Harold Kline is an albino--an outcast. Folks stare and taunt, calling him Ghost Boy. It's been that way all of his 14 years. So when the circus comes to town, Harold runs off to join it. Full of colorful performers, the circus seems like the answer to Harold's loneliness. He's eager to meet the Cannibal King, a sideshow attraction who's an albino too. He's touched that Princess Minikin and the Fossil Man, two other sideshow curiosities, embrace him like a son. He's in love with Flip, the beguiling horse trainer, and awed by the all-knowing Gypsy Magda. Most of all, Harold is proud of training the elephants, and of earning respect and a sense of normality. Even at the circus, though, two groups exist--the freaks, and everyone else. Harold straddles both groups. But fitting in with those who are "normal" comes at a price, and sometimes it's recognizing the truth beneath what's apparent that ultimately leads to happiness . . . and turns a boy into a man.
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Did you know that you can easily find the definition of any word in this text? Select the word in the story that you need help with and choose "Define" from the options that appear.
Sometimes, people and animals are born with a trait called "albinism." These people and animals are called "albino." Albinos are special because they do not have pigment, or color, in their hair, eyes, and skin. The picture below shows an albino squirrel. Humans of all races can be albino. (This annotation contains an image)
What makes Harold a "ghost boy"?
Sometimes, the author does not state something directly in the story. Instead, readers must use clues to understand what is going on. This is called making an inference. Watch the video below to learn more about making inferences. From the highlighted text in the story, you can infer that the circus is coming to town. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following can you infer, or decide must be true, from the details in the text?
A calliope is a musical instrument which makes whistling noises produced by steam being pushed through pipes. It is played with a keyboard, like a piano. Calliopes are commonly found at circuses and festivals. Play the video below to see and hear this instrument. (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted text is an example of an idiom. An idiom is a common phrase which means something totally different from what it literally states. If something is "the cat's pajamas," that means that it is fantastic. Can you think of any other idioms? (This annotation contains an image)
What is the meaning of the phrase, "it was hard to look at her, but impossible not to," as it is used here?
Watch the video below about setting. What do the details in the story tell you about the setting of Ghost Boy? For example, you can tell from the fact that Harold is drinking a Coke that the story is definitely NOT set during the Middle Ages. (This annotation contains a video)
What most likely causes Harold to tear up at this moment?
What point of view is Ghost Boy written from? Watch the video below to review point of view. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following options accurately describes the point of view of this story?
Watch the video below about simile and metaphor. Is the highlighted text an example of simile or metaphor? (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted text uses what literary device? Explain your answer. Hint: you have already watched a video which discusses this device.
Use your reasoning skills to make an inference. Who snatched Harold's belongings away and why? Why do you think that Harold just pretends that he lost his belongings instead of telling his mother the truth?
Which of the following is a central idea which has been appearing in the text?
The highlighted text describes Harold's room in detail. It is an example of imagery. Watch the following video to learn more about imagery. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Harold hit Honey?
Watch the video below for a review on sequence of events in a story. Try to remember the order of the events in the story as you read along. (This annotation contains a video)
The prairies of the United States were once home to a great number of buffalo, or bison. There are far fewer of these animals during modern times due to hunting and habitat destruction. (This annotation contains an image)
Think about the story that the old Indian tells. Why do you think the author might include this story in the novel? What do the Buffalo Woman and Harold have in common?
Buffalo Bill was an American who lived from the mid-1800's to the early 1900's. He was famous for his traveling fair, Buffalo Bill's Wild West, and for being an outdoor sportsman. (This annotation contains an image)
The descriptive language in the highlighted text is used to depict
In this case, "starved to death" is an example of hyperbole; the phrase is an exaggeration. Watch the video below to learn more about hyperbole. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the information in the text, you can infer that Bob is which character?
The highlighted text foreshadows contentment in Harold's life. Watch the video below to learn more about foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
The gypsy's words add foreshadowing to the plot. Use the information from the video that you just watched to explain what and how her words foreshadow.
As you read along, pay attention to the traits of the characters. Sometimes the author will tell you about a character with an obvious statement. Other times, you may need to watch how the character responds to other characters and to events in the story to figure out more about him or her for yourself. (This annotation contains a video)
In the highlighted text, the author uses a metaphor to compare ________________ to going into the darkness without a lamp.
The theme in a story is the author's main message or lesson about life. A story may have more than one theme. You should see some themes emerging in Ghost Boy by now. Watch the video below to learn more about theme. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following options best describes the language in the highlighted text?
The highlighted text is an example of personification. Watch the the video below to learn more about this literary device. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the man at the gas station feel about the group of travelers when he first sees them? Use the text to explain your answer.
How does the little girl treat the travelers differently than everyone else does? Can you think of any reasons why she might treat them differently than the other people do?
Harold becomes angry, which is unusual for him. What most likely causes this change in his character?
Think about the video you watched which explained theme. Authors use little details to build major themes. What theme, or main idea, does the highlighted text support?
Which of the following is a theme which appears in the scene at the gas station?
Gypsies are a real group of people, mostly found in Europe. They traditionally speak Romany and travel together in caravans. Because gypsies spend their lives wandering, people often associate them with ideas of mystery, adventure and magic. The image below shows a gypsy family and their caravan. (This annotation contains an image)
This detail in the text tells the reader that the Gypsy Magda was a Nazi concentration camp survivor during World War II. The Nazis tattooed numbers onto concentration camp prisoners in order to identify them. Keep reading to learn how World War II connects Harold and Magda. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following options best describes how the story of the Gypsy Magda's family fits into the text?
Watch the video below about tone and mood. How is the mood of the story different during the scene in which Magda tells of the concentration camps and the current scene? If you think that the current scene has a happier, more pleasant, mood, you are correct. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on what you read in the highlighted text, you can infer that
Think back to the video you watched about foreshadowing. The author uses some obvious foreshadowing when Samuel hints states that Flip will like Harold. Can you predict a friendship that will form during the story?
Pay attention to the highlighted paragraph. How does it fit in with the rest of the story?
Pay attention to the way that the farmer speaks and notice how he uses language differently than the other characters. For example, the farmer uses the word "thee" instead "yourself" in the highlighted quote. This is an example of dialect. Dialect is the way a particular group of people, who are usually from the same area, speak.
Which of the following statements correctly explains what is meant by the highlighted text?
Can you make a connection between this small child and the one at the gas station? How do these two girls both treat Harold?
The highlighted text includes gives a detailed description of the house. The language used by the author here is an example of
Why is having his hair dyed a turning point for Harold? What changes about him emotionally?
Alliteration is when words beginning with the same sounds appear close together. Alliteration is often used in poetry, but it can also be found in other texts. Can you think of some examples of alliteration? (This annotation contains an image)
You can use the Define feature to read the definition of "milkman." Because milkmen stopped delivering milk in the United States in the 1960's, this detail helps to build the 1940's setting of the story. The photo below shows a milkman making a delivery. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the highlighted text fit into this chapter?
Do you remember when you read about alliteration? The author uses alliteration a lot in quotes from Mr. Hunter's character. Does the way that Mr. Hunter speaks make him seem interesting and strange to you?
In the highlighted paragraph, the author uses a simile to compare the faces of the circus people to
Chapter 21 contains dramatic irony because the reader can recognize that Harold is an albino, but Flip does not realize this. Watch the video below to learn more about dramatic irony. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following quotes tells the reader that Flip doubts Harold will be useful?
Even though you can use the Define feature to look up the definition of words in this book, sometimes you still need to use context clues to find out what the author means by something. For example, after reading the highlighted text, you can use context clues to decide that "Max Graf" is the name of a variety of rose. Watch the video below for more information about using context clues. (This annotation contains a video)
Some groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), do not agree with using elephants in circuses or training them with bullhooks. Take a look at the PETA Kids article below to read more on this topic. Do you think that Flip would agree with PETA Kids that using bullhooks is a bad idea? What is your opinion? (This annotation contains a link)
Why do you think Harold waves his arms and shouts at the elephant? Predict what you think will happen next in the plot of the story.
The story about the elephant is an example of situational irony, because the animal's gentleness with Harold is the opposite of what the reader expects - an attack. Watch the video below and learn more about situational irony. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following quotations shows the reader that Harold's opinion of the circus is much higher than Flip's opinion?
Onomatopoeia is when an author uses a word to describe the sound that something makes. "Thud" is an example of onomatopoeia in this story. Try to recognize examples of onomatopoeia as you read. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Harold respond to the challenge of the circus going broke?
As a reader, you should be trying to draw connections between Magda's warning and the events and characters in the story. What kind of beast has Harold been working with that feeds itself with a long "tail"?
Which of the following terms best describes Harold's attitude towards the Cannibal King?
Do you remember reading about onomatopoeia? Try finding an example of onomatopoeia in the highlighted sentence.
How does Harold feel when he learns that the dye is running off of his hair? Use the text of the story to back up your answer.
Harold proves Flip wrong about what the elephants can do. What does Flip do in the highlighted text that proves that Harold was wrong about her?
Why does Harold most likely fall asleep smiling?
Think back to when you read about character traits earlier. Consider what character traits Harold has. His embarrassment over having selfish thoughts tells the reader a lot about what kind of character Harold is. Can you relate to the way that Harold is feeling? Have you ever felt guilty for thinking something mean?
After reading the highlighted section of the story, you can infer that Mr. Hunter has which of the following character traits?
Watch the video below on character development. Consider Harold's character. Does he seem to be changing any over the course of the story? (This annotation contains a video)
As you read more of the story, the author develops Flip's character and you learn more about her. What does Flip's reaction to the "freaks" in this chapter reveal about her?
Watch the video below to learn about internal and external conflict. The nervousness and confusion that Harold is feeling is an example of internal conflict. When the Liberty kids called Harold names, that was an example of external conflict. As you read, pay attention to the problems, or conflicts, that you see in the story and try to decide whether they are internal or external. (This annotation contains a video)
Read the highlighted paragraph. Explain which two things are compared using a simile. How do you know that the comparison is a simile?
Reflect on why you think Harold is crying. Are his emotions an example of internal or external conflict?
What conflict is Harold experiencing at this point in the story?
This detail tells the reader that Harold is physically developing into a young man. In what other ways has Harold matured over the course of the text? Does he still have more maturing to do?
Which of the following options best describes the tone of the author's language in the highlighted text?
There is some scientific debate over whether or not elephants cry for emotional reasons. To learn more about elephants showing this behavior, visit the link to the Live Science article below. (This annotation contains a link)
The highlighted text relates to which major theme?
The video below shows a horse cantering. This movement is faster than a trot, but not as fast as a gallop. (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted text indicates that
Think back to the video you watched on character development. As Flip's character is developed and you learn more about who she is and what happened in her past, does the way that you feel towards her change any?
The highlighted text enhances the plot by using
How does Flip change in this scene? What is Harold's emotional response to her actions? Use the text to support your answer.
Earlier in the text, you watched a video about theme. A theme is an important message or moral that is communicated throughout a text. Authors usually include more than one theme, or message, in a story. Think about how Flip is treating Harold. What does the author seem to be saying about friendship?
When the author describes the elephants' emotions and behaviors, he often uses _______, making them seem like human characters.
In this story, Thunder Wakes Him is an example of a sage. A sage is a character who brings profound wisdom to the main character. Usually, sages tend to be older individuals with a lot of life experience. If you have ever seen the Harry Potter movies or read the Harry Potter books, think of Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore is also an example of a sage in literature. (This annotation contains an image)
The details in the text support the conclusion that
Although Harold has been hurt by Flip, he seems to be giving her another chance. Do you think this is the right decision?
One of the central ideas in this story is bullying. Who is bullying Harold in this scene? What other characters in the story have acted like bullies at some point?
Make an inference. Which of the following is most likely the reason why Roman bullies Harold?
Conrad is becoming a companion animal, or pet, for Harold. Studies have shown that companion animals help improve the moods of their owners and relieve stress. Conrad does seem to make Harold feel much safer and relaxed. Click on the link below to read about the health benefits of having a pet. You do not need to read the entire article; just scan to get the main points. (This annotation contains a link)
In two or three sentences, summarize the "run-in" that Roman and Harold have.
Mr. Hunter is referring to the Liberation of the Netherlands during World War II. You can read more about this historical event at the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
How has working with Conrad changed Harold?
As you continue reading, compare the Cannibal King and Harold. Having albinism makes Harold ashamed and shy. How does the Cannibal King use being different to his advantage?
Which literary device does the author use in the highlighted text?
Harold and Flip are probably dressing the elephants to look similar to the elephant in the advertisement below. Most performing animals at circuses are adorned with headdresses and other decorations. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following options is an example of an event containing external conflict?
Which of the following quotes supports the conclusion that Flip's act is the most impressive of the show so far?
Watch the video below to learn about how authors use tension. Try to think of an example of tension which you have encountered in the story so far. As you continue reading, notice when the tension becomes intense. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following central ideas can be identified in the highlighted text?
This is another example of the author using foreshadowing. Sometimes, foreshadowing is used to hint at a positive plot event. In this case though, it is clear that the foreshadowing indicates that something bad will happen.
Understanding what Magda is talking about requires a little bit of historical knowledge about World War II. The Nazis felt that there was one "master race" of people, and these people were better than everyone else. This "master race" of people had blond hair and blue eyes, and were called Aryans. The image shown below depicts Hitler's ideal Aryan family. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following options explains why this scene is tense from Harold's point of view?
Look at the plot diagram shown below. This moment in the story is an excellent example of rising action. The plot is building up to a climax, or turning point. This is also a very tense moment in the story. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Roman react to being attacked by Conrad and saved by Harold? Does this plot event change Roman, or does he remain the same cruel bully? Explain.
It can be very dangerous when elephants become agitated and attack. Watch the following news video from India to see how an elephant behaves once he or she becomes aggressive. Even though the video is not in English, you can still see how terrifying these beasts can be when they are angered. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Mr. Hunter ask Harold if just two elephants can play baseball?
The highlighted text relates to the theme that things are not always how they appear. Can you think of any other times in the story when something or someone was not what it seemed to be?
The highlighted text is an example of the author using which literary device?
Sometimes, a minor character in a story will make a statement which makes an important contribution to the meaning of the text. Notice and reflect upon the highlighted sentence; it contains a lot of meaning.
Out of the following options, select the word that is a synonym for (means the same as) the word "looney" as it is used in this sentence. Remember that you can use the Define feature if you need help.
Watch the video below to learn about the different between static characters and dynamic characters. Which type of character is Roman? (This annotation contains a video)
The language in the highlighted text is an example of the author using _________ to describe something.
This scene also relates to the theme of people being treated differently because of their appearances. Do you notice any foreshadowing in the highlighted text as well?
In the highlighted text, the author uses ________ to describe the movement that Harold's hand makes.
The highlighted text is an example of the author using repetition to stress a word, in this case, how large the hats are. Authors use repetition to make words stand out.
Why is Flip crying in this scene?
This scene is important because belonging has always mattered to much to Harold. What people in his life have made him feel like he doesn't belong and why?
The highlighted text is an example of the author using which type of figurative language?
Diamond T was an American motor company in the early 1900's. You can see an example of a truck produced by this company in the photograph below. (This annotation contains an image)
The name of this town references another place. Elysium, also known as the Elysian Fields, is a place in Greek mythology. It is a heavenly place where fallen heroes and special people go when they die. As you keep reading, try to determine why the author chose this name for the town.
What is causing the tension that the circus workers feel at this point in the plot?
Watch the video below about pacing. The highlighted section of text is more slowly passed than other parts of the story. For example, the scene in which Conrad attempts to kill Roman has a lot of fast action and is paced a lot more quickly than this section of the text. Faster pacing makes the story exciting. Slower pacing allows the reader to absorb details in the story. (This annotation contains a video)
The story does not state this directly, but Thunder Wakes Him is comparing _______ to General Custer.
The highlighted sentences of text connect Magda's prophecy with one of the main themes in the story: things are not always what they seem. In what ways is Flip different for the person she appeared to be when Harold first met her?
The highlighted word describes the sound of the drum by using
The Cannibal King is making a joke; Rand McNally is the name of a company which publishes maps, globes, and atlases. When the Cannibal King speaks to audiences, he makes up words or names places that he has seen on maps. (This annotation contains an image)
What major theme in the story does the highlighted text relate to? Explain your answer.
How do Harold's friends express their love for him?
If Magda is twice Harold's age, she is probably in her twenties or early thirties. What has happened during Magda's life which has made her seem much older than she is?
Which of the following words from the text does NOT help to build the joyful tone of this scene?
"In a pig's eye" means that something will never happen, or is unlikely to happen. It is an example of an idiom, which you learned about earlier. It is not meant to be understood literally.
In the highlighted text, a simile compares _______ to ________.
Remember looking at the plot diagram and reading about rising action? Tina's death could be considered the climax, or turning point in the story. During the rising action, tension increased and the author gave clues about a major event which has just now occurred. (This annotation contains an image)
In two or three sentences, summarize the event that lead up to Tina's death and how this event happened.
Although Harold will never be paid for training the elephants, will he be taking something away from his experience that is more valuable than money?
What is the "big square of turned-over ground"?
Think back to the video you watched about static and dynamic characters. What makes Harold a dynamic character, someone who changes over the course of the story?
Why does Dusty most likely back down and stop challenging Harold?