Norwegian Wood

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Curriculet Details
84 Questions
87 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for high school students (grades 9-10) contains interactive videos exploring literary elements such as flashback and foreshadowing, as well as annotations describing Japanese food and culture and music from the 1960's and 1970's, including "Norwegian Wood" by The Beatles. Students will explore the themes of life and death and the nature of love and being in love. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension. **Teachers, please be aware that this novel contains explicit sexual language and adult themes. Please read this novel prior to allowing students access to it.**

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Chapter 1

Much of this story is told in flashback. The video below will give you an understanding of this literary device and why it is used to help tell a story. (This annotation contains a video)
The level of detail with which the field well is described has what effect on the reader? 
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? 
The picture below shows a cicada next to the molted shell. As you can imagine, the exoskeleton would be crunchy when stepped on. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Toru trying to do by saying the highlighted line? 

Chapter 2

What type of figurative language is being used in the highlighted section? 
The video below shows you the Japanese flag. You hear the national anthem in Japanese while reading English subtitles. What do you think it would be like to wake up to this each morning? (This annotation contains a video)
Why does everyone have such a negative reaction to the Amsterdam photo? 
A cartographer is a person who makes maps. Why might there be a need for people to make maps even though the layout of the world (countries, continents, cities, topography) isn't really changing? 
How is the exchange on this page typical of the relationship between Storm Trooper and Watanabe? 
Radio Calisthenics are literally exercises broadcast over the radio. They are still done in Japan, usually as a warmup in schools' physical education classes or by companies to promote good health and positive morale. What could be some of the pros and cons of having radio calisthenics every morning? 
What is Naoko trying to say on this page? Why is she asking to see Toru again? Use what you know of Naoko as a character to develop your answer. 
Mah-jongg is a matching tiles game that can be fun and challenging.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Toru want to get away from his town? 

Chapter 3

Has it occurred to you that Watanabe might be a bully? Read about bullying at the website below to see if anything he does fits the profile. At the website, you can also take a quiz to see if you are a bully. (This annotation contains a link)
Who is the "someone else" Naoko would need? 
The characters in this novel have referenced many areas of Japan. The map below may help you understand better what the characters are talking about. (This annotation contains an image)
Watanabe described what could be considered a terrific life that Nagasawa lives. Why would he say that Nagasawa lives "in his own personal hell"? Use what you learned about Nagasawa to help develop your response. 
Why does Nagasawa feel like he doesn't deserve a girl like Hatsumi? 
You can hear Naoko's favorite Henry Mancini song below. What do you think she likes about the song? (This annotation contains a video)
What is going on with Naoko? Why is she talking with such intensity? 
What has prevented Naoko from crying before now? 
Why is Watanabe treating women this way? 
Why does Naoko need to see a doctor and be treated in a sanatorium? 
Who could the firefly represent? 

Chapter 4

A kangaroo court is an assembly that completely disregards the law and holds no real authority nor commands any real respect. 
Do you think Watanabe will be happier living without Storm Trooper? Why or why not? Be sure to use what you know about Watanabe and his relationship with Storm Trooper to develop your response. 
"Far out" was a common slang phrase used by hippies to indicate that someone was cool. 
Why does Midori ask Watanabe if he likes green? 
"Lord Jim" is considered one of the top books in literature and is read widely in high schools and colleges.  
Which adage would fit the sentiment expressed here? 
This is an odd simile to use to describe how tired Midori feels. What is she trying to express to Watanabe about how tired she feels? 
Why does Midori talk about such a strange topic with Watanabe? 
Toru has an interesting way of looking at money. How do you think he would define "rich"? 
How could this speech by Midori be described? 
What assumption is being made about the flowers? 
Toru is referencing World War II here. 
Japanese food has adopted its own culinary styles based on which region of Japan it is from.  (This annotation contains an image)
Do you feel sorry for Midori? Why or why not? Be sure to use details from the text to develop and support your opinion. 
Uruguay is in South America. What are the differences between Japan and South America?  (This annotation contains an image)
What would Midori have expected to hear from her father? 
Why is their behavior "not admirable"? 
One of the more popular songs mentioned in this list is "Puff the Magic Dragon" which is still popular as a children's song today. You can hear it sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary below.  (This annotation contains a video)
What kind of relationship does Midori seem to want? 
Who is Toru talking about here? 
Which word describes Watanabe in this scene? 
Cafe au lait is coffee with hot milk added to it. Does this look like a drink you might enjoy? (This annotation contains an image)
How do the girls expect Watanabe to respond to the story? 
Quiz Chapters 1 - 4 

Chapter 5

Is Toru expressing something positive or negative here? 
Which statement would best reflect what the doctor meant in the highlighted passage? 
Daikon radishes do not look like what we are accustomed to seeing, the round, red radishes. The picture below shows a daikon radish. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 6

Bullet trains are known for their smooth ride at very high speeds. The video below shows one of Japan's bullet trains, which hit a record speed of 603 km/hr, which is the equivalent of almost 375 miles per hour! (This annotation contains a video)
"I said yes to keep it simple."What does Toru mean when he says the above statement? 
Seven Stars is a brand of Japanese cigarettes. 
What kinds of things might Naoko say about Toru to her roommate? Why would she say these things? Use what you know of Naoko and Toru's relationship to help you develop your answer. 
Medical costs in general are very high, but mental health costs can be extraordinary. Theabstract below shows what one study found to be average costs for psychiatric care. (This annotation contains a link)
What is Toru referring to? 
Reiko is referencing Holden Caufield, the main character in the novel "The Catcher in the Rye."  (This annotation contains an image)
Did the reunion of Toru and Naoko go as you expected? Why or why not? Use what you know of their relationship to help you develop your response. 
Woodblock printing goes as far back as the 8th century! Read more about it below and see some woodblock prints to get a better understanding of Toru's description of Naoko. (This annotation contains a link)
What justification does Toru have for his suspicion that the man might not really be a doctor? 
India ink is a simple black ink mostly used for drawing, especially comics. What is Toru trying to convey with this figurative language? 
The video below is the song "Norwegian Wood" with the lyrics. Watch the video, paying attention to the lyrics, making note of any that seem to apply to Toru and Naoko. Then answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a video)
The song "Norwegian Wood" is the namesake for the title of this book so it clearly has some significance. What parts of the song seem to apply to the book, specifically Toru and Naoko? Be sure to reference the words from the song as well as events from the story when developing your response. 
Do you think Kizuki and Naoko had a healthy relationship? 
How must Toru feel at this point? 
Do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing that people don't always speak everything that is on their minds? 
What is the metaphor being used in the highlighted passage? 
Is this true? Do women like their wrinkles, or do they like being complimented on them? 
The author is going to go through a long process of creating suspense and generating interest in Reiko's story. It starts with the foreshadowing in the highlighted passage. Watch the video below to gain more understanding about the role foreshadowing plays in a story.  (This annotation contains a video)
How is a relationship being built between Reiko and Toru? 
Read about Scheherazade at the website below in order to answer the question that follows.  (This annotation contains a link)
What does Toru mean in the comparison of Reiko to Scheherazade? 
Do all teenage girls write poetry? Do you know any teenage girls who like to write poetry?  
What is Naoko implying? 
This is an unusual way to look at love. Is it surprising that Naoko felt like she and Kizuki would have been doomed? 
Why does Toru say this seems like the "...continuation of his dream..."? 
Do you see the hints Toru is dropping to Naoko about the night's unusual event? 
"Proud Mary" is an iconic rock song.  
What is the conversation reminiscent of? 
"Spinning Wheel" is probably Blood, Sweat, and Tears's most familiar song. You can listen to it below. (This annotation contains a video)
Which topic would NOT be on the list of things for Toru and Naoko to discuss? 
Do you think Naoko means she contemplates suicide as well? 
What hobby of Toru's is Naoko referring to? 
Suicide is difficult to understand. The website below offers some insight into teen suicide, including warning signs and how to get help. (This annotation contains a link)
How must Naoko feel, having lost her sister and the man she loves, Kizuki, to suicide? Discuss the feelings she must have, using what you know of her from reading the book to develop your response. 
The picture below is of a record, which was played by a needle vibrating between grooves on the surface. It would be entirely possible to wear a record out by playing it so often. (This annotation contains an image)
What do you expect will happen on their walk? 
How do you eat grapes? Do you peel them and take out the seeds, or do you just pop them in your mouth with skin and seeds? 
Which is NOT a way the author is building suspense in Reiko's story? 
What was the first red flag that the girl was up to something more than just needing to lie down because she wasn't feeling well? 
The story Reiko tells is disturbing. Who is the victim here -- the young girl or Reiko? Why do you think this person is the victim? Explain your perspective by using information from the text as evidence. 
What kind of "illness" is Reiko referring to here? 
What clue was there that this rumor was going around about Reiko? 
Do you think it was the right thing for Reiko to divorce her husband? 
Have Naoko and Toru made progress? Have they finished all the business they needed to? Why or why not? Explain your position using references to the story. 
Have you ever heard a parrot talk?  (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Toru having such a hard time falling asleep? 

Chapter 7

Curry dishes are Asian in origin and tend to be spicy because curry is made from combinations of dried hot chiles. 
Why does Toru laugh and say that dumping his family, school, and Naoko sounds like a good idea? 
Ten-thousand yen is approximately equivalent to a little more than $80 US. 
Why is it a good thing that there are no trees for Midori to climb? 
It's apparent that Toru is uncomfortable with this conversation, but Midori doesn't seem to care. In fact, she is going to go into even more graphic conversation with Toru. Pay attention to the subtleties in his responses and reactions. 
Midori seems to talk about sex with Toru quite a bit. Is this the way she has always been or is she different? Why do you think this? Use details from the text in your answer to show what you have come to understand about Midori so far. 
The subjunctive form in English language arts is considered difficult to grasp. The site below offers a mini-lesson on it. Review it and see if it makes sense to you! (This annotation contains a link)
Which word would best describe Midori's mood right now? 
Umeboshi are pickled plums; they are very salty and tart. You can see umeboshi below. Nori is edible seaweed often used in sushi rolls. (This annotation contains an image)
What are the brackets (< >) around Midori's father's words indicating? 
Smoking was allowed in hospitals in the United States in the 1970's -- by visitors and patients! However, now that much more is known about the health dangers associated with smoking, it is no longer allowed in hospitals by staff, visitors, or patients. 
What is the doctor implying in the highlighted section? 
Miso soup, pictured below, is a popular Japanese dish. It is often served with tofu, seaweed, and scallions. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is NOT something Toru is trying to do while talking to Midori's father? 
Literally translated from Latin, deus ex machina means "god from the machine." It's generally considered an unfavorable literary device. Read more about it at the site below. The website even mentions Euripides! (This annotation contains a link)
Why do you think Midori's father responded favorably to Toru? Use what you have learned about Toru, Midori, and her father to help develop your answer. 
Midori is referencing the Great Kanto Earthquake, which had a devastating effect on Japan. Also mentioned in Midori's speech is Fukushima which suffered its own disaster as the result of an earthquake in 2011. You can read about both events at the site below. (This annotation contains a link)
Why is Midori referencing Japanese tragedies? Include evidence from the novel and the website above in your response. 
How would Naoko react if she had a full understanding of the relationship between Midori and Toru? Why would she feel that way? Use what you understand of Naoko and her relationship with Toru to help you write your response. 
Toru uses the metaphor "wind my spring" numerous times in his letter to Naoko. What does he mean by this expression? 

Chapter 8

There are definite benefits for being multilingual. Read about some of them below. Do you think Nagasawa will experience any of the positive consequences mentioned in the article? (This annotation contains a link)
Which word would NOT describe Nagasawa? 
What's the real reason he doesn't want to date any of the girls Hatsumi wants to set him up with? 
This dinner is going to turn interesting very quickly. Pay close attention to the way Nagasawa, Toru, and Hatsumi interact with each other to see each character's true colors. 
Compare and contrast Nagasawa and Watanabe. Are they more alike or are they more different? Be sure to use specific details from the novel in your response. 
Are you surprised by the candor and bluntness in this exchange between Nagasawa and Hatsumi? 
Which word would best describe this dinner? 
Toru is hinting at something here. 
Why did Toru say his friend died in a traffic accident? 
Is Toru more insulting or complimentary to Nagasawa in this description? 
Which word describes Hatsumi's attitude in regards to her relationship with Nagasawa? 
The article below discusses what someone might feel after a loved one commits suicide. Read the article. Decide if Toru should feel guilty about not thinking of Kizuki right away when he was playing pool with Hatsumi. (This annotation contains a link)
Quiz Chapters 5 - 8 

Chapter 9

What does Toru mean in the highlighted metaphor? 
A black funeral kimono differs from a regular kimono in that all accessories are black and there are no decorative elements. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Midori spends time thinking about Toru when she has a boyfriend? Explain your ideas by using what you know about Midori in your writing. 
Why does Midori talk about these things? Why does she talk about them with Toru? 
Using the bathroom is a normal human function, but it can sometimes by tricky in different countries!  
What is wrong with Midori? 
Why would Watanabe be hurt by the conversation on this page? 
Why does Toru come to Nagasawa's window instead of going into the dorm through the doors? 
This breakfast is similar to a traditional Japanese breakfast. Which items did Toru mention that are also on the website below?  (This annotation contains a link)

Chapter 10

Cross country skiing is one of the most celebrated aerobic activities in the fitness world.  
Why does Naoko engage in one-sided sexual activity with Toru? 
From what you know of Nagasawa, what do you think his new apartment will be like? 
What does Midori's sister mean when she uses the highlighted simile? 
Hearing voices is most commonly associated with severe mental illness, schizophrenia in particular. Consider Naoko's history and what events she has been through that might cause her to be so mentally ill that she seems unable to recover and now is starting to hear voices. 
Which of the following is NOT a word to describe how Toru is feeling? 
Does Toru mean he grew up, meaning he has matured, or grew up meaning he has had to face some things he shouldn't have ever had to face? 
How would you describe Toru and Midori's relationship? Write a short analysis of it, being sure to use specific references to events from the text in your analysis. 
Take a moment to go back and skim the interactions between Toru and Midori. Does Toru seem distant? Is Midori justified in her anger? 
What role does Itoh play in Toru's life right now? 
Is Toru referencing Midori or Naoko here? 
Why does Toru bring this subject up so suddenly? 
Their lunch was likely served in a bento box. You can see how it is partitioned and lacquered in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
Is the fact that Midori and Toru love each other a surprise or a shock to you? Why or why not? Explain your response making references to how their relationship developed. 
Do you have an opinion about who Toru should be with, Naoko or Midori? 
If you are like Midori and wonder what ants do in the rain, the website below has your answer! (This annotation contains a link)
What is Midori saying she loves about Toru? 
Do you agree with Reiko? Is it possible for Toru to love both Naoko and Midori, just in different ways and for different things? 
Which is NOT a role Reiko plays for Toru? 

Chapter 11

An extended metaphor is going to be used in the next few paragraphs to describe how memories of Naoko impact Toru. Can you identify the extended metaphor? What does it convey to you as you read? 
Why might Toru lie about who died? 
If you use the Define feature for this word, you won't get the pronunciation or meaning intended in this sentence. Here, the word is pronounced to rhyme with "hockey." It is referring to an alcoholic Japanese drink that is made from fermented rice. 
Why is Reiko scared? 
Reiko is probably referring to sweets that often accompany tea in Japan, much like the ones pictured below. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Toru want to hear the story of Naoko's death? 
Why would it not have been quite so shocking if something sexual had happened between Reiko and Naoko? 
Sometimes people exhibit signs that they might be seriously contemplating suicide. Take a look at some of those possible signs at the site below. Did Naoko show any of the warning signs listed there? (This annotation contains a link)
What does Toru mean by the highlighted sentences? 
What makes this such a powerful statement? 
Do you think this is a natural progression in Reiko and Toru's relationship? Why or why not? Use what you know of these characters and their interactions to help develop your response. 
Theme is the underlying message in a story. As you watch this video, think about what themes are developing in this novel.  (This annotation contains a video)
The image below shows Asahikawa. Does it look like a nice town, someplace you might like to visit?  (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz Chapters 9 - 11