The Scarlet Plague
This novella explores life following a devastating plague that wipes out most of humanity. (From feedbooks.com)
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Jack London is well known for his extensive use of natural imagery. This video highlights the function of imagery in literary works. As you read the novella, be sure to take notes on key images. (This annotation contains a video)
Considering the provided details, what should an informed reader be able to recall about the old man and the boy?
Have you ever seen a grizzly bear up close? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the boy ask "What is money, Granser?"
The Scarlet Plague was published in 1912 in London Magazine. Doing some quick math, the author was projecting 100 years in the future.
This paragraph contains some very vivid word choice: crevasse, culvert, and transfixed to mention a few. A writer's diction can be helpful in unlocking the characters, plot, and theme of a novel. As you continue reading, consider words which London has carefully chosen to convey a specific meaning. (This annotation contains a video)
Jack London uses the phrase "true savages" to describe the boys. Based on this, how does London define savage behavior?
The idea of respecting one's elders is a common theme in literature. Think of another novel, play, short story, or poem that you have read that included this theme. Write 5 to 7 sentences summarizing your chosen work of literature.
The Golden Gate Bridge is an icon of the San Francisco landscape. (This annotation contains an image)
This Biblical allusion offers an interesting connection. Consider how this story adds meaning to this passage and, as you read, to the text as a whole. (This annotation contains a video)
Use the Define feature to explore the meaning of progeny. What word below is the best replacement for the word as used in the given sentence?
Lake Temescal is a recreation area near Berkeley, California. (This annotation contains an image)
The Industrial Magnates can be best described as _____________________________.
Consider the speech patterns, diet, and customs of our human ancestors. Recently, publicity has been given to the "Paleo diet" which is supposed to follow what cavemen and cavewomen hunted and ate. (This annotation contains a link)
Do you believe that humans are naturally cruel or naturally kind? Write 5 to 7 sentences which discuss your stance and provide specific examples from other novels, stories or life experience.
This passage includes a detailed explanation of the means of counting. How does this passage explain the thought process and education level of the characters?
The University of California at Berkeley is the first college established in the public chain of schools in the University of California system. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the old man say that food is "the most wonderful achievement of our tremendous civilization"?
The old man attempts to explain that the "best ultramicroscopes could make a germ look forty thousand times larger". (This annotation contains an image)
As the Old Man reveals his genealogy, he also includes information about the lineage of others. Which character is from the Sacramento family line?
How was Pantoblast Plague, which appeared in 1984, different from the plagues that came before?
"Contagion" is a 1994 movie that follows a similar plot. Watch the linked trailer and think about a recent movie, books, or current event which mirrors the depicted situation. (This annotation contains a video)
As chapter three begins and as you continue reading, think about London's structure. Why is the novella divided in to just six chapters?
What made this sickness different from others?
Bacteriologists are hard at work on modern issues. Read one article and record a recent finding that has decreased the incidence or advanced the cure rate of a current health issue. (This annotation contains a link)
Imagine this scene from Miss Collbran's perspective. Rewrite the action from a first person point of view.
London clearly describes the character's feelings about the deaths. What parts of the plague were especially troubling to him?
After natural disasters, many densely populated cities experience looting. Search for some images and news reports of recent looting incidents. (This annotation contains an image)
Use the Define feature to learn the meaning of ubiquitous. What word is the best antonym, or word opposite in meaning?
Some of the Industrial Magnates were able to escape the plague by evacuating via airship. Which of the following statements best summarizes an unanticipated consequence of this action?
Think of a piece of art, a verse from a song, or a well-known quotation which reflects the content and mood of this passage.
This statement highlights one of the developing themes of the novella. Watch the video below to learn more about theme. As the novella advances towards its conclusion, consider two or three themes that London has developed. (This annotation contains a video)
Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness, echoes similar themes as the one described in this passage. Lord of the Flies by William Golding is another work of literature with a similar worldview. (This annotation contains a link)
Discuss how this quote about the reality of death relates to London's central theme.
Point Pinole is a place where oysters once thrived. (This annotation contains an image)
According to the text, what does it mean to be a hero?
A charnel house is a mass grave. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following best paraphrases the quote: "My first impulse was to shoot him, and I have never ceased regretting that I did not."
Could the Shetland pony serve as a symbol? If so, what does it symbolize? Watch the video below about symbolism. (This annotation contains a video)
Compare and contrast this description of food with the meals consumed as Chapter 1 began. How does food play a role in London's novella?
A character "left behind" after humanity is wiped out is bound to experience loneliness. In several sentences, describe how the characters loneliness deepens in the retelling of this action.
Use the Define feature to uncover the meaning of prolixity. What word would serve as the best antonym, or word opposite in meaning?
This map shows Oakland in relationship to some of the other cities mentioned in the text. It is interesting to consider how long it might have taken for characters to travel between various points. (This annotation contains a link)
Consider the statement: "He was a violent, unjust man. Why the plague germs spared him I can never understand." Analyze the speaker's worldview in recalling this scene.
Explain how the Chauffeur became coupled with Vesta.
Unrequited love drives the plot of many important and interesting works of literature. Think of a play, novel, or short story that develops action through a thwarted relationship.
Art and literature are sustaining to many scholars. Watch this video clips from "Dead Poet's Society'. In the clip, the teacher poses the question of how young people can use literature as an inspiration. (This annotation contains a video)
The Garden of Eden is described in the Bible's first book, the Book of Genesis. (This annotation contains an image)
The Straits of Carquinez provide access for ships to come waterside industries. (This annotation contains an image)
According to the speaker, what will be required for the "recivilization of the planet"?
This link has an interesting description of cave drawings as forms of communication. Think of two or three symbols that Granser and the boys might have used to communicate in writing. (This annotation contains a link)
What impact will gunpowder have on their community?
The novella ends with a collection of visual imagery that mirrors the imagery from the start of the tale.