Notes

This printable supports Common Core ELA Standards ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2, ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3, ELA-Literacy.9-10.4 and ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5, ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6

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Analyzing Prose (Grade 9)

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Analyzing Prose

1. 
The Old Juniper Tree
by Robert Fulghum

1 There is a tree. At the downhill edge of a long, narrow field in the western foothills of the La Sal Mountains?southeastern Utah. A particular tree. A juniper. Large for its species?maybe twenty feet tall and two feet in diameter. For perhaps three hundred years this tree has stood its ground. Flourishing in good seasons, and holding on in bad times. ?Beautiful? is not a word that comes to mind when one first sees it. No naturalist would photograph it as exemplary of its kind. Twisted by wind, split and charred by lightning, scarred by brushfires, chewed on by insects, and pecked by birds. Human beings have stripped long strings of bark from its trunk, stapled barbed wire to it in using it as a corner post for a fence line, and nailed signs on it on three sides: NO HUNTING, NO TRESPASSING; PLEASE CLOSE THE GATE. In commandeering this tree as a corner stake for claims of rights and property, miners and ranchers have hacked signs and symbols in its bark, and left Day-Glo? orange survey tape tied to its branches. Now it serves as one side of a gate between an alfalfa field and open range. No matter what, in drought, flood, heat, and cold it has continued. There is rot and death in it near the ground. But at the greening tips of its upper branches and in its berrylike seed cones, there is yet the outreach of life.

2 I respect this old juniper tree. For its age, yes. And for its steadfastness in taking whatever is thrown at it. That it has been useful in a practical way beyond itself counts for much, as well. Most of all, I admire its capacity for self-healing beyond all accidents and assaults. There is a will in it?toward continuing to be, come what may.

From UH-OH by Robert Fulghum, copyright © 1991 by Robert Fulghum. Used by permission of Villard Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
A. 
Read these sentences from "The Old Juniper Tree".

I respect this old juniper tree. For its age, yes. And for its steadfastness in taking whatever is thrown at it.

The best definition for the word steadfastness is:
  1. eagerness
  2. constancy
  3. skill
  4. conscienceness
B. 
Why does the author of "The Old Juniper Tree" use a narrative form?
  1. to relate an experience
  2. to argue a point
  3. to share a feeling
  4. to present an issue
C. 
Which excerpt from "The Old Juniper Tree", best illustrates what the author wants the reader to know about the tree?
  1. Large for its species?maybe twenty feet tall and two feet in diameter.
  2. Twisted by wind, split and charred by lightning, scarred by brushfires, . .
  3. Human beings have stripped long strings of bark from its trunk, .
  4. No matter what, in drought, flood, heat, and cold it has continued.
D. 
Read the final sentence of "The Old Juniper Tree".

There is a will in it-toward continuing to be, come what may.
In this sentence, it is clear that the author wants readers...
  1. to think about trees as a useful part of nature.
  2. to think of the tree as a symbol of hope.
  3. to see the harshness of the environment.
  4. to see the need for taking care of the environment.
2. 
An excerpt from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

My sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, was more than twenty years older than I, and had established a great reputation with herself and the neighbors because she had brought me up "by hand." Having at that time to find out for myself what the expression meant, and knowing her to have a hard and heavy hand, and to be much in the habit of laying it upon her husband as well as upon me, I supposed that Joe Gargery and I were both brought up by hand.

She was not a good-looking woman, my sister; and I had a general impression that she must have made Joe Gargery marry her by hand. Joe was a fair man, with curls of flaxen hair on each side of his smooth face, and with eyes of such a very undecided blue that they seemed to have somehow got mixed with their own whites. He was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fellow,—a sort of Hercules in strength, and also in weakness.

My sister, Mrs. Joe, with black hair and eyes, had such a prevailing redness of skin that I sometimes used to wonder whether it was possible she washed herself with a nutmeg-grater instead of soap. She was tall and bony, and almost always wore a coarse apron, fastened over her figure behind with two loops, and having a square impregnable bib in front, that was stuck full of pins and needles. She made it a powerful merit in herself, and a strong reproach against Joe, that she wore this apron so much. Though I really see no reason why she should have worn it at all; or why, if she did wear it at all, she should not have taken it off, every day of her life.
A. 
Which point of view does the author choose to structure the passage from?
  1. First-person
  2. Second-person
  3. Third-person limited
  4. Third-person omniscient
B. 
How does the point of view help or hurt the passage?



C. 
How does the narrator's view of his sister differ from the view of her neighbors?



D. 
Why does the author include the details about the pins and needles in the apron?
  1. To show why the sister wears it all the time
  2. To further illustrate the sister's personality
  3. To show that the sister likes to sew
  4. To explain how the narrator was punished
E. 
The author describes the sister in so much detail to help set her up as a main character or a major influence on the narrator's life.
  1. True
  2. False
F. 
"She was tall and bony, and almost always wore a coarse apron, fastened over her figure behind with two loops, and having a square impregnable bib in front, that was stuck full of pins and needles. She made it a powerful merit in herself, and a strong reproach against Joe, that she wore this apron so much. Though I really see no reason why she should have worn it at all; or why, if she did wear it at all, she should not have taken it off, every day of her life."

The apron serves as a larger metaphor for the sister's personality.
  1. True
  2. False

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