Crabbe by William Bell

Here you will find all of the activities for our study of the novel, Crabbe by William Bell.

Learning Goals for Crabbe Unit

During this unit you will:

1. Improve your reading skills
2. Enhance your vocabulary
3. Develop the skills to correctly answer questions
4. Develop reflection skills, both to the novel itself and your own experiences
5. Complete a selection of graphic organizers
6. Complete a cumulative activity
7. Compare the novel to a number of works to be studied at a later date

Survival Skills On-line Tests:

Objectives: To examine and evaluate webpages which provide survival surveys.

Activity: 1) Follow the links to complete online tests of your survival knowledge.
2) Write a paragraph about the quiz or quizzes you took and what you may have learned from them. Report your own
wilderness survival skill level.

Wilderness Survival Skills Quiz: Quiz
Quiz 2
Winter Survival Quiz
A number of quizes

Crabbe Reading Response Journal Topics and Important Words

*Students are to respond to at least one of the possible topics each day

Day 1
Response Choices:

1. Do you agree with Crabbe when he says that most adults don’t hear? Explain your response.

2. Have you ever had to spend more than one day in the hospital? If so, what was it like? If not, what do you think it would be like to spend 1-2 weeks in the hospital?

3. Crabbe is reluctant to tell the doctor very much about his experience before he ended up in the hospital. Have you ever withheld information from an adult? If so, explain the situation. If not, explain why.

1. sibilant: The cars sift through with a sibilant woosh. (10)
2. inane: Eventually he has to be rude and interrupt my inane questions. (13)

Day 2
Response Choices:

1. Why was Crabbe sick of his life? Have you ever felt that way about your life? Explain your response.

2. Crabbe uses a simile (comparison using like or as) to describe his planned escape: “It was to be the one perfect act I’d perform in my life, pure, clean, like the edge of a razor.” What you think this image means and why do you think Crabbe compares his escape to a razor?

3. Do you think you would be able to plan an escape the way Crabbe does? How would you go about it? What would you have to do to ensure your parents/guardian didn’t find out.

1. optimism: Father used to have a flare-up of optimism and think maybe I could become a jock...(21)
2. provisions: The grumpy Polski is pretty sharp about her provisions. (22)

Day 3
Response Choices:

1. Silent Sam is the name of the vodka that Crabbe drinks. How might the name “Silent Sam” be a symbol (something that represents more that what it actually is) for the way Crabbe goes about his life in high school?

2. Do you think it was fair that Crabbe received no punishment from the principal for being caught with alcohol at school? What do you think would happen to you if you were caught with alcohol here at STOV?

3. To what degree do you think Crabbe’s parents are responsible for Crabbe’s behaviour, especially he drinking? Explain your response thoroughly.

1. “salle d’attente”: He marched me right in, shoved me in a chair in the “salle d’attente” and went into the Beet’s office... (26)

2. ponderous: It stood in the centre of our dining room table on a hand-crocheted, ivory-colour doily–a great ponderous imitation something-or-other...(28)

Day 4
Response Choices:

1. Do you agree with Crabbe’s opinion about school, that teachers aren’t really interested in student answers? Explain your response based on your personal experience.

2. Consider what makes Crabbe’s English teacher different from the other teachers. Why does this make him dangerous in Crabbe’s father’s opinion?

3. What might the way Crabbe prepares for his escape in Journal 5 suggest about how ready he really is for the experience ahead?

1. transit: He was always dropping books on his rapid, commotion-filled transit down the halls. (33)
2. ruse: Pleased with this ruse, I picked up one end of the boat again and half-lifted, half-dragged it...(36)

Day 5
Response Choices:

1. What does the way Crabbe has packed for his escape and his experience trying to get the canoe in the water tell us about what his experience may hold for him?

2. What do you think Crabbe means when he says that in the morning he was missing “the churning in my stomach that told me my nerves were getting ready for another day”?

3. Once Crabbe is two miles from civilization on the river, he says he is “officially free”. Do you have a place where you go where you feel that same way, free from the problems of every day life?

1. canopied: Branches that canopied the track whacked the side of the wagon and thumped hollowly against the canoe. (39)

2. thwart: Then I took the big pack and put it in the centre of the boat, just behind the thwart. (42)

Day 6
Response Choices:

1. How has Crabbe’s life at home left him unprepared for the hard work he experiences in the canoe?

2. What are your feelings about physical activity? Has the modern world affected your ability to be active? Explain your response.

3. How has the author foreshadowed in this chapter that something bad is going to happen soon.

1. lintel: If the river into the lake was kind to me, moving me carefully from where I left the station wagon to the lintel of the sand bar,...(44)

2. gunwale: Then, in desperation, I rolled it onto one gunwale, crawled under it, ....and staggered to my feet. (46)

Day 7
Response Choices:

1. Why does Crabbe say, “Foresight has never been a strong point with me”? How might this statement be proven true even before his terrifying experience with the bear?

2. Describe the scariest experience you have ever had. How does your experience compare to Crabbe’s?

3. In this journal Crabbe reveals that part of his reason for leaving home was to avoid people. Have you ever felt this way, that you just don’t want to talk to anyone and would rather be alone? Explain your response.

1. foreboding: I couldn’t shake the feeling of foreboding that enclosed me as if it were part of the night air. (52)

2. hernia: ...I repacked the food in some sort of an organized fashion so the packs could be carried without giving me a hernia. (57)

Day 8
Response Choices:

1. Where does Crabbe admit he was headed when he first set out on his trip? Why is this an embarrassing admission for him?

2. Personification is when the author gives inanimate objects human qualities. Why does Crabbe give human qualities to Silent Sam when he describes how he misses alcohol?

3. Can you explain why Crabbe has his “erotic dream”? What might really be happening?

1. intrepid: So, after a continental breakfast of cold instant coffee and a couple of handfuls of Cheerios, intrepid Crabbe launched his loyal craft into the bosom of whatever river it was. (61-62)
2. congealing: It invaded me, crept to the centre, congealing like black slush. (64)

Day 9
Response Choices:

1. How does Crabbe know that the woman knew what she was doing?

2. Try to answer Crabbe’s question: What was a beautiful woman doing in the middle of nowhere?

3. Would you have done what the woman did to save Crabbe if you were in her position? Explain your response.

1. speculations: Her words jarred me from my speculations. (70)
2. copse: There was a little copse of black spruce right at the shore. (72)

Day 10
Response Choices:

1. Why do you think Crabbe tells Mary “everything”? What does his breaking into tears say about his emotions?

2. Why do you think Mary has to keep her story a secret? Provide a few ideas as to what her story might be.

3. Mary tells Crabbe not to feel sorry for himself. Have you ever felt sorry for yourself when things weren’t going very well in your life? Explain your response.

1. “bannock”: She called the bread “bannock” ... (75)
2. cliches: Most people would have started to hand out advice, piling up cliches like old newspapers. (79)

Day 11
Response Choices:

1. Why does Crabbe consider Mary to be such a good teacher? What has he learned from her?

2. What realization does Crabbe come to about his “loneliness”? Have you ever felt “totally isolated” or “alone in a crowd” the way Crabbe did? Explain your response.

3. Why does Crabbe have a sense of pride at the end of the journal entry? When have you felt a similar sense of accomplishment?

1. lithe: I walked along behind her watching her slim, lithe figure move gracefully...(83)
2. bearings: On one level I was very logical–following the directions and bearings as exactly as I could,...(86)

Day 12
Response Choices:

1. What problem is Crabbe still having? What does this suggest about what his life was like before his trip?

2. What might the pipe that Mary gives him represent based on the ying yang symbol carved on it?

3. Why does Crabbe say that he “grabbed a little self-respect”?

1. patina: That’s what gave it the curious patina, she explained. (93)
2. caliper: Whenever the craving for a talk with Sam came upon me, pinching like an irritating caliper on my brain, I’d stop whatever it was that I was doing...(94)

Day 13
Response Choices:

1. Were you surprised by Crabbe’s admission that he had fallen in love with Mary? Were you surprised that she did not feel the same romantic way? Explain your response.

2. Why does Crabbe describe what happened between he and Mary as “a corny scene if you weren’t involved”? Have you ever been involved in a corny scene like this?

3. Why might going to the hunting camp to “borrow” supplies be a dangerous thing to do? How is a bad experience foreshadowed?

1. chevrons: ...cold bitter rains fell from leaden skies and chevrons of geese and ducks were on the move.
2. cached: We cached the canoe at the south end of the lake...(101)

Day 14
Response Choices:

1. What are the guys at the camp like? Why might this potentially ruin Crabbe and Mary’s plans?

2. Crabbe gets feeling down about not seeing Mary again. How does he shake himself out of these feelings? How is this different from the way he used to handle things?

3. Why does the fact that the men in the camp make this experience extremely dangerous?

1. scuttled: Before I could argue, Mary turned and, still in a crouch, scuttled to the rear fo the bunk house. (103)
2. exploits: Then after a couple of days of this stupidity they’d back into the city, bragging about their macho exploits...(104)

Day 15
Response Choices:

1. How does Crabbe show the ability to think quickly and be prepared for a number of possibilities at the end of Chapter 16? How does this show a change in Crabbe’s character?

2. Mary seems to be suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress. Do you think Crabbe fully understands her condition at this point? Explain your response with direct evidence from the chapter.

3. Do you think that Crabbe setting fire to the camp was an appropriate reaction to the situation? He even goes as far to say that wished that the men died in the fire. Do you think you would react in a similar way if you were in his position?

1. disoriented: I was completely disoriented and that compass was my only link with reality. (113)
2. purling: The only sound was the purling of water over rocks and under logs. (114)

Day 16
Response Choices;

1. What do you think really happened to Mary? Was she so disoriented that she fell, or did something else happen?

2. Why do you think Crabbe doesn’t cry at first when he finds Mary? What does he mean when he says he was “numb and mechanical”? How might you have reacted in a similar situation?

3. Do you think Crabbe made the best decision about Mary in the end? What were his reasons for his decision? Could you have done what he did?

1. tedious: The tedious hiss of rain on the rocks was broken by exhausted grunts of exertion.

Day 17
Response Choices:

1. Why do you think that even after he gets back to the campsite, Crabbe is unable to cry? What does he seem to be more occupied with?

2. Why do you think Crabbe had to look into Mary’s pack? Why is it that when he does he finally cries?

3. If Crabbe is correct in what he believes Mary had done and why she was in hiding, do you think she did the right thing?

1. wracked: And soon I was on my knees in the dirt, hunched over by the cheery little fire, wracked by deep, tearing sobs... (123)

Day 18
Response Choices

1. How is Crabbe’s preparation for his trip out of the woods different from his preparation for his trip into the woods?

2. What dangers does Crabbe experience in this section?

3. What had Mary said was the greatest compliment you could give a teacher? How is Crabbe, giving Mary this compliment during this section? Do you agree with her?

1. portage: But I was anxious to attack that portage.

Day 19
Response Choices

1. What do you think will happen to Crabbe once he gets to the hospital?

2. Why does Crabbe think about a story he read by Jack London in this section? What might the story represent for him at this point in his journey?

3. Have you ever been in a situation where, like Crabbe, the pressure to succeed is so great you make poor decisions? Explain your response.

1. Good Samaritan: “Don’t worry,” my good samaritan almost shouted, “you’ll be okay.” (145)

Day 20
Response Choices

1. What is Crabbe’s reaction to having his fingers amputated? How might you react if you were to have something similar happen?

2. What might the fact that Crabbe lost two fingers as a result of his running away represent on a symbolic level?

3. Why did Crabbe not want to reveal who he was? Why does Crabbe finally reveal his identity?

1. Antiseptic: antiseptic smelling hallway...(151)

Day 21
Response Choices

1. How is Crabbe feeling in these two sections? Have you ever felt that you had let your parent or guardian down? Explain your response.

2. What is the nurses advice to Crabbe about becoming a man? Do you agree with her? Explain your response. What are your ideas about what it takes to be a man?

3. Why does Crabbe say that he owed it to himself to talk to his parents?

1. prodigal: Nurse Owens got the honours of leading the prodigal son down another hallway. (157)

Day 22
Response Choices

1. Why does Crabbe tell his parents that it wasn’t their fault that he ran away? What does this admission say about his character?

2. How does Crabbe’s life change once he get home?

3. Where is Crabbe going at the end of the novel and what does this suggest about the way he has changed?

1. slogged: One day as we slogged through the grimy streets of the plant...(168)