This printable supports Common Core ELA Standard ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 and ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3

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Theme in Fiction (Grade 10)

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Theme in Fiction

An Excerpt from "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson...

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o'clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 26th, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner...

The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything's being done. The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained.

Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred the papers thoroughly with his hand. Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations...
What was represented by the black box?
  1. Death
  2. Family
  3. Tradition
  4. Murder
In what season does "The Lottery" occur?
  1. fall
  2. winter
  3. spring
  4. summer
From the context of the story, who controls the town? Explain

What is the theme of "The Lottery" based on this excerpt?

Why do the people participate in a tradition/ritual that nobody knows the real origins to?

An excerpt from "Flowers for Algernon"...

Mar 25 (I dont have to write PROGRESS REPORT on top any
more just when I hand it in once a week for Dr Nemur. I just have to
put the date on. That saves time)
We had a lot of fun at the factory today. Joe Carp said hey look
where Charlie had his operashun what did they do Charlie put some
brains in. I was going to tell him but I remembered Dr Strauss said
no. Then Frank Reilly said what did you do Charlie forget your key
and open your door the hard way. That made me laff. Their really
my friends and they like me.
Sometimes somebody will say hey look at Joe or Frank or
George he really pulled a Charlie Gordon. I dont know why they say
that but they always laff. This morning Amos Borg who is the 4 man
at Donnegans used my name when he shouted at Ernie the office
boy. Ernie lost a packige. He said Ernie for godsake what are you
trying to be a Charlie Gordon. I dont understand why he said that.

Mar 28 Dr Strauss came to my room tonight to see why I dint come
in like I was suppose to. I told him I dont like to race with Algernon
any more. He said I dont have to for a while but I shud come in. He
had a present for me. I thot it was a little television but it wasnt. He
said I got to turn it on when I go to sleep. I said your kidding why
shud I turn it on when Im going to sleep. Who ever herd of a thing
like that. But he said if I want to get smart I got to do what he says. I
told him I dint think I was going to get smart and he puts his hand
on my sholder and said Charlie you dont know it yet but your
getting smarter all the time. You wont notice for a while. I think he
was just being nice to make me feel good because I dont look any
What did the people at work to do Charlie?
  1. They tricked him and said bad words to him.
  2. They taught him how to mop the toilets correctly.
  3. They invited him to a party and did bad things to him.
  4. All of the above
What does it mean to "pull a Charlie Gordon"?
  1. To run through a maze
  2. Write in a journal
  3. To do things where you make mistakes
  4. None of the above
Based on this excerpt, what is the theme of "Flowers for Algernon" or the author's purpose in writing it?

What does Algernon do as Charlie works with pencil and paper?
  1. Solve a lock test in order to obtain his food.
  2. Observe Charlie while he draws a picture.
  3. Find his way through a realistic maze his size.
  4. Eat cheese.
Which word(s) describe Charlie's feelings at the end of tests?
  1. Ashamed and worried
  2. Confident and satisfied
  3. Amused
  4. Happy and excited

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