St. Lucys Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
A San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year In these ten glittering stories, debut author Karen Russell takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades. Here wolf-like girls are reformed by nuns, a family makes their living wrestling alligators in a theme park, and little girls sail away on crab shells. Filled with stunning inventiveness and heart, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves introduces a radiant new writer. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Ava Wrestles the Alligator
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 select 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?
Wow! This text is already rich with descriptive language. The first two paragraphs provide an excellent example of imagery. Watch the video below to learn more about how writers use this device. (This annotation contains a video)
"Tradition is important, the Chief says, as promotional materials are expensive."What is the meaning of the highlighted sentence?
The ghostly lights that the narrator refers to are called will-o'-the-wisps. They are glowing images caused by natural gases in swamps, bogs, and marshes. Folklore from all around the world includes creepy tales in which will-o'-the-wisps are depicted as ghosts and other restless spirits. You can see an artist's depiction of this phenomenon below. (This annotation contains an image)
If you're curious about the sound an alligator makes, watch the video below. The experience may help you to envision the scene. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following options BEST describes how Ava reacts emotionally to the Bird Man?
Consider the contents of the following video, which explains how readers must sometimes make inferences when examining textual evidence. What inference can you make about Ava based upon the way that she slinks back into the house? (This annotation contains a video)
How is the desolate setting beginning to affect Ava?
Watch the following video and ask yourself: what words best describe the tone and mood created by the language in this scene? (This annotation contains a video)
Which phrase from the highlighted paragraph does NOT contribute towards the surreal, lonesome mood of the scene?
In the highlighted text, the author uses a metaphor comparing lizards to "flakes of living armor." View the video below to review simile and metaphor. (This annotation contains a video)
In the last few paragraphs of the story, the meaning behind the title, Ava Wrestles the Alligator, becomes clear. The title is a ______ comparing ______ to an alligator.
The name of the vessel translates to "The Skull." Does this choice seem fitting for the dismal scene?
What does Wallow believe about the goggles?
This line lets you know that the narrator is going into a flashback. Watch the video below and consider why the author would have chosen to include a flashback. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the effect of the author's choice to end the flashback with this line?
What is the author foreshadowing in the highlighted lines? Why would the author choose to insert foreshadowing right before a break in the text? Watch this video to review how authors use foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the author use hyperbole in the highlighted line of text? What point is she trying to make about Granana? Explain.
Is this really a coincidence? You should be able to make an inference about where the money is coming from.
Watch the video below to review personification in preparation for the next question. (This annotation contains a video)
Which two words in the highlighted sentence make the line an example of personification?
This is an example of an allusion, or when an author makes a reference to another literary work, historical figure, or well-known place. Authors usually do not explain allusions, but expect you to make connections on your own. Here, the author is alluding to Greek myths about divine justice like the short myth linked below. She expects you to already be familiar with stories like this. (This annotation contains a link)
Some sea creatures, like those in the photograph below, produce a bioluminescent glow. Do these creatures look a little creepy to you? (This annotation contains an image)
In the highlighted paragraphs, Timothy's _____ tone adds to the _____ mood of the scene.
"Olivia could be everywhere."What do you believe is the author's intended meaning of the highlighted line? Why do you think the author chose to end the story so abruptly at this point?Explain your answers in 3-4 sentences.
Z.Z.'s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers
Which of the following is the BEST inference to make from the highlighted paragraph?
This is another example of an allusion. An incubus is a mythological male spirit who was said to have sexual relations with unwitting females as they slept. Pictured below is a famous painting depicting an incubus. The Nightmare was painted in 1781 by Henry Fuseli. (This annotation contains an image)
Why are the Somnabulists MOST LIKELY wearing leashes?
It is quite clear that sleep disorders are a motif in this short story. Watch the video about motifs below and watch out for any other motifs which may develop over the course of the story as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
Notice the manner in which the author uses the term "caught" in the highlighted sentence. Felipe "caught" a ghost as one catches a disease, not as one catches up to or locates someone else.
The highlighted paragraph uses _______ in reference to the disaster of Pompeii.
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey and several other foods, is thought to promote sleep.
How does Elijah (the narrator) respond to Heimdall's death? Why does he feel this way?
The phrase "friendly menace" is an example of an oxymoron because it seems to contradict itself. Note the other examples of oxymoron in the image below. Can you create your own oxymoron? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following options is a central theme in this short story? Choose the BEST response.
The author may be literally or figuratively speaking in the highlighted text. The sheep may be physically heavy, but the discomfort and repulsion associated with carrying the body may "weigh" upon the narrator as well. Check out the video below to review figurative versus literal language. (This annotation contains a video)
Consider why Oglivy and Elijah have a special bond. Why might Oglivy have been reluctant to admit to his friend that he has no longer been having visions?
Quiz 1: Stories 1 - 3
What major shift in perspective does Elijah experience in this story?
The Star-Gazer's Log of Summer-Time Crime
Which of the following options BEST describes how the structural choice to include the highlighted statements at the beginning of the story affects the text?
Did you recognize this as an example of alliteration? If not, check out the link below to refresh your memory about this literary device. (This annotation contains a link)
Watch the video below to learn about archetypes. Which character behaves like an archetypal bully? Which character fits the archetype of the "nerdy" outcast? (This annotation contains a video)
How does the author characterize the girl in the highlighted paragraph?
Wow! Is this the kind of behavior you expected from this character based on her appearance?
When DIRECT characterization is used, an author tells you about a character's qualities outright. "Raffy is an unkind person" is an example of DIRECT characterization. INDIRECT characterization requires the reader to make inferences about the character's personality. Watch the video below about INDIRECT characterization and note how Raffy is indirectly characterized here. (This annotation contains a video)
Which option BEST describes Raffy's effect on Ollie (the narrator)?
You can see Alcyone label in the image below. Molly is kidding about the narrator having a "hot date;" he left to go star-gazing. (This annotation contains an image)
The kids engage in unkind but fairly harmless pranks, and you can infer that their behavior is MOST LIKELY caused by ______.
Are the narrator and his sister having an INTERNAL or an EXTERNAL conflict? The video below can help you to review and decide. (This annotation contains a video)
Explain what you think Marta's wish is and why Ollie MOST LIKELY cuts her off before she shares the wish.
Were you also surprised to hear Raffy use the word "orating"? There may be more to him than just what fits the 'dumb bully' stereotype! Sometimes characters (and people) can surprise you.
This is a clever pun. A pun is a joke that is made using a word or phrase with multiple meanings. To be waylaid means to be detained or held up. Can you think of some other puns you have heard? (This annotation contains an image)
What is MOST LIKELY the author's purpose for inserting the highlighted paragraph, which is an excerpt from the Ollie's space guidebook?
Do you sense the mood of the story changing at this point, becoming increasingly troubled and dark?
Watch the video below and consider the pacing in this scene. It will help you to answer the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Consider the highlighted paragraph. Does the author use slow and deliberate or fast and action-filled pacing to draw out the scene and add tension to the plot? Explain your answer using details from the story.
Consider: how does the pacing of this scene suddenly shift?
Consider how Raffy is indirectly characterized here. Do you find yourself having an emotional reaction towards him? A good author can cause you to feel strong emotions towards a character, even though you know that the character is fictional.
Which character is bullied by Raffy in this story?
From Children's Reminiscences of the Westward Migration
Note the allusion to the biblical story of Adam and Eve in the highlighted paragraph. Follow the link below and read the section titled "Adam and Eve" as well as the section titled "The Fall." This will help you answer the following question. (This annotation contains a link)
"If my father was the apple-biter, my mother was his temptress Eve."Now that you are familiar with the biblical story of Adam and Eve, make a comparison. How are the narrator's parents similar to Adam and Eve? What object is the narrator's father tempted with that could be compared to the forbidden fruit in the biblical story?
Earlier in the text, the narrator refers to his father as "the Minotaur." It now becomes clear that this is an example of literal, not figurative language. This character really is a mythological creature like the one pictured below. The Minotaur is a figure associated with Greek mythology. (This annotation contains an image)
Did you notice the oxymoron here?
There are several literary devices used by the author in the highlighted paragraph. Which choice lists two of the literary devices found in this section of the text?
Consider that Velina urged her husband to join the westward migration. Do you find it to be ironic that she is making this statement now?
Which of the following could be consider a central theme in this short story?
How do the highlighted lines of text relate to the central theme of the story?
Why does the author MOST LIKELY include the highlighted paragraph at this point in the story?
Does the journey seem to be growing increasingly difficult for the travelers?
A whiffletree is used to help distribute force evenly. This mechanism would be most commonly used to help animals pull loads. The photograph below gives you an example of what a whiffletree looks like. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the real reason behind Mr. Grouse's accusation?
Borax is the common name for a mineral also known as sodium tetraborate. Borax is used in household products such as detergents and insecticides. Alum, pictured below in crystalline form, is a similar mineral salt. (This annotation contains an image)
Follow the link below to learn more about euphemisms and to read examples of this literary device. You will probably find that you are already familiar with several euphemisms. (This annotation contains a link)
What is the mood of this scene? Select and list four words from the highlighted paragraph that help to develop this mood.
What do you think about the way that the author chose to structure the conclusion of the story? Do you like the open ending and having the ability to imagine the rest of the journey for yourself, or would you prefer more closure?
Lady Yeti and the Palace of Artificial Snows
Which of the following options BEST describes Badger's effect on the narrator?
Though the author is vague, the reader gets the sense that she is implying some level of animal cruelty in these statements.
Which of the following terms best describes the narrator's tone at this point in the text?
Does the name Chief Bigtree seem familiar to you? It is the name of Ava's father in the first story in this collection. What context clue tells you that the author is referring to the exact same character?
Why does the author insert a page break immediately before the highlighted paragraph?
Think back to the annotation about puns. Can you identify how the author is making a pun here?
It seems like the purpose of the Blizzard is to provide a social opportunity during which it is acceptable for adults to flirt aggressively with each other. Does this revelation match your expectation of the event?
Explain why Badger is attacking this woman.
As you watch the following video about tension, consider what is causing the tension in the current scene. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the narrator MOST LIKELY feel to find that his father is home instead of at the Blizzard?
Do you recognize the highlighted text as an example of onomatopoeia? If not, check out the link below for a quick review of the term. (This annotation contains a link)
A Zamboni, pictured below, is a large machine used to resurface the ice in skating and hockey rinks. (This annotation contains an image)
The City of Shells
What does the author mean by the phrase "Sisyphean fury" in the highlighted text? Use evidence from the myth of Sisyphus and "The City of Shells" to support your response.
Follow the link below to read the Greek myth of Sisyphus. It will help you to answer the following question. (This annotation contains a link)
Where do you remember this character from? Are the stories in this collection starting to come together somewhat?
You can infer that Mr. Pappadakis is MOST LIKELY Big Red's
The image below will give you an idea of a conch's structure. Use it to visualize Big Red going deeper into the shell. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the purpose of the author's choice to insert a page break between the two highlighted lines?
Keep in mind that not all allusions are literary in nature. What does this one mean and to whom does it refer?
Which option accurately describes the structure of this story?
Think back to the video you watched on characterization. Is Big Red being directly or indirectly characterized here, and how would you describe her character?
Follow the link below to learn about Rorshach tests, then answer the following questions:http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/509580/Rorschach-TestWhat literary device does the author use in the highlighted text? What is the meaning of the highlighted text?
Consider who you would identify as the antagonist in this short story.
Which of the following options BEST identifies the theme of "The City of Shells"?
Quiz 2: Stories 4 - 7
Out to Sea
Which two terms in the letter are contradictory?
Watch the video below to review the difference between static and dynamic characters. Already, Sawtooth is emerging as a dynamic character. How has he changed? (This annotation contains a video)
The title of this short story, "Out to Sea," refers to the name of
The highlighted text contains an IMPLIED metaphor, which compares the girl to a fish. Click the link below to read about implied metaphors and to view some examples of this literary device. (This annotation contains a link)
Notice how the author inserts a little melancholy humor into the story in various places.
What effect does the girl have on Sawtooth? Explain in your own words, in 2-3 sentences.
Idioms are commonly used phrases which mean something quite different that what they directly state. You can learn more about the etymology of the idiom in the highlighted text by visiting the link below, if you are curious. You have probably heard several other idioms before, such as "it's raining cats and dogs," and "don't let the cat out of the bag." (This annotation contains a link)
Sawtooth declare that he does not care that the girl is stealing from him?
Which of the following options best describes the mood created by the author in this particular scene?
In your opinion, does the ending of this short story signal Sawtooth's death, or just his lonely state?
Accident Brief, Occurrence # 00/422
Waitiki Valley and Oamaru are real places in New Zealand. You can see an Oamaru beach below. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted line is an example of a detail which helps you to identify the text as a work of the ________ genre.
"Moa" is likely intended to refer to the Maori people. If you are interested in ancient history, you can read about the Moa Hunter Period of Maori culture at the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
"... Waitiki's history has been retrofitted to the demands of rhyme and meter."In your own words, please explain the meaning of the highlighted quote. Also identify a literary device used by the author within the quote.
Cinnamon bears, like the one pictured below, are a particular color variety of the American black bear. Does it surprise you to learn that black bears are not always black? (This annotation contains an image)
How is the relationship between Tek and Rangi beginning to change?
What clues may have foreshadowed this crash?
This is another example of an indirect metaphor. What is being compared to a contagious disease?
What was MOST LIKELY the cause of the crash?
How many different types of figurative language are you able to identify within the highlighted text?
Think back to earlier in the story. Why were even the pirates who buried the treasure unable to uncover it?
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
Keep in mind that the title of this story was also chosen to be the title of the book. Why do you think Karen Russell chose to name the collection after this story? Why do you think she saved this story for last? Keep these questions in mind as you read.
What is being personified in the highlighted line of text?
Notice how the author subtly incorporates the details of the setting into the story. Can you imagine this forest hideaway in your mind?
Although "middle of the pack" is a common idiom, why is it especially fitting here?
St. Francis of Assisi, show in the painting below, is the patron saint of animals. (This annotation contains an image)
_________ can be considered a major theme in this short story.
What does this detail reveal about the narrator?
Wild Mirabella and mild mannered Jeanette are opposites and could be considered character foils for one another. Follow the link below to read more about character foils in literature. (This annotation contains a link)
Are you surprised that this happened?
Quiz 3: Stories 8 - 10