ONE BOOK, ONE COMMUNITY OF MONROE COUNTY 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Teaching Tools for March by Geraldine Brooks

Study and Reader Guides
Settings
Chapter Timeline
Character List (sorted in alphabetical order)
Character List (sorted in page number order)
Some Themes
Social Studies Benchmarks
Vocabulary List
Discussion Questions Activity
Vocabulary Activity
Author Interview Activity
Letter Writing Activities
Other Resources


Study and Reader Guides

Geraldine Brooks "March": A Study Guide from Gale's "Novels for Students" (Volume 26, Chapter 6).  2012.  Download .pdf or digital versions.

Study Guide Excerpts Novels for Students – Volume 26, Chapter 6.  Gale Cengage.  2012.

March Book Chapter Summaries.  Long Beach Book Club Book Club.  July 16, 2006.


Settings

  • March begins on October 21, 1861, just after the battle of Ball’s Bluff in Loudon County, Virginia.
  • Through a flashback we are propelled approximately 20 years earlier, around 1841, to March’s days as a 19-year-old Yankee peddler.   
  • The story switches back and forth between the two time periods.  It continues through the Civil War to Christmas of 1862. 
  • The story also continues from the flashback to the years after 1841.  March meets his wife at home and again in Concord where they marry. Their daughters are born.  March meets and supports John Brown.  Eventually he enlists in the Union Army as a chaplain, which brings him back to 1861. 

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Chapter Timeline 

  • Chapter One:  March’s first letter is dated October 21, 1861.  He describes the Battle of Ball’s Bluff in Loudon County, Virginia, and his journey to the Clement house.

  • Chapter Two:  A flashback takes us approximately 20 years earlier to 1841.  March is at Clement’s house.

  • Chapter Three:  This begins with a letter dated November 1, 1861.  Then a flashback shows us how March became a minister in approximately 1843.  We return to 1861 where March is reunited with Grace Clement. 

  • Chapter Four:  A letter is dated January 15, 1862.  The action is outside Harper’s Ferry.  A flashback takes us to 1844, when we hear the story of the Secretary of State, Abel Parker Upshur, who was accidentally killed when a gun exploded on the USS Princeton, a ship he was touring.  Five other men were killed in the explosion, including Upshur’s valet and slave, Armistead.  March then describes his meeting with Marmee.  We return to 1861 and March’s transfer to educate “contraband.” 

  • Chapter Five:  We begin circa 1844 with March’s meeting with Thoreau, March’s reunion with Marmee, and their marriage. 

  • Chapter Six:  A letter dated March 10, 1862, begins the chapter.  March is aboard the Hetty G on his way to the plantation at Oak Landing.  

  • Chapter Seven:  The chapter begins with a flashback to approximately 1845 and tells of March’s household with Marmee and the birth of his daughters.  We also learn of March’s association with John Brown. 

  • Chapter Eight.  The chapter begins with a letter dated March 30, 1862, and describes life at Oak Landing. 

  • Chapter Nine:  The chapter continues with a letter dated May 10, 1862, and further descriptions of life at Oak Landing. 

  • Chapter Ten:  We continue at Oak Landing.  March has saddleback fever.  We hear that Union soldiers (their protectors) are leaving nearby Waterbank. 

  • Chapter Eleven:  In a flashback to 1859 we learn of John Brown at Harper’s Ferry.  We also learn of the March family’s involvement with the Underground Railroad. 

  • Chapter Twelve:  It is 1862 at Oak Landing.  The Confederates raid the plantation. 

  • Chapter Thirteen:  It is 1862.  March ends up on a hospital ship. 

  • Chapter Fourteen:  It is 1862.  March is at a military hospital in Washington, D.C.  The narrator switches from March to Marmee. 

  • Chapter Fifteen:  Marmee continues to narrate in Washington, D.C. 1862. 

  • Chapter Sixteen:  It is 1862.  Marmee continues her story in Washington, D.C. 

  • Chapter Seventeen:  Marmee continues her story in Washington, D.C. in 1862. 

  • Chapter Eighteen:  It is still 1862 in Washington, D.C.  The story switches back to March as the narrator. 

  • Chapter Nineteen:  The story draws to a close at Christmas 1862 in Concord. 

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Character List
(Sorted alphabetically by character name) 

Characters

First
Encountered (page #)

Description

Annie

14

Cook at Clement’s house

Bigelow, Edwin

180

Blacksmith, member of Underground Railroad

Bingham, Mrs.

173

Driver for Underground Railroad

Bolland, Mr.

222

Roomer with Brooks at rooming house

Brooke, John

212

Laurie’s tutor, goes with Mrs. March to Washington

Brown, John

57

Mentioned in letter

Brown, Mrs.

65

John Brown’s wife

Canning, Ethan

91

Illinois attorney who leased Widow Croft’s plantation

Cato

191

Zeke’s son, helping Confederate raiders

Chaplain

228

At hospital

Cilla

101

Water carrier

Clement son

37

Away on business

Clement, Augustus

17

Plantation owner

Clement, Grace

12

Servant at Clement’s house (she returns on p. 48 in 1861)

Clement, Marianne

22

Clements’ grown daughter

Clement, Mrs.

20

Sickly, wife of plantation owner

Colonel

68

Soldier at Harper’s Ferry

Corporal

68

Soldier at Harper’s Ferry

Croft, Colonel

91

Plantation owner

Davis, Jefferson

181

Mentioned as surrendering his Senate seat

Day, Daniel

45

Unitarian minister

Day, Miss Margaret Marie
(Marmee)

60

Daniel’s Day’s sister, becomes March’s wife

Day, Mr. (Senior)

75

Daniel Day’s father

Day, Mrs.

61

Daniel’s wife

Douglass, Frederick

170

Mentioned in aftermath of John Brown’s arrest

Emerson, Lydian

83

Comes to dinner party

Emerson, Ralph Waldo

67

At gathering to mark Brown’s execution, reappears on p. 83 at dinner party

Flora

172

Escaped slave hidden at March house

Flynn, Nurse

219

Beady-eyed, ill-tempered nurse

Hale, Mrs. Emily

237

Surgeon’s wife

Hale, Surgeon

217

Works at D.C. hospital

Harris

35

Clement’s plantation manager

Hawthorne, Nathaniel

178

A luncheon held in his honor

Hester

237

Servant

Higginson, Tom

66

Gave news of John Brown’s capture

Jamison, Mrs.

221

Runs rooming house in Washington

Jesse

143

A driver, student of March’s

Jimse

139

Small African-American boy, burned by cruelty of a soldier

Josiah

92

Meets March when he arrives at Oak Landing

Justice

27

Annie’s son

Lawrence, John

132

Reclusive neighbor

Lawrence, Laurie

212

Mentioned as Mr. Lawrence’s nephew

Louis

27

Annie’s deceased husband

March

1

Protagonist

March, Amy

66

March’s youngest daughter, mentioned in letter

March, Aunt

117

March’s wealthy aunt

March, Beth

66

March’s daughter, mentioned in letter,

March, Jo

57

March’s daughter, mentioned in letter

March, Marmee

57

March’s wife, mentioned in letter

March, Meg

57

March’s eldest daughter, mentioned in letter

March, Uncle

117

Dies

Markham

237

Servant

May

200

Dies

McKillop, Dr., Capt.

46

Surgeon

Millbrake, Seth

46

Patient, wheelwright from Cambridge

Mother

105

Elderly ex-slave woman

Mullet, Mrs. Hannah

88

Housekeeper for elder Mr. Day

Philbride

47

A dying patient

Prudence

22

Annie’s daughter

Ptolemy

158

Older gentleman

Sanborn, the schoolmaster

67

At gathering to mark Brown’s execution, reappears on p. 121 at March girls’ teacher

Sister Mary Adela

204

On hospital ship Red Rover

Smith, Gerrit

170

Mentioned in aftermath of John Brown’s arrest

Stone, Silas

5

Wounded soldier

Thomas

151

The beekeeper

Thoreau, Cynthia

77

Henry’s sister

Thoreau, Henry David

67

At gathering to mark Brown’s execution, reappears on p. 83 at dinner party

Thoreau, John

77

Mechanic, Henry David Thoreau’s father

Thoreau, Mrs.

77

Mechanic’s wife, Henry’s mother

Thoreau, Sophia

77

Henry’s sister

Tyndale, Maj. Hector

65

Escorted John Brown’s body to New York

White, Cepheus

227

Orderly and soldier who helps Marmee

Zannah

140

Jimse’s mother

Zeke

99

Man in “hole.”  His sons joined Confederate Army.

         

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Character List
(Sorted by page number) 

Characters

First
Encountered

(page #)

Description

March

1

Protagonist

Stone, Silas

5

Wounded soldier

Clement, Grace

12

Servant at Clement’s house (she returns on p. 48 in 1861).

Annie

14

Cook at Clement’s house

Clement, Augustus

17

Plantation owner

Clement, Mrs.

20

Sickly, wife of plantation owner

Clement, Marianne

22

Clements’ grown daughter

Prudence

22

Annie’s daughter

Justice

27

Annie’s son

Louis

27

Annie’s deceased husband

Harris

35

Clement’s plantation manager

Clement son

37

Away on business

Day, Daniel

45

Unitarian minister

McKillop, Dr., Capt.

46

Surgeon

Millbrake, Seth

46

Patient, wheelwright from Cambridge

Philbride

47

A dying patient

March, Marmee

57

March’s wife, mentioned in letter

March, Meg

57

March’s eldest daughter, mentioned in letter

March, Jo

57

March’s daughter, mentioned in letter

Brown, John

57

Mentioned in letter

Day, Miss Margaret Marie
(Marmee)

60

Daniel’s Day’s sister, becomes March’s wife

Day, Mrs.

61

Daniel’s wife

Tyndale, Maj. Hector

65

Escorted John Brown’s body to New York

Brown, Mrs.

65

John Brown’s wife

March, Beth

66

March’s daughter, mentioned in letter,

March, Amy

66

March’s youngest daughter, mentioned in letter

Higginson, Tom

66

Gave news of John Brown’s capture

Emerson, Ralph Waldo

67

At gathering to mark Brown’s execution, reappears on p. 83 at dinner party

Thoreau, Henry David

67

At gathering to mark Brown’s execution, reappears on p. 83 at dinner party

Sanborn, the schoolmaster

67

At gathering to mark Brown’s execution, reappears on p. 121 at March girls’ teacher

Corporal

68

Soldier at Harper’s Ferry

Colonel

68

Soldier at Harper’s Ferry

Day, Mr. (Senior)

75

Daniel Day’s father

Thoreau, John

77

Mechanic, Henry David Thoreau’s father

Thoreau, Mrs.

77

Mechanic’s wife, Henry’s mother

Thoreau, Sophia

77

Henry’s sister

Thoreau, Cynthia

77

Henry’s sister

Emerson, Lydian

83

Comes to dinner party

Mullet, Mrs. Hannah

88

Housekeeper for elder Mr. Day

Canning, Ethan

91

Illinois attorney who leased widow’s plantation

Croft, Colonel

91

Plantation owner

Josiah

92

Meets March when he arrives

Zeke

99

Man in “hole.”  His sons joined Confederate Army.

Cilla

101

Water carrier

Mother

105

Elderly ex-slave woman

March, Aunt

117

March’s wealthy aunt

March, Uncle

117

Dies

Lawrence, John

132

Reclusive neighbor

Jimse

139

Small African-American boy, burned by cruelty of a soldier

Zannah

140

Jimse’s mother

Jesse

143

A driver, student of March’s

Thomas

151

The beekeeper

Ptolemy

158

Older gentleman

Smith, Gerrit

170

Mentioned in aftermath of John Brown’s arrest

Douglass, Frederick

170

Mentioned in aftermath of John Brown’s arrest

Flora

172

Escaped slave hidden at March house

Bingham, Mrs.

173

Driver for Underground Railroad

Hawthorne, Nathaniel

178

A luncheon held in his honor

Bigelow, Edwin

180

Blacksmith, member of Underground Railroad

Davis, Jefferson

181

Mentioned as surrendering his Senate seat

Cato

191

Zeke’s son, helping Confederate raiders

May

200

Dies

Sister Mary Adela

204

On hospital ship Red Rover

Brooke, John

212

Laurie’s tutor, goes with Mrs. March to Washington

Lawrence, Laurie

212

Mentioned as Mr. Lawrence’s nephew

Hale, Surgeon

217

Works at D.C. hospital

Jamison, Mrs.

221

Runs rooming house in Washington, D.C.

Bolland, Mr.

222

Roomer with Brooks at rooming house

Flynn, Nurse

219

Beady-eyed, ill-tempered nurse

Chaplain

228

At hospital

White, Cepheus

227

Orderly and soldier who helps Marmee

Markham

237

Servant

Hale, Mrs. Emily

237

Surgeon’s wife

Hester

237

Servant


     

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Some Themes

Abolition
Racial bigotry
Slavery
Traditional roles of Nineteenth Century women
Father-daughter relationships
 Obligation to morals and beliefs vs. obligation to family
Fidelity
Marriage
Stress of war on family
Self-Discovery
Survivor guilt


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Social Studies Benchmarks

Standard I.4   Judging Decisions from the Past

All students will evaluate key decisions made at critical turning points in history by assessing their implications and long-term consequences.

At critical turning points in history, we sometimes encounter key decisions that were made at the time. By entering personally into such moments, we can confront important issues of an era. When revisiting these issues, we can analyze the interests and values held by those caught up in the situation, consider alternative choices and their consequences, assess the ethical implications of possible decisions, and evaluate the decision made in light of its long-term consequences revealed in the historical record.

March comments that the Civil War is a just war, although he has seen injustice in the waging of it. React to this statement, in terms of both the Civil War and war in general. 

In March’s position, would it be right to support John Brown, either financially or morally?

Standard V.2     Conducting Investigations

All students will conduct investigations by formulating a clear statement of a question, gathering and organizing information from a variety of sources, analyzing and interpreting information, formulating and testing hypotheses, reporting results both orally and in writing, and making use of appropriate technology.

Social science investigations usually begin with the clear statement of a question meaningful to the investigator. Gathering and organizing information from a variety of sources, interpreting and analyzing information, formulating and testing of hypotheses, and reporting of results are subsequent steps of the inquiry process. Computers and other electronic technology may be used to access and manage information during an investigation and to report results. Investigations can be carried out by individuals or groups.

The book March, by Geraldine Brooks, highlights several real historic people. How accurate is her portrayal of John Brown or Walt Whitman?

Consider a detail you learned about the Civil War from reading March.  Conduct an investigation into this fact to learn more about it.

Strand VI.   Public Discourse and Decision Making

Students will analyze public issues and construct and express thoughtful positions on these issues.

Public issues are unresolved questions of policy that require resolution if people are to govern themselves coherently. They arise in all communities where members make decisions collectively. In order to foster informed consent of the governed, the social studies curriculum engages students in efforts to deliberate local, national, and international public policy issues of enduring importance. Over time and in varying contexts, students improve their ability to produce the following kinds of discourse:

What are March’s, Marmee’s, Clement’s, and Grace’s views on education?  How do their views compare / contrast to current views of education?  How do you feel education can be improved in the future? 

Standard VI.I     Identifying and Analyzing Issues

All students will state an issue clearly as a question of public policy, trace the origins of the issue, analyze various perspectives people bring to the issue, and evaluate possible ways to resolve the issue.

Whether a public issue is local or global in scope, the process of resolution begins by stating the issue clearly as a question of policy. The origins of the issue are then traced: How did it become a matter of disagreement or dispute? In tracing the origins of the issue, various perspectives that people bring to it are acknowledged. Analysis then moves to identifying subordinate ethical, factual, and definitional issues that must be settled in order to resolve the policy issue.


Discuss the effects of war on the families left behind. How do they cope, and how do they readjust when a family member returns home? How do we perceive soldiers today? How does society treat our returning veterans today? Have opinions been altered by the inclusion of women in the military? What may our society need to change?

Standard VI.2 Group Discussion

All students will engage their peers in constructive conversation about matters of public concern by clarifying issues, considering opposing views, applying democratic values, anticipating consequences, and working toward making decisions.

In a democratic society, citizens engage one another in face-to-face conversation about matters of public concern stemming from significant past and current events. Through such public talk they clarify issues and work to resolve them by carefully considering opposing views, applying democratic values, and anticipating consequences.

Describe the medical hospital in March. In what ways does it differ from the treatment of wounded soldiers today? Do we provide everything needed in our treatment of returning veterans today? 

Standard VI.3 Persuasive Writing

All students will compose coherent written essays that express a position on a public issue and justify the position with reasoned arguments. 

Coherently composing thoughts about civic issues requires clarification and refinement of thinking. To be persuasive, writing must reflect consideration of alternative perspectives on an issue and express a decision justified with reasoned arguments.

Are there times when it is best not to tell loved ones the truth? Consider some of the dishonesty that March commits in his letters to Marmee.

Standard VII.I Responsible Personal Conduct

All students will consider the effects of an individual’s actions on other people, how one acts in accordance with the rule of law, and how one acts in a virtuous and ethically responsible
way as a member of society.

Responsible citizens address social problems by participating constructively in their communities. They also consider the effects of their actions on other people and they act in accordance with the rule of law to meet their ethical obligations.

Discuss the relationship between March and Marmee. What motivates each of them in defining the terms of their relationship? They are not always honest with each other. Cite examples of this. Do you agree with their behavior?

What is your opinion of Mr. March’s decision to enlist? Should he have stayed home with his family? How should one reconcile moral and political principles and family obligations?

 

Michigan Department of Education – Michigan Curriculum Framework.  Social Studies Content Standards and Draft Benchmarks.


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Vocabulary List

Rigolette rig`o*lette noun (p. 12)
1. A woman's light scarf-like head covering, usually knit or crocheted of wool

Quotidian quo•tid•i•an [kwoh-tid-ee-uh n] adjective (p. 115)
1. daily: a quotidian report
2. usual or customary; everyday: quotidian needs
3. ordinary; commonplace: paintings of no more than quotidian artistry
4. (of a fever, ague, etc.) characterized by paroxysms that recur daily

Disapprobation dis•ap•pro•ba•tion [dis-ap-ruh-bey-shuh n] noun (p. 120)
1. disapproval; condemnation

Rufous ru•fous [roo-fuh s] adjective (p. 120)
1. reddish; tinged with red; brownish red

Opprobrium op•pro•bri•um [uh-proh-bree-uh m] noun (p. 126)
1. the disgrace or the reproach incurred by conduct considered outrageously shameful; infamy
2. a cause or object of such disgrace or reproach

Harridan har•ri•dan [hahr-i-dn] noun (p. 130)
1. a scolding, vicious woman; hag; shrew

Rutilant ru•ti•lant [root-l-uh nt] adjective (p. 150)
1. glowing or glittering with ruddy or golden light

Coruscate cor•us•cate [kawr-uh-skeyt, kor-] verb (p. 150)
1. to emit vivid flashes of light; sparkle; scintillate; gleam

Labile la•bile [ley-buh l, -bahyl] adjective (p. 163)
1. apt or likely to change.
2. Chemistry (of a compound) capable of changing state or becoming inactive when subjected to heat or radiation.

Carapace car•a•pace [kar-uh-peys] noun (p. 176)
1. a bony or chitinous shield, test, or shell covering some or all of the dorsal part of an animal, as of a turtle.

Special attention is given to the work “secesh,” first used on p. 9 but used again several times in the novel. You will not find this word in the dictionary. It is a slang word used during the Civil War period and refers, in general, to a secessionist.


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Discussion Questions Activity

Print out the following information and put it into a notebook.

  1. Go online and obtain a plot summary of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
  2. Go online to Geraldine Brook’s official website and read March: Readers Guide.
  3. Go online and read or listen to NPR article Geraldine Brooks' Civil War 'March’ by Melissa Block, which is about the Battle of Ball’s Bluff.

Answer each question in complete sentences using direct quotations from the book (include page citations).

Chapter One

  1. Who narrates the book?
  2. What dual literary techniques are employed in the first chapter?
  3. Where is the narrator?
  4. Is the narrator truthful as he writes to his family?  Evidence.
  5. What is the narrator’s job?
  6. What are the massive birds?
  7. Describe what happens to the narrator and Silas Stone during the course of the battle.
  8. Why does the surgeon disregard the chaplain?
  9. As the chaplain returns to camp, he heads for the field hospital which has been established at “some old secesh house.”  What’s that?
  10. As the chaplain approaches the field hospital, what does he realize?
  11. Reflect on Chapter 1:  Explain the contrast between the reality of the battle and what the chaplain writes to his family.

Chapter Two

  1. What literary technique is employed in the beginning of Chapter Two?
  2. Describe March as he appears in Chapter Two:  age, profession, appearance, personality, etc.
  3. Do the same for Grace.
  4. Who is the master of the house?
  5. Of all his possessions, what does the master prize most?
  6. What offer of hospitality is extended to March? Why?
  7. What is Mrs. Clement’s condition?
  8. Write an explanation of Clement’s philosophy on slavery?
  9. Who are the other members of the household?
  10. What does Grace ask March to do, which is against the law?
  11. What risky, emotional act does March do?  Why?
  12. Who is Harris and why does he yell at March "fine sight to come home to:  What are you?  Abolitionist?  Quaker?”
  13. What occasions March to write:  “If an anvil had fallen from the sky at that moment and landed upon me, I could not have felt more crushed”?
  14. Why does Geraldine Brooks pose March against Augustus Clement?

Chapter Three

  1. Who does March write would be a “model for our little women” and why?
  2. For what purpose does Brooks employ the flashback technique early in Chapter Three?
  3. Why are Dr. McKillop’s surgical skills fruitless?
  4. How does Grace’s depiction of Mr. Clement’s current condition mirror the devastation of the Confederacy?
  5. At the end of this chapter, between which two emotions is March torn?

Chapter Four

  1. For what purpose does Brooks begin Chapter Four with March’s 1862 letter to his wife?
  2. How does the author make the transition from 1862 to the first encounter between March and Marmee?
  3. Although the term feminism did not exist in 1844, Marmee certainly exhibits an enlightened spirit. Cite examples of her independent nature.
  4. Why does March chastise a young Corporal?
  5. The colonel suggests it, but March is forced into applying for a transfer to the superintendent of contraband.  Why?

Chapter Five

  1. When March describes Miss Day as:  “the woman who had haunted my imagination, noble yet unpretentious, serious yet lively” what two types of grammatical expressions are in the description?
  2. In what village does this chapter occur?
  3. In what way is history intermingled with literature in this chapter?
  4. Why does Marmee get angry with Mr. Emerson?
  5. Who were conductors on the Underground Railroad?
  6. How soon after their night together are March and Marmee married?
  7. Assess March’s personality at this point in the novel.

Chapter Six

  1. As March disembarks from the Hetty G., he meets his receptor – “a ragged, skinny Negro who could not have been more than twelve years old.”  Once again, how does March exhibit his misunderstanding of the Southern culture?
  2. When March gets to Oak Landing, he’s greeted by Ethan Canning.  What are Canning’s goals for this enterprise?
  3. Who is Zeke?  Why was he put into the “hole”?
  4. How does March enrage Canning?
  5. How is the contrast between reality vs. ideology illustrated in Chapter Six?

Chapter Seven

  1. Describe the family life that March and Marmee enjoyed in Concord.
  2. Why does Brooks end Chapter Six with March writing letters to his wealthy abolitionist friends asking for donations to Oak Landing, while beginning Chapter Seven with a tranquil family scene in Concord?
  3. What evidence do we have of Marmee’s temper?
  4. Why does March invest in Mr. Brown’s Adirondack project?
  5. Does March make any profit from his investment?
  6. Was Aunt March justified in calling Marmee a “serpent-tongued harridan”?

Chapter Eight

  1. As March writes to his wife, he observes that “there are other measures” to judge a man’s intelligence.  What does he mean by this?
  2. Why does one young soldier tell March:  “Chaplain, you sure is an innocent man.”?
  3. How does March teach his students?

Chapter Nine

  1. Was March successful in asking abolitionists to donate goods to the slaves at Oak Landing?
  2. Jesse, as the slaves’ spokesperson, tells Canning “we got something we wants to give you now.”  What is it?

Chapter Ten

  1. Canning is alarmed at March’s fever – he had “contracted river ague – the commonest of the region’s summer afflictions.”  What happens?
  2. Why is Canning panicked?
  3. March realizes he has “saddleback fever.”  What does this mean?

Chapter Eleven

  1. What happened to John Brown and how is he connected to March and the citizens in Concord?
  2. Who was Flora and how does she enter the March family?
  3. While March and Marmee attended a luncheon for Nathaniel Hawthorne, how does little Beth save Flora’s life?

Chapter Twelve

  1. March awakens to the sounds of “the snort of a horse’s breath” and “scrambled into his hiding hole.”  What happened after that?
  2. Which one of the slaves had betrayed March and Canning?
  3. What is Jesse’s plan?

Chapter Thirteen

  1. How does March foul up Jesse’s plan?
  2. Zannah, the mute young mother of Jimse, cuts March’s bonds, but the fever comes upon him again.  At the end of the terrible skirmish, who is alive?
  3. March awakens aboard a hospital ship, the Red Rover with Sister Mary Adela tending to him.  Who had saved him?  What is the tragic irony of her message written upon her turquoise scarf?

Chapter Fourteen

  1. Who narrates this chapter?
  2. What has Marmee come to realize about the war?
  3. As she watches Grace tending to March in the hospital, what does Marmee realize?

Chapter Fifteen

  1. Once again, how does Marmee’s temper work against her?

Chapter Sixteen

  1. The exchange between Marmee and Grace at the Hale household is indeed a study in contrasts.  Explain how it works.
  2. What can’t Marmee forgive March?

Chapter Seventeen

  1. Of what does Grace tell Marmee that she must convince March?
  2. This chapter is entitled “Reconstruction.”  How do Marmee and March’s conversation reflect the title?

Chapter Eighteen

  1. Why does Marmee return to Concord?
  2. What does Grace tell March about the true nature of Mr. Clement’s son’s death?
  3. Grace – the voice of conscience – sets March straight about the issue of slavery on pp. 266 – 269.  Write her epistle in your own words.
  4. Explain the conclusion of the novel.

 

Additional Discussion Questions
Skokie Public Library’s Book Discussion Guide .pdf


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Vocabulary Activity

As you read, circle words that you don’t know or that you think your classmates will not know.
   
Choose four words for each chapter to write down and bring to class.  For each word, write down the page # from which it comes.  Also write some of the context for each word.  You do not have to copy the whole sentence, but copy at least the phrase in which the vocabulary word appears.  Make sure you copy enough of the phrase to give some context to the word use. 

Make a guess as to what you think the word might mean based on its context.  (You don’t have to write this down, but be prepared to give your guess in class). 

Your teacher will then help you and your classmates come up with a definition for the word and you can copy it into your notebook for your class vocabulary list. 

Example: 
Write:  feint, p. 16l.  “it is only a feint to mislead the rebels”   
Guess:  “Feint” must have something to do with “misleading.”  Perhaps it means “trick.” 

After discussion, your teacher will help you come up with a definition:  “a movement or appearance designed to conceal what is really happening.” 


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Author Interview Activity

There are a number of interesting interviews with Geraldine Brooks online.  Below is a list of some of them (also refer to One Book, One Community of Monroe County Book Review webpage).  You might use this list to generate a student project.  For example, give the following assignment to your students: 

Read five interviews with Brooks.  Share your findings with your class, in writing or orally.  What conclusions do you draw about her from these interviews?  What do you find interesting?  Share two or three direct quotes from Brooks.  

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/jan-june06/pulitzer_4-18.html 
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2009/01/12/findrelig011209.DTL 
http://www.powells.com/blog/interviews/geraldine-brooks-all-over-the-map-by-dave/
http://us.penguingroup.com/static/rguides/us/march.html  
http://www.readings.com.au/interview/geraldine-brooks 
http://www.kwls.org/lit/kwls_blog/2008/07/scaffolding_for_the_imaginatio.cfm 
http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/2007/03/interview-with-geraldine-brooks.html
http://americanfiction.wordpress.com/category/geraldine-brooks/ 

 


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Letter Writing Activities

Letters were once the prime medium of communication among individuals and even important in communities, as letters were shared, read aloud and published.  They were also obviously important in more intimate senses, among family, close friends, lovers and suitors in initiating and preserving personal relationships and holding things together when distance was a real and insurmountable obstacle.

Activity 1:  Have a discussion about people's lives during the Civil War. Have students each write a letter imagining they were a character living at that time such as a young boy or girl writing to their father who went off to war, or a parent of a soldier, or a soldier who went off to war writing to a girlfriend, a parent, a spouse, a son or daughter.

Activity 2:  Some portions of March are told in letters.  How reliable are letters in portraying what is happening, why would Brooks use this narrative style?

Activity 3:  Select a soldier you know or one who is related to someone you know.  If you don’t know a soldier, ask a friend, fellow student, co-worker, pastor, or military chaplain to help you make a connection.  Write a letter from your heart that expresses your gratitude, shows your support, and provides encouragement. Share a little bit about yourself as well as ask questions about the person to whom you’re writing.


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Other Resources

Civil War Lesson Plans - Classroom Activities.  Grade Level: 7-12.  Subject: History, American Literature and American Civilization. The Civil War. Ken Burns.  PBS.

March: Topics for Further Study. eNotes.

Library of Congress: Teaching with Primary Sources. Search Civil War.