St. Lucy's Home for Girls — 4

GoogleDocs format

Students learn annotation skills as they reread the opening pages of the short story, and then work in small groups to analyze how Russell develops the pack as a character in itself.

“They lived an outsider’s existence in caves at the edge of the forest, threatened by frost and pitchforks.” (p. 227)

1. Watch / Listen

How to annotate.

2. Introduction to Annotation

Marking the text, or annotation, is a skill for reading closely, and is a key to unlocking complex texts.

  • Box unfamiliar words.
  • Star (*) important or repeating ideas.
  • Put a question mark (?) next to a section you are questioning or confused about, and write your question down.
  • Use an exclamation point (!) for connections between ideas or ideas that strike or surprise you in some way, and provide a brief note explaining the connection.

3. Review Vocabulary

  1. hirsute (adj.)
  2. sinewy (adj.)
  3. barbaridad (Spanish n.)
  4. apiary (n.)
  5. pidgin (n.)
  6. purgatory (n.)
  7. backwoods (adj.)
  8. ostracized (v.) .

4. Read closely

In this passage, think about how Russell develops the pack as a character:

  • Read “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell, pp. 225–227  (from “Stage 1: The initial period is one in which everything is new” to “our parents were sending us away for good. Neither did they”) in which the pack arrives at St. Lucy’s and begins the initial stages of adjustment to human society.

5. Answer questions

Answers can be simple phrases, you do not need to use full sentences — I’m primarily assessing your comprehension of the text.

  1. Why were the nuns’ faces “pinched with displeasure”?

  2. What is the impact of the narrator’s use of the pronoun “we” to describe the pack?

  3. How does the comparison of the pack to the Copacabana girls develop the pack as a character?

  4. Given the pack’s behavior, what can you infer Sister Josephine means by “backwoods”)?
  5. How do the pack’s interactions with the nuns develop the pack as a character?

  6. How are the girls different from their parents? What causes this difference?

  7. What can you infer about the meaning of ostracized, given the relationship of the pack’s parents to the farmers and the local wolves?
  8. Why do the pack’s parents enroll their daughters in St. Lucy’s?

  9. Describe the pack’s interactions with each other and other characters (e.g., the nuns, their families, local wolves).

6. Short essay response (quick write)

  • Lesson 4. How does Russell develop the pack as a character?

Look at your annotations to find evidence. Include this lesson’s vocabulary wherever possible to develop the topic through the use of well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient evidence. Use your Short Response Rubric and Checklist to guide your written responses. Send in your responses to!

7. Independent Work

Read pages 227–230 (from “That first afternoon, the nuns gave us free rein” to “It all felt like a sly, human taunt”) to preview tomorrow’s class reading. Box any unfamiliar words and look up their definitions. Choose the definition that makes the most sense in the context, and write a brief definition above or near the word in the text.

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