (an all-black lifesaving team). Nathan dreams of becoming a surfman, but when a hurricane strikes, he isn't sure he has the courage to risk his life to save crew members in the ship's rescue.
Which detail on this page reveals that this story is historical fiction?
Morse code is a method of transmitting text information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment. In the text, the sailors on the ship are using flashes of light to send a message. The video below uses clicks to show how each letter has its own pattern. (This annotation contains a video)
A metaphor compares two objects, drawing similarity between them. A metaphor usually says something "is" another thing in the comparison. In the highlighted sentence, the waves are compared to a _______________ using a metaphor.
Use the DEFINE feature to read the definition of lurched. Which of the following definitions most closely fits the context of the sentence?
How do the sailors in the boat feel? What evidence from the text supports your answer?
Parallelism (or parallel structure) is the use of components in a sentence that are grammatically the same or similar in their construction, sound, meaning or meter. In the highlighted text, each sentence begins with "Stronger." This is an example of parallel structure. Watch the video to learn more about parallelism. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Nathan feel about what his father says to him?
Chapter 2 - TWO
Why do William, Floyd and Nathan take the boat out and pretend they are rescuing sailors?
Make Connections: Have you ever had to stop doing something because it was dangerous?
Use the DEFINE feature to read the definition of vermilion. Which word BEST describes the color of vermilion?
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?
Use the DEFINE feature to read the definition of 'resuscitated.' How would you explain what it means to be resuscitated?
How do you suppose Nathan feels about the way the surfmen treat him?
Imagery is the use of figurative language to create visual representations of actions, objects and ideas in our mind in such a way that they appeal to our physical senses. Which of your five senses does the highlighted text appeal to?
Chapter 3 - THREE
Why do you think Nathan's grandpa wants one dollar? What is he going to use it for?
What will Nathan's father do with the ducks and geese?
Flashbacks are interruptions that writers use to insert past events in order to provide background or context to the current events of a narrative. By using flashbacks, writers allow their readers to gain insight into a character’s motivation and provide a background to a current conflict. Dream sequences and memories are methods used to present flashbacks.
Based on the details in the text, what kind of relationship does Nathan have with his grandpa? What evidence from the text supports your answer?
Why does Nathan's father tell Fannie and Floyd that their father should call the doctor soon?
Why does Nathan's father feel that Mr. Griffin robbed him?
Chapter 4 - FOUR
How does a sunny auction day differ from a rainy auction day?
Do you think the boys will talk Nathan into going to the boat room?
Why does Nathan tell his grandpa about what happened? What evidence from the text supports your answer?
Why does Nathan want to be a surfman?
Chapter 5 - FIVE
Point of view is the mode of narration that an author uses to let the readers “hear” and “see” what takes place in a story. Watch the video and then answer the question below. (This annotation contains a video)
From which point of view is this story written?
How does seeing the gulls fight over the one fish help Nathan realize he may never be a surfman?
Do you think Nathan will forget about being a surfman and decide to be a fisherman? Explain your answer.
Use the DEFINE feature to read the definition of tourniquet. The image below shows how to apply a tourniquet to an arm. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the injured man's brother feel about shooting him?
Chapter 6 - SIX
Why is Nathan glad the surfmen did not come get him the night the boat ran aground? What evidence from the text supports your answer?
Why are the "Directions for Restoring the Apparently Drowned" so familiar to Nathan?
Do you think Nathan will be able to use what he has learned from the books to help Fannie?
How does Nathan know how to stop the bleeding from Fannie's cut?
Chapter 7 - SEVEN
How does the author's use of imagery appeal to your sense of smell? What evidence from the text supports your answer?
What does this detail reveal about Grandpa?
The storm has caused several feet of sand to cover the books he hid. Do you think he will be able to recover them and return them to the station?
Why are Nathan, his grandpa and his father staying to eat supper with Mr. Etheridge?
Chapter 8 - EIGHT
Use the DEFINE feature to read the definition of breeches. Which of the following definitions most closely fits the context of the sentence?
Why is Nathan curious about the charred wood under the station?
What causes Nathan to feel shameful about destroying the books?
How might Nathan feel about what Mr. Bowser wants for repayment of the books?
Martha Jane Coston (December 12, 1826 – July 9, 1904) was an inventor and businesswoman best known for her invention of the Coston flare, a device for signaling at sea. (This annotation contains an image)
Use the DEFINE feature to read the definition of powerful. Which of the following definitions most closely fits the context of the sentence?
Chapter 9 - NINE
Which definition of sound, as it is used in this sentence, is correct?
Multiple meaning words are words that have more than one meaning. In this sentence, the word 'sound' is used as a noun. There are several meanings for 'sound' when it is used as a noun. You have to use context clues to know which meaning of 'sound' is being referred to. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 10 - TEN
Why does Mr. Bowser curse Nathan? What evidence from the text supports your answer?
Which literary device is used in the highlighted text?
Do you agree with Mr. Meekins? Do you think Nathan will agree with him?
Where is Nathan really hurting?
Similes compare two distinct objects, drawing similarity between them using “like” or “as." Watch the video to learn more about similes. (This annotation contains a video)
Using context clues, what is a dory?
Chapter 11 - ELEVEN
Use the DEFINE feature to read the definition of vendue. Which word below BEST describes a vendue?
How would you describe Nathan and Fannie's friendship?
Why does Fannie want to climb the wreck pole? What does this reveal about her character?
Fannie's mother wants her to act like a ______________.
Why does Nathan stand up to Floyd so Fannie can ride the buoy?
Which of the five senses does the author's use of imagery appeal to in this text?
Chapter 12 - TWELVE
Why is Nathan confused about what Mr. Meekins tells him about the waves?
Why does Mr. Meekins say you have to sneak past the waves? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
Why is Nathan afraid when he emerges from the water?
Do you think Nathan agrees with Mr. Meekins?
Chapter 13 - THIRTEEN
Grandpa's memory of how he and Dahlia were separated is an example of _________.
Why does Grandpa think Master Johnson may be his father?
Chapter 14 - FOURTEEN
How does Nathan know that his grandpa is sick?
Personification is a figure of speech in which a thing, an idea or an animal is given human attributes. The non-human objects are portrayed in such a way that we feel they have the ability to act like human beings. Watch the video to learn more about personification. (This annotation contains a video)
A sea nettle is a jellyfish. Have you ever been stung by a jellyfish? (This annotation contains an image)
Can you identify which literary device is used in the highlighted text? If you said imagery, you are correct! The author uses imagery to appeal to the reader's sense of smell with the roses.
What do Mrs. Fearing's actions reveal about her character? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
Chapter 15 - FIFTEEN
Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the natural sound of a thing. It creates a sound effect that mimics the thing being described, making the description more expressive and interesting. 'Thwack' is an example of onomatopoeia because it is a sound word. Watch the video to learn more about onomatopoeia. (This annotation contains a video)
What do the details in the highlighted text suggest about loons?
Chapter 16 - SIXTEEN
"Sweet as honey" is an example of _______________.
How does Nathan's story about the salesman change with each retelling of it?
Chapter 17 - SEVENTEEN
How would you describe the way Nathan's father reacts to hearing that Grandpa died?
Who does Nathan's daddy blame for his grandpa passing away?
Pacing refers to the manipulation of time in a story. It is the rate, or speed, at which a story moves forward. The highlighted text covers a span of three days. Watch the video to learn more about pacing. (This annotation contains a video)
Why is Mr. Meekins concerned about the man from Oregon Inlet? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
Can you identify the literary device used in this sentence?
Use the DEFINE feature to read the definition of acrid. Which word BEST describes the smell of the Coston flare?
Chapter 18 - EIGHTEEN
Do you think swimming into the sea is a good idea? Why or why not?
What does this reveal about the surfmen?
Chapter 19 - NINETEEN
Why does Nathan hold a compress to the man's wound?
Use the DEFINE feature to read the definition of hypothermic. Which of the following describes a person who is hypothermic?
Chapter 20 - TWENTY
Using context clues, what does insignificant most likely mean?
Why does Nathan feel like just a helper? Do you think he is being too hard on himself?
Chapter 21 - TWENTY-ONE
How has Nathan's view of being a fisherman changed since the beginning of the story?
Image of Pamlico Sound (This annotation contains an image)
After you finish Quiz 3, continue reading the next several pages to learn more about the author and her inspiration for this book.
Although Nathan's dream of becoming a surfman is over, what is he aspiring to be now?