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English: Week 2 Lesson 2

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Liam Brooks

on 2 February 2017

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Transcript of English: Week 2 Lesson 2

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Prompt: "I didn't come to Utah to be the same boy I'd been before. I had my own dreams of transformation, Western dreams, dreams of freedom...The first thing I wanted to do was change my name." - p.7.
Five minutes
Silent writing.
Any response at all to the prompt is fine, but if you're stuck, perhaps write about...
What Jack might have been thinking about on the ride to Utah.
What the older Jack (many years later) would think of this moment of optimism.
5-minute quick write
Brief recap of last lesson
- List of ten words about
This Boy's Life
, with the most important at the top.

- Why did people choose those words?

Close analysis of Part 1 'Fortune', Chapters 1 & 2 (pages 3-18)

Chapter 1 synopsis

Part 1 begins with Toby and his mother crossing the Continental Divide as they leave their past in Sarasota, Florida in a bid to change their luck. They are running from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Their car, a Nash Rambler, continuously overheats on this journey and while waiting for it to cool they witness a truck going over a cliff presumably because he ‘lost his breaks.’ It is here that we see Toby take advantage of his mother’s emotions after witnessing this accident. He understands that her guard is down, and that the time is right to ask for souvenirs.

We learn about his mother’s past including her father’s loss after the Crash, her life of hard work that had yet to lead anywhere, her divorce from Toby’s father, and her long relationship with Roy, a violent man. In search for a better life, they are both caught up in a delight for freedom and transformation and although his mother had been warned there was no work in Salt Lake, she had come anyway because his letter ‘was so friendly!’ (6). They drive through the desert, singing, and chasing their dreams.

Activity 2: Key quotes from Chapter 1
Quote 1: •
‘I was caught up in my mother’s freedom, her delight in her freedom, her dream of transformation.’ (pg 4)

Quote 2: •
‘I was subject to fits of feeling myself unworthy, somehow deeply at fault. It didn’t take much to bring this sensation to life, along with the certainty that everybody but my mother saw through me and did not like what they saw. There was no reason for me to have this feeling.’ (pg 9-10)

Quote 3: •
‘I thought Roy was what a man should be. My mother must have thought so too, once.’ (pg 12)

- Working in small table groups (3-4, no more than 4)
- Explain the significance/importance of the quote for understanding the chapter or overall text.
- Discuss within your group, then, working together, write a paragraph.
- We have 10 minutes.
- Class discussion to follow.

Activity 1: Close analysis of Chapters 1 & 2
- Working individually.
- Read the section that corresponds to your question (in silence).
- We have 12 minutes.
- Answer the question in a detailed manner by using
2-3 pieces of evidence
from the text to support
a claim.
- Class discussion to follow

1. Why does Wolff choose to start his memoir with the truck crash? What might be the symbolism of this event? (p.3)
2. What first impression does the reader get of Toby when he asks for the souvenirs? (p.3)
3. How is Utah portrayed on pages 5-6 and what does it tell us about the American Dream?
4. What do the reactions of Toby’s mother, father and brother to his name change tell us about their relationship with him? Answer in detail. (pp.7-8)
5. Who is Jack London and why does Toby want to model himself on ‘the strength and competence inherent in [his] idea of him’? (pp.7-8)
6. Why does Jack need Sister James’ approval throughout this section? (pp.8-10)
7. What do the activities that Jack chooses to do in his boredom after school tell us about his character? (pp.10-11)
8. What are our first impressions of Roy? What does Rosemary’s choice of partner reveal to the reader about her character? (pp.11-14)
9. What is symbolic about Jack’s inability to relinquish the teddy bear? (pp.12-14)
10. Why does Jack have such trouble confessing his sins to the priest? How do the priest and Sister James help him? (pp.14-18)

To begin a close analysis of
This Boy's Life

Students will be able to identify features of characterisation, setting, plot, and theme.
Close analysis of Part 1 'Fortune', Chapters 1 & 2 (pages 3-18)

Chapter 2 synopsis

It is in Chapter 2 that Toby leaves his past and name behind to transform into Jack Wolff. He sheds the name his father has given him and chooses Jack, after Jack London, a name that he believed would give him the same strength and competence that the original bearer of the name had.
Roy has tracked them down and is spending most of his time at their apartment. We quickly see exactly why they ran from him in the first place, as he is continually checking up on Rosemary and is obviously possessive and aggressive.

In this chapter we see Jack’s insecurities. Even though he thought he had left this all behind in Florida, he feels feelings of unworthiness. His pen pal letters to Alice in Phoenix highlight the lengths Jack goes to present himself in a superior way, as he adopts the facade of a boy who lives on a ranch and is impressively athletic, believing that she would be in awe of him. Jack also cannot be truthful during his first confession and adopts Sister James’ confessions as his own, rather than confessing his own sins. He is praised by both the priest and the sister afterwards.

- Due weekly.

- Submitted on Compass every Monday before class.

Full transcript