Moonfleet is a tale of smuggling by the English novelist J. Meade Falkner, first published in 1898. The book was extremely popular among children worldwide up until the 1970s, mostly for its themes of adventure and gripping storyline. It remains a popular story widely read and is still sometimes studied in schools. The novel is set in a fishing village in Dorset during the mid 18th century. The story concerns a 15 year old orphan boy, John Trenchard, who becomes friends with an older man who turns out to be the leader of a gang of smugglers. (From feedbooks.com)
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Chapter 1 - IN MOONFLEET VILLAGE
Did you know this novel was written in 1898? That means you are reading a book that is over 100 years old! "Moonfleet" remained a popular read for for over 70 years as it reached worldwide success. This is one of the best known works of author John Meade Falkner. (This annotation contains an image)
The protagonist, or main character, is John Trenchard. He is also narrating the text, which means the story is being told from his perspective.
What does it mean that "the boy paid dear for his night's frolic"?
Why is being asked to the Why Not? such an honor to John?
If you are unsure of what a word means or how it is being used, 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. Be sure to use this feature as you read. What does "Providence" mean in this sentence?
What evidence would you use to support John's hesitation to visit the cemetery at night?
Chapter 2 - THE FLOODS
Keep track of the chapter titles and the quotes that follow. Do you see a relationship between these two?
Notice how John is hinting at the impact the storm had on his life. This is an example of foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
Explain the message in Mr. Glennie's sermon. Why do you think John likes this comparison?
What can you conclude about Ratsey's reasoning for scaring John?
Keep track of this idea and how it motivates John.
What does this statement reveal about Ratsey?
Hmm, no noises and no Elzevir. Doesn't it seem a bit weird that the day Elzevir decides to attend church the noises occur too?
Chapter 3 - A DISCOVERY
Notice how the diamond is mentioned again and how John is motivated by the idea of wealth. This pursuit also ties in John's solo adventure as a theme to keep track of.
What does this interaction reveal about Aunt Jane?
John realizes that the boat is being used to smuggle contraband (illegal) goods.
Explain how this discovery could create conflict for John as he continues to search for the diamond. Reference John's interactions with Ratsey to support your response.
John's fear is illustrated through metaphor to better convey emotion to the reader. A metaphor is a comparison of two or more things. Unlike similes, metaphors do not use "like" or "as" in the comparison. Does John's use of metaphor help you visualize his fear?
Chapter 4 - IN THE VAULT
John's situation is exactly as Ratsey warned would happen to meddling boys, yet John finds solace in Ratsey's arrival. Do you think Ratsey would be equally as pleased to see John?
How is John creating conflict and tension for the smugglers?
Aha! Now you know why Ratsey is so eager to scare the boys with tales of Blackbeard.
What conclusions can you draw from John's sudden realization of the value of his life?
John relates his ________ to the feeling of almost drowning to convey the impact it has on his body.
The locket is around the size of the coin shown below. (This annotation contains an image)
John is trapped in the vault! How do you think he is going to react? Pay attention to how John plans his escape.
How is John's ability to cope and think clearly related to growing up without parents and in Aunt Jane's care?
A tinderbox is a small container that holds tools for starting a fire. Watch the clip below to see an example of what John is trying to do. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 5 - THE RESCUE
Explain how the quotes at the start of each chapter hint at what is to come. What can you infer about Chapter Five based on this quote by Byron?
Why do you think Elzevir is so kind to John? How does their interactions connect to the death of Elzevir's son?
Use the Define feature to look up the meaning of scurvy. Based on the definition, how does the use of scurvy affect the tone of the conversation?
What conclusions can you draw about Elzevir based on his reaction?
Chapter 6 - AN ASSAULT
Why do you think Maskew is so angry and bitter? Notice the effort he puts in to making other people miserable. Keep track of his interactions with John.
Maskew just slapped Mr. Glennie with a very ugly fish. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapters 1-6 Quiz
Chapter 7 - AN AUCTION
Mr. Maskew is a true example of an antagonist. Not only does he create conflict and tension for Elzevir, but also for the entire town (and with pleasure). (This annotation contains a video)
Explain Maskew's motivation in bidding against Elzevir. What does this conflict reveal about Maskew? Use text evidence to support your response.
Notice the weight of John's realization and the lack of power Elzevir has against Maskew. Pay attention to how this conflict shapes the plot and motivation of characters.
What does John mean by this statement?
How is the motto on the backgammon board related to theme?
Chapter 8 - THE LANDING
St. Malo is a walled city on the coast of northern France. (This annotation contains an image)
A score is equal to a measure of 20 years. Based on the note, what age is Blackbeard referring to?
Why do you think John feels weary of Maskew's doings? What do you think Maskew is up to?
Notice how John's hatred toward Maskew isn't enough to make John want him dead. What does this reveal about John's character?
Explain the impact of this scene on John and why seeing "a fellow creature abused" overwhelms him. Use textual evidence to support your response.
Chapter 9 - A JUDGEMENT
Compare this quote to the conflict between Elzevir and Maskew. What can you infer about the state of their quarrel?
Notice how seeing Grace's resemblance in Maskew affects John's thinking and motivation. How do you think John will act based on this change of heart? (This annotation contains a video)
What can you conclude about Elzevir's views based on John's change of heart?
Did you catch on to who Maskew is yelling to? If he is yelling to shoot, who do you think he is talking to?
Chapter 10 - THE ESCAPE
What does Elzevir mean by saying "If thou art content to hang thy life upon a hair"?
An omen is a warning of things to come. Notice how John accepts the sheep as an ill omen but never cared to accept the curse of the diamond.
Did you know words can have multiple meanings? Use the Define feature and determine which definition best suits John's situation.
John is able to overcome his fear and ________ when he sees the men below.
How does John's guilt and worry for Grace illustrate his values?
A rook is a bird similar to a crow. (This annotation contains an image)
What advantage would the farm boy have in revealing Elzevir and John to the authorities?
Purbeck Marble was used to build churches as well as for decoration and alters inside the church. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain how tales of the Mandrive and Blackbead shape the society. What role do these stories play in how people act or think?
Chapter 11 - THE SEA-CAVE
How did the farm boy use the missing men to his advantage?
John mentioned the importance of the red book when he first received it. Reread this statement and see if you can come up with a reason why it would become so important.
Did you know that if you add "like" or "as" to a metaphor you create a simile? Comparing the seaweed to the underbelly of a boat is an example of simile in this instance. See if you can spot more similes as the chapter continues.
What caused Ratsey to not reveal himself to John sooner?
Chapter 12 - A FUNERAL
Notice how vivid the description is in this statement. Describing the sparks as dancing through the cave is an example of personification. (This annotation contains a video)
Why did Ratsey have difficulty finding time to visit John and Elzevir?
Explain why the men decided to help with the casket and the women and children sat peacefully during the funeral. What lesson does this change of heart illustrate?
John doesn't want to hear about why he can't be with Grace. Ramsey's nagging irritates John because it disrupts the only happy thoughts John has.
What connection is John making in this statement? Based on his prior strange thoughts, what do you think will happen next?
How is finding the treasure related to Grace?
What does Elzevir's reaction reveal?
Chapters 7-12 Quiz
This idea also ties back to the pursuit of adventure as a theme. John has encountered many adventures and through each one has learned something about himself. His journey is shaping his future as he overcomes each obstacle.
Chapter 13 - AN INTERVIEW
What is Elzevir saying about John's real purpose in returning to Moonfleet?
Make note of Elzevir's kindness and patience with John. Elzevir does his best to accommodate John's request, but also makes a point to teach the boy the value of his life.
John is very aware of his surroundings and is reflective of his own actions. Note the realization he is making in this statement and the impact it has on his future.
How has Maskew's death affected Grace's appearance?
Compare Grace's warning to John's motivation in finding the diamond. How does John's dismissal of the curse create conflict in his pursuit to win Grace's hand in marriage? Use textual evidence to support your response.
Do you think John actually hears Grace's warning and gives it any thought?
Chapter 14 - THE WELL-HOUSE
"The air was very close," means that there was no fresh air to move the heat and odor of all the men. Instead, the air felt too warm and thick from the amount of people in small space.
Chapter 15 - THE WELL
Explain how the author has developed John's point of view regarding the diamond through Grace's warnings and John's desire for wealth. How do the two ideas motivate John's thinking and actions?
Notice that the "Y" shape has reappeared and the symbolism it has for John. What does this image represent to John? (This annotation contains a video)
This warning has come full circle and John finally believes that the diamond is cursed. How do you think this will affect John's friendship with Elzevir?
Chapter 16 - THE JEWEL
Explain how this quote relates to the reality of finding such a treasure.
Notice the power the diamond has over John. With it in his possession, John is taking too much pleasure in the beauty and possibility it possesses.
What can you infer about Elzevir's motivation in mentioning such an idea. What does he hope to gain by influencing John like this? Use textual evidence to support your response.
Notice the amount of pressure John is putting on his decisions and actions. The suspense of this scene helps readers better understand John's mindset.
Describe the impact of Mr. Aldobrand's comment and the ripple effect it will have on both John and Elvezir.
Mr. Aldobrand is cursing Elzevir and John by wishing a blight on them.
Explain the importance of John's reflection on Mr. Glennie's sermon and how it applies to his current situation.
In Robinson Crusoe (title character pictured below), finding the footprint was a major turning point in the novel. John's mention of this scene illustrates the impact the footprint has on John and his search for the diamond. (This annotation contains an image)
John is definitely obsessed with the diamond. How does this create conflict?
How does greed motivate the merchant to cheat John and Elzevir? How does this relate to the idea of the diamond being cursed?
Chapter 17 - AT YMEGUEN
Elzevir and John have a huge disadvantage in arguing against Mr. Aldobran because they do not have equal social status. Mr. Aldobrand is able to use his influence as a respected community member to sway the court in his favor.
Explain how John mourning the loss of his childhood is founded on his experience hunting for the diamond. How are these thoughts different from any of John's other daydreams?
What other instance can you recall where "Y" has been used as a symbol?
John is branded on his face to publicly display his criminal status. Think of the impact this will have on his life outside of jail.
Chapter 18 - IN THE BAY
What can you conclude about why the prisoners are not talking with each other?
Elzevir is referring to sugar cane. He is also alluding to the fact that the ship might sink and there will be 40 less slaves to harvest the cane. (This annotation contains an image)
Can you believe they are heading to Moonfleet? Notice how Elzevir's sense of hope and worth is heightened by this discovery.
What is John explaining in this statement?
The author uses ________ in describing, "the shrieking of the wind."
Elzevir continues to protect John and keep him motivated to survive. What else does Elzevir mean in saying, "Take heart, lad...'tis now or never"?
Chapter 19 - ON THE BEACH
Notice the impact of both word choice and figurative language in this sentence. Can you imagine how the news hit John and slowly sunk in?
Why do you think Elzevir risked his own safety to help John?
Why are the men so fascinated with John treating Elzevir's body with such tenderness?
Elzevir is being laid out in the same room that was used when his son David died.
John is acknowledging the irony of Grace's praise of Elzevir and the connection back to Maskew's death as the first conflict in their journey.
Explain Grace's view of John's mark and what it represents. How does Grace connect the mark to her first warning about the diamond?
Mr. Aldobrand's life didn't become lavish and wonderful from the diamond, but the opposite. Do you believe in the curse now or it just a coincidence?
What can you infer from John's claim he is not "without hope"?
Chapters 13-19 Quiz