This printable supports Common Core ELA Standards ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3, ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 and ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6

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Analyzing a Narrator (Grade 10)

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Analyzing a Narrator

I was born at York, in the year 1632, of a reputable family. My father was a native of Bremen, who by merchandizing at Hull for some time, gained a very plentiful fortune. He married my mother at York, who received her first breath in that country: and as her maiden name was Robinson, I was called Robinson Kreutznaer: which not being easily pronounced in the English tongue, we are commonly known by the name of Crusoe.

I was the youngest of three brothers. The eldest was a lieutenant colonel in Lochart's regiment, but slain by the Spaniards: what became of the other, I could never learn.

No charge or pains were wanting in my education.--My father designed me for the law; yet nothing would serve me but I must go to sea, both against the will of my father, the tears of my mother, and the entreaties of friends. One morning my father expostulated very warmly with me: What reason, says he, have you to leave your native country, where there must be a more certain prospect of content and happiness, to enter into a wandering condition of uneasiness and uncertainty? He recommended to me Augur's wish, "Neither to desire poverty nor riches:" that a middle state of life was the most happy, and that the high towering thoughts of raising our condition by wandering abroad, were surrounded with misery and danger, and often ended with confusion and disappointment. I entreat you, nay, I command you, (says he) to desist from these intentions. Consider your elder brother, who laid down his life for his honour, or rather lost it for his disobedience to my will. If you will go (added he) my prayers shall however be offered for your preservation; but a time may come, when, desolate, oppressed, or forsaken, you may wish you had taken your poor despised father's counsel.--He pronounced these words with such a moving and paternal eloquence, while floods of tears ran down his aged cheeks, that it seemed to stem the torrent of my resolutions. [pg 006] But this soon wore, off, and a little after I informed my mother, that I could not settle to any business, my resolutions were so strong to see the world; and begged she would gain my father's consent only to go one voyage; which, if I did not prove prosperous, I would never attempt a second. But my desire was as vain as my folly in making. My mother passionately expressed her dislike of this, proposal, telling me, "That as she saw I was bent upon my own destruction, contrary to their will and my duty, she would say no more; but leave me to do whatever I pleased."
The narrator was born Robinson Crusoe.
  1. True
  2. False
Robinson Crusoe ends up working in the merchant industry. How does this go against his upbringing?

Which word best describes the narrator and his desire to go out on the sea?
  1. Passionate
  2. Stubborn
  3. Dangerous
  4. Righteous
Which detail shows that his mother recognizes his passion?

Why does the narrator mention his brothers' deaths?
  1. To help explain why his parents don't want him to go
  2. To give more details about his family
  3. To share why he needed to go out on the sea
  4. To distract the reader from the issue at hand
The narrator says his father expostulated him warmly. The word expostulated most likely means...
  1. To forbid
  2. To express disagreement
  3. To cut off from an inheritance
  4. To show love and respect
An excerpt from Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
How does the narrator know when it's time to go out to sea again?
  1. When he hears the sea calling to him
  2. When he starts to act negatively
  3. When he starts to feel too happy
  4. When he earns enough money to rent a boat
What does the narrator mean when he says the sea is his substitute for pistol and ball?

Which literary device does the narrator use extensively as he describes his relationship with the sea?
  1. Metaphor
  2. Simile
  3. Illusion
  4. Hyperbole
What does it mean to have a damp, drizzly November in your soul?

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