Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
Guiding questions for student reading:
Class discussion will focus on some of the following questions and ideas:
1. What is the difference between story truth and factual truth?
2. What defines humanity?
3. What is the value of faith?
4. What dualities exist in the novel and how do they contribute to meaning?
5. How does the structure of the novel contribute to meaning?
Students, please use these questions as a guide for your annotation of the summer reading.
Your teachers encourage the practice of annotation in all your assigned reading at Stevenson, as a way to prepare for classroom activities and assessments and to reinforce the habit of active reading.
Why summer reading?
Life of Pi tells the story of Pi Patel as he struggles to survive a shipwreck that occurs when he and his family are emigrating from India to Canada. On his journey, Pi contemplates faith – among the religions he ponders are Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. The narrative structure and other literary techniques the author employs are relevant to the analytical skills we are building. This selection is thematically relevant to the course because the novel asks the reader to examine the power of story.
What do we expect students to learn from the summer reading?
1. Recognize and analyze structural elements in literature and how those elements work to create meaning.
2. Recognize and analyze language devices in literature and to relate them to meaning.
3. Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for the evocative element in literature by showing how an author creates mood and atmosphere.
What can you expect in your English class at the beginning of the school year?
Teachers will use a variety of strategies and methods to reach the instructional goals. In the two to three weeks unit, students may participate in small group work, whole class discussions, panel presentations, and individual activities.
How will what you've learned be assessed?
Prior to instruction, students will be held accountable for their reading through a quiz. Recalling specific details is an essential part of the final essay question on the AP exam, so it will be expected of our students as well. During instruction, students will demonstrate emerging understanding through class discussion, small group work, and individual written assignments. Post-instruction, students will respond to an in-class essay prompt.
What feedback will you receive from your teacher?
Students will receive feedback in the form of teacher comments during discussions and other formative activities, on their writing, and through the use of a rubric used to assess writing.