The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn

Gvy9agg0lxaz t

A remarkable debut novel that 'dares us to imagine mystery in our lives, in our time㿠book that sends us away refreshed, with the potential to see the sacramental in the everyday' – Boston Globe

Told from the viewpoints of four unforgettable characters, The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn is the story of an ordinary girl who is believed to be a modern–day Holy Virgin. At the heart of the story is Francesca: a shy and moody teenager hungry for her absent father's love, she is frightened and intoxicated by her sudden elevation to the rank of divine. Chester is a visionary homeless man who first 'discovers' Francesca and makes himself her protector. Anne is Francesca's no–nonsense mother, whose religion is Darwin and biology. Sid is Francesca's troubled friend, who keeps a few secrets of her own.

Tender and tragic, their intersecting stories probe the need to believe, and the relationship between divinity and madness. Beautifully crafted, here is a compelling first novel that heralds the arrival of a powerful new talent.

Curriculet Details
90 Questions
67 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in ninth and tenth grades, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining character development, theme, and figurative language. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of theme, character, structure, and diction. Themes related to spirituality, family, and self-worth will also be explored. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

The curriculet is being added to your library

Homework #7

The narrator describes an ordinary teen who becomes extraordinary literally overnight. In this case, a girl who becomes the Virgin Mary. This biblical allusion (or reference) reflects the theme of finding hidden value in what appears to be ordinary and will be repeated often in the novel. Be on the lookout for other references that will help develop this idea. 
Based on the text, which of the following is least likely to be a correct inference that you can make about the narrator? 
For centuries, roses have been symbols of the Virgin Mary, shown below. Mary is known as "the rose without thorns" to some due to the story of her becoming the mother of Jesus. The imagery and symbolism used here will be repeated throughout the novel. Why do you think the author includes them?  (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? 

Homework #8

As you can tell already, this book is unusual in that its main character isn't the only narrator. In fact, the reader doesn't hear the narrator's exact thoughts at all. Yet, through a method known as indirect characterization, the author still manages to describe Francesca in great detail. For example, what does this passage tell you about both Sid and Francesca? What else can you infer about them based on the text? 
Based on the previous chapter, what can the reader assume from Chester's "episode"? 
What does the author achieve by stating, "it felt like we were all in a drop of water"? 
Saint Anthony of Padua is quoted as saying, "the Lord has established a refuge of mercy, Mary, even for those who deliberately commit evil. Mary provides shelter and strength for the sinner." How do both this statement and the painting below relate to Chester's begging for Francesca's blessing?  (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #9

The title of this novel alludes to the "annunciation," or the biblical event in which the angel Gabriel announces that the Virgin Mary is going to give birth to Jesus Christ. In what way does Chester act as the annunciator in this section of the novel? Compare this scene in the text with one of many famous paintings of the annunciation shown below.  (This annotation contains an image)
Based on the text, what can you infer Chester believes has happened? 

Homework #10

Based on the way Anne describes herself in the text, which of the following would most likely be something she would value? 
Based on the video you watched, how does the author's description of the flower petals at Anne's door relate to both the image and the symbolic meaning of the Tibetan sand painting? Why might someone have taken the time to create this pattern outside of Anne's house? Use textual evidence to explain your answer.  
In the video below, a group of Tibetan monks work for five days to create an intricate mandala, or symbolic geometric figure, out of sand. On the sixth day, the monks erase the figure to release its energy back into the community. Watch the video of this process, and then answer the question that follows.  (This annotation contains a video)
What can the reader infer about Francesca from this passage? 

Homework #11

In this chapter, the reader sees Francesca's thoughts for the first time. However, she still doesn't narrate; in other words, the author chooses not to use first person point of view. As you read, continue to think about why the author might have chosen to play with perspective in this way. How does the reader feel simultaneously close to and removed from Francesca due to this point of view? 

Homework #13

A Rube Goldberg machine is the name given to a device that uses an incredibly complicated chain of events in order to accomplish a simple task. Goldberg's famous illustration of a mousetrap, below, has a humorous tone. Why does Anne use this allusion to help explain her view of God, and how might that view be significant when compared to Chester's vision? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Anne feel guilty about her job? 
Francesca's mother Anne is a respected scientist like the archaeologists pictured below. Her "life's work" is trying to solve mysteries by discovering and interpreting various fossils and artifacts. How does this methodical, scientific way of viewing the world contrast with what may be happening with her own daughter? As you read, consider this while observing Anne's interactions with Francesca and other characters.  (This annotation contains an image)
What technique does the author use to help increase the tension in this section of the novel? 

Homework #14

Ronnie uses a metaphor here to compare life to pasty dough. By continuing to go into detail to develop this comparison, the author creates what is known as an extended metaphor. For more information about simile, metaphor, and extended metaphor, watch the Powtoon below. What effect does the author achieve by including an extended metaphor in the text here?  (This annotation contains a video)
What does this detail indicate about Sid's feelings toward her best friend? 
What is accomplished by the author's use of a simile in this passage? 
Traditionally, an ashram is a compound used for the study of Hinduism and peaceful living. In a more modern sense, some people today visit an ashram to study yoga or non-specific meditation, as shown below. Apparently, Rae has just left an ashram to move in with her sister Ronnie. Despite this, what details in the text help you understand that Rae is something of a fraud? (This annotation contains an image)
According to details from the text, why does Sid carry a Swiss Army knife? 

Homework #15

This passage contains an allusion, or a purposeful reference to something that is well-known. In this case, the author alludes to Greek mythology. Hera is the queen of all the gods, while Persephone is a young, beautiful princess. What does this allusion show you about Chester and how he is beginning to see Ronnie in a different light? 

Homework #16

Notice again the author's use of point of view. Again, unlike with the other narrators, the reader is always slightly removed from Francesca. Why might the author have decided to tell the story in this way?  
Based on evidence from the text, what is causing Francesca to feel ashamed? 

Homework #17

How do the word choice and mood of the poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" relate to Chester's description here? How is this passage an example of foreshadowing? 
This paragraph can be compared to a famous poem: "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost. Watch the following video. Then, answer the question that follows.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following details from the text does not help establish this man as "an impostor"? 

Homework #18

What does this statement tell you about Sid? 
The author's use of hyperbole (or extreme exaggeration) is often evident in Sid's narration. How is the author's use of figurative language like this fitting for Sid as a character? As you read, continue to look for ways in which each narrator stands out from the others in terms of their language. The author carefully chooses language to make each narrator sound unique and authentic.  
In this passage, the author juxtaposes an image of great beauty with one of ugliness. What words does the author use to describe both aspects of the scene, and why do you think both are included? 

Homework #19

Even though this novel clearly references the birth of Jesus Christ, there are also many other faiths that are mentioned in the novel. Here, Ronnie discusses her Judaism. Earlier, we have seen references to both Buddhism and Hinduism. Is the author developing questions about faith in any religion or culture, not just Christianity? Continue to look for details that can help determine the answer to this question. 
What does the metaphor "the weight on my shoulders" help the reader understand about Chester? 

Homework #20

Based on what you know about Sid's home life, what can you infer about the way she treats Jonah? 
Why does Sid get a "cold feeling" in her stomach? 
Sid doesn't hate Francesca; in fact, she loves her and truly considers her a best friend. However, her feelings are complicated, and Francesca's rising fame is hard on her. Where else have you seen evidence of Sid's complicated and evolving feelings about Francesca? What do you predict will happen to their friendship? Use textual evidence to support your answer.  
Bloodletting, shown below, was common practice for centuries, but has obviously been out of favor for a long time by now. How does Sid use this comparison to make herself feel better about what she does? Why does she cut herself?  (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #21

The opposing ideas that are described in this paragraph will continue to occur throughout the novel. For example, it is startling to hear Ronnie's profanity in comparison with words like "divine" and "savior." How is Francesca herself an example of contradictory ideas? Continue to look for ways in which the author uses language to continue to develop this idea. 
From this passage, which of the following is most likely to be an accurate inference about Francesca's relationship with her father? 

Homework #22

Which type of figurative language does the author use in this passage? 
Irony is an important technique for many authors, and it's helpful to have these examples of it here in the text. Watch the video below to learn more about irony and how to spot it when it is used in more subtle ways. As you continue to read, look for examples of irony and consider how the irony adds to the story.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which words in this passage most clearly show Anne's deep sense of relief at finding Francesca unharmed? 
One effect of choosing to tell a story from a character's first-person point of view is that the reader gets to see the narrator's bias firsthand. For example, when Anne says, "I began to see how it was," does she truly have the whole picture of what's happening? If the narrator might be biased or otherwise flawed, why would an author choose to use their point of view? 
Quiz, Parts 1-2 

Homework #24

Why is this statement ironic? 
The allusion to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, pictured below, helps the reader understand just how scholarly Chester truly is. What leads to his transformation from an academic to a man without a home? Why might his past influence how he views Francesca?  (This annotation contains an image)
What does this simile most likely mean? 
Chester's flashback ends here. For more information on this literary device and why an author might choose to use it, watch the video below. What does the author accomplish by including this particular flashback from Chester's point of view?  (This annotation contains a video)
How does the information in the article above compare with the description of the scene at Francesca's house? Use specific details from both the article and the novel in your response.  
In September 1953, three girls believed they had a vision of the Virgin Mary inside a Philadelphia park. This event had an impact on many people around the world. Read the article at the link below, then answer the question that follows.  (This annotation contains a link)
Use the dictionary feature to define "ersatz." Which of the sentences below uses the word most accurately? 
The author uses the character of John Stucker here to foreshadow future problems. Watch the video about this literary technique below. Why would an author include foreshadowing in a novel?  (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #25

This passage contains an idiom, or a common saying that doesn't make literal sense. In this case, Anne is saying that the visit to her lawyer is expensive. How do idioms such as this one help a character's voice seem more authentic? 
What literary technique does the author use to help the reader picture this sunset? 
Based on this comparison between her life and Chester's, what inference is most likely to be true about Anne's character? 
This discussion between Chester and Anne develops a conflict the reader has seen before: the scientific, logical world vs. what can only be understood through intuition or faith. The repetition of this idea indicates that the author is trying to develop a theme about logic and faith. Watch the video below to learn more about how to recognize and analyze developing themes. What other examples of theme have you seen thus far in the novel?  (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #26

According to the text, how is Francesca feeling about her growing celebrity status? 
It may be surprising to the reader that after Anne's concern and anger over Ronnie's care for Francesca, Anne is planning on leaving again, this time leaving her in the care of Rae, who is essentially a stranger. How does this development add to the sense of tension in the novel? What complications do you foresee from this decision? 
Do you believe that Francesca has special powers? Or is she simply a girl with unusual intuition into other people's problems? State your beliefs as a claim, then support your claim with your interpretation of specific textual evidence from this chapter. 

Homework #27

This is not the first time the author has described a mother figure. Not only is the idea of a modern Virgin Mary introduced, but the figures of Ronnie, Rae, Anne, and Sid's mother are presented as well. As you read this scene from Sid's perspective, compare her home life as the child of a single mother with Francesca's. What importance does the author seem to be placing on motherhood? Continue to look for ways in which this idea develops throughout the novel. 
Based on her reaction to Anne's arrival, what can you most accurately infer about Sid? 
Why does Sid collect the fingernail clippings? 

Homework #28

Anne describes this experience of living in a yurt in Mongolia, pictured below, as "paradise." Compare the description of this scene with her current life at home. What about Mongolia appeals to her, and what does this detail reveal about her as a character?  (This annotation contains an image)
The author revisits the idea of the scientific, rational mind contrasting with a worldview that is based more on faith and intuition. Which world does Anne seem to value most? How does this value system affect her reaction to the events surrounding her daughter? 
Based on what you know about Anne as a character, does this act surprise you? Explain your answer using evidence from the text. 
Based on what you know about the author's use of foreshadowing, what is most likely to occur in the future? 

Homework #29

Puja is a Sanskrit term for worship. The ritual that Rae is describing is a traditional Indian ceremony used to welcome a saint. Watch the video below to understand more about the ceremony, then answer the question that follows.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does Rae's foot washing compare with the ceremony in the video? Why did she choose to do this for Francesca? 
Based on the text, which of the following is not a reason why Francesca thinks she might quit playing cello? 
The capitalized "He" lets the reader understand that Francesca has now come to view herself as the Virgin Mary. What other details in this chapter indicate that her opinion of herself as shifted? 

Homework #30

Why has Sid stopped bringing Francesca's homework? 
Why does Sid feel guilty? 

Homework #31

The author's word choice in this passage helps to heighten the tension and suspense that has been building toward the climax of the novel. For more information about how authors use tension and conflict, watch the video below. How does this paragraph establish a mood of tension in the reader?  (This annotation contains a video)
How has Chester's opinion of Francesca's divinity changed over time? 
While Chester's intentions toward Francesca remain pure, Rae's devotion seems suspicious. How do we know that Rae, unlike Chester, does not truly have Francesca's best interests and safety in mind? Continue to watch for ways in which Francesca's devotees begin to change. 
Why does Little John think Francesca is a fake? 
Why does Chester feel "shaken" about this encounter with Little John? 

Homework #32

What do both the cello-playing dream and the notes to Francesca's followers have in common? 
What does this question indicate? 
As Francesca starts to meet with her devotees, observe how her confidence increases. She is beginning to notice how both her words and actions have power that she's never realized before. However, power often goes to a person's head. As you read, look for additional evidence of Francesca's increasing power - and growing ego. 
Are you impressed by Francesca's message to Joe? Does it seem to come from divine inspiration? Explain your answer using textual evidence.  

Homework #33

Like Sid, Rae is an opportunist. While she treats Francesca kindly and may even believe in her divinity, she also is making a profit off of Francesca's image. Compare Sid's opportunism with Rae's. Are either of them more justified than the other? 
How does the author use imagery in this passage to show how Sid feels about what she has been doing? 

Homework #34

Anne uses animalistic images to describe these particular women as "cats" and "feral." As the tension continues to build, pay close attention to how the crowds that gather around Francesca have begun to change. How does the description of these particular women add to the tension felt by the reader? 
Although Anne at times seems to have neglected her daughter's needs, what does this passage indicate? 

Homework #35

The Jesuits, or Society of Jesus, was formed in 1540 and is now the world's largest order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church. The picture below shows a Jesuit priest. How does the description of Greg Gervais in the text compare with this image?  (This annotation contains an image)
What does the appearance of a Jesuit priest from Canada and a CNN truck indicate? 

Homework #36

This passage contains another example of foreshadowing, or a clue the author gives about what will happen in the future. How might this conversation with Hayden be significant to future events? 
What point is Anne making about survival? 
This passage contains an example of dramatic irony, which occurs when the reader understands something that a character doesn't. In this case, the reader knows that Francesca couldn't have become pregnant in the traditional sense. Anne, however, feels that this is the only explanation. For more information about dramatic irony, watch the video below. Why might an author choose to use this technique in a novel? (This annotation contains a video)
Which type of figurative language does the author use in this passage? 

Homework #37

Which of the following is clearly indicated by this passage? 
Which type of figurative language does the author use in this sentence? 
What does the presence of the news media indicate? 

Homework #38

In the previous chapter, the church and surrounding area were described in a pleasant, folksy way. Notice how Chester's description of the setting is vastly different. How does the author use careful word choice to establish a tense, uneasy feeling in the reader? 
These protesters seem to be members of the Aryan Brotherhood, which is widely known as a white supremacist group, shown below. Why would such a group be attracted to the fervor surrounding Francesca? How does their presence continue to add to the rising tension in the novel?  (This annotation contains an image)
Which word in this passage best indicates Chester's desperation? 

Homework #39

How does Sid feel about Francesca's holiness? 
This moment with the rose is significant to Sid. All along she has been a little jealous, a little resentful, a little guilty, and very dishonest about her role during Francesca's experience. Now that she believes she has seen a miracle with her own eyes, how will this affect her view of the entire experience?  

Homework #40

The conflict between the scientific world and the spiritual one doesn't seem to be as pronounced here. What do both realms have in common when it comes to Francesca's story? How might this common ground affect the author's developing theme about faith vs. logic? 
Based on what you know to be true about Anne, which of the following is most likely to be the reason why she panics when Gervais tells her Francesca believes she is the Virgin? 
Based on what you already know about Anne, to whom is she most likely to turn for help? 
Are you sympathetic toward Chester, or do you think he's responsible for the hype and dangers that are now surrounding Francesca? Use textual evidence to support your answer. 

Homework #42

What does this passage indicate about Francesca as a character? 
This section of the novel contains another example of Francesca's seemingly special abilities. Think back to other examples of these abilities. How does Francesca's treatment of and response to the doctor here differ from her earlier interaction with people who were amazed by her? Why does she act differently now? Use textual evidence to explain your answer.  
This image of love and hate entwined is an example of a paradox, or an idea that seems to be contradictory but actually contains a truth. What other paradoxes exist in this novel, and why does the author include them? 

Homework #43

Anne's response to this latest crisis is completely rational, in contrast with Francesca, whose reactions seem to be driven by both emotion and by an irrational sense of intuition. Which character do you believe has a greater understanding of what is truly going on? 
What technique is the author most clearly using in this passage? 
What tone does the author establish through the word choice in this passage? 

Homework #44

By using Chester's ability to "smell" people's personalities, the author shows how Anne has developed as a character over the course of the novel. Beyond the detail that only Chester can notice, how else has Anne changed since the reader first met her? How have her priorities shifted in terms of her daughter and her work? 
Why does Chester "debate" with himself about where to leave his clothes? 
What can you infer from the text? 
It's important to notice that this paragraph takes the reader away from the plot and doesn't mention Francesca or her conflict directly. When an author departs from the plot in such a way, it often indicates an idea or theme the author is choosing to explain in more detail. What theme is emerging here? How else have you seen it develop in the novel thus far? 
Why does Chester take the pill? 

Homework #45

What is the purpose of the author's use of figurative language in this passage? 
Based on what you know about Sid, does her decision not to take the house key surprise you? Use textual evidence to support your answer.  

Homework #46

When the author first compares the police cars to sharks, a metaphor is created. By continuing to describe the image with additional details, such as "they would feed off her if given the chance," the author develops an extended metaphor. Why might an author occasionally choose to use this technique? 
What type of figurative language does the author use in this passage? 

Homework #47

Based on what you've read before, why does Chester most likely move "with a new confidence"? 
Anne's character continues to evolve in this passage. Earlier, much of her narration consisted of her thoughts about her job and excitement over a new trip or dig. What is her biggest concern now? How do you think this will affect her relationship with her daughter? 
The painting that Cecilia refers to is shown below. The angel Gabriel, shown on the left, announces to the Virgin Mary, right, that she will bear a son. Why does Cecilia feel this painting is something Francesca should see? (This annotation contains an image)
Why is it significant to Francesca that there is not a petal design on the front porch? 
Which type of figurative language does the author use in this passage? 

Homework #48

Consider the author's use of point of view. Again, Francesca's viewpoint is the only one in which the narration is in third-person rather than first-person point of view. Why might the author have made this decision? How does it affect the reader's understanding of Francesca? 
How does Francesca feel about the baby she believes she is carrying? 

Homework #49

This cabin in the Front Range of the Rockies in Colorado will shelter Anne and Francesca in this section of the novel. A similar cabin is pictured below. Pay attention to the author's description of the setting. How does the setting contribute to the mood of this part of the novel?  (This annotation contains an image)
What words in this passage help create a nostalgic tone? 
Anne is full of activity in this chapter as she tries to protect and mother Francesca, who seems to need it. What do the tears at the end of the chapter indicate about Anne's transformation as a mother over the course of the novel? 

Homework #50

Compare Francesca's understanding of recent events with her mother's interpretation of them. Do you learn anything new from Francesca's perspective? How does point of view affect the way a reader understands a novel? 
How is Francesca's attitude different in this chapter than it has been in the past? 

Homework #51

Which of the following is not a reason why Chester feels the public is more likely to listen to Gervais than to him? 

Homework #52

Under her mother's watchful eye, Francesca is seeing a psychiatrist while she stays at the cabin. Is Francesca getting better or worse? How do point of view and perspective affect how you answer this question?  
Francesca is unsuccessful at rattling the priest, but she "wants to fluster him." Where else in the text do you see evidence that she is enjoying trying to manipulate him? Does this surprise you, given what you've known about her character before now? 

Homework #53

Even though some characters are losing conviction that Francesca can perform miracles, Sid remains unsure. How does the rose that bloomed symbolize some of the characters whose lives Francesca has touched, even if it wasn't through what most would consider a miracle? 
Why does Ronnie think that Sid should value Francesca? 
What does Rae mean when she says, "that's not what he needs"? 
When considering a character's actions, it's often important to know the character's motivation, or reason for action. In this case, even though Rae and Sid both decide to take Jonah to Francesca, they make that decision for different reasons. Where else have you seen character motivation affect what happens in this story? 

Homework #54

Which of the following is true about Chester's feelings about Francesca and her divinity? 

Homework #55

As Anne considers drug therapy as treatment for what she perceives to be mental illness in her daughter, compare this doctor's advice with what you have seen Chester experience. Why do you think Francesca and her mother are treated with more dignity than Chester? What larger point might the author be trying to make about mental illness? 
How has Anne changed since the beginning of the novel? 
Is Rae's reaction to seeing Francesca what you would expect from the mother of a child who is so ill? Again, how does Rae's behavior toward Jonah compare with Anne's toward Francesca? Continue to watch the themes of motherhood and neglect emerge in this section, the climax of the story. 
This section of the novel, in which a seriously ill Jonah is brought to Francesca for healing, is filled with action. It also serves as the climax, or turning point, of the novel. Watch the video below to learn more about plot structure. Why is structure important to a story such as this one, and how does this scene function as the novel's climax? (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #56

Why can't Francesca heal Jonah? 

Homework #57

What is the meaning of this description? 
Compare this scene with the one in which Rae washed Francesca's feet. Similar actions occur here, yet Rae's attitude is completely different. What point does the author seem to be making about rituals such as these? 

Homework #58

How has Rae changed as a result of Jonah's death? 
Although Anne has felt distrust and even hatred for Rae in the past, what does she realize that they have in common? What theme or themes related to motherhood does the author seem to have developed throughout the novel? 

Homework #59

How does this passage relate to the ongoing conflict between logic and intuition? 
Quiz, Parts 3-4 

Homework #61

What is the meaning of this simile? 
Once again, the reader can see an example of a paradox. Jonah's death is incredibly tragic, but it also has a significant positive outcome for the other characters. Where else have you seen evidence of paradox within the novel? 

Homework #62

What does the author's use of imagery when describing Sid's scars help the audience understand? 
Based on your understanding of her as a character, what does Francesca most likely mean by this statement? 

Homework #63

As a result of the conflict, Francesca emerges as a dynamic character, or one who changes over the course of the story. Watch the video below to learn more about static and dynamic characterization. Then, determine what other characters are dynamic.  (This annotation contains a video)
By including this scene in which Francesca plays her cello beautifully, the author continues to develop the idea of special abilities and talents hiding in ordinary people. How has the author developed the idea of the ordinary vs. the extraordinary throughout the novel? What other theme or themes have developed? 

Homework #64

Which type of figurative language does the author use in this passage? 

Homework #65

Which words in this passage help to establish a hopeful tone? 
Quiz, Part 5