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Chapter 2

Character

INFORMATIONAL TEXT FOCUS
Evaluating Primary Sources

Three Girls at Lunch by Hyacinth Manning (1954 ). Acrylic on canvas.

California Standards
Here are the Grade 9 standards you will work toward mastering in Chapter 2.
Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development
1.1 Identify and use the literal and figurative meanings of words and understand word derivations.
Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
2.5 Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration.
Literary Response and Analysis
3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts,
motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.
3.4 Determine characters traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue,
and soliloquy.
3.5 Compare works that express a universal theme and provide evidence to support the ideas expressed in each work.



I am the person I know best.

Frida Kahlo




What Do You Think?
How do other people affect the way we think about ourselves?


















Comparing Texts
Comparing Universal Themes
c o n t e n t s

SHORT STORY
Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark
by Sandra Cisneros
page 159


POEM
Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes
page 160

POEM
Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden
page 161

What Do You Think? What do the people around us teach us about life?
QuickWrite Think of an influential person who helps others see things in a new way.
Describe that person and the ways he or she shares life lessons with othersmaybe even
with you.


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The Painter from Uruapan (La Pintora de
Uruapan) by Alfredo Ramos Martinez (1872
1946). Alfredo Ramos Martinez Research
Project, reproduced by permission.





Meet the Writers
Sandra Cisneros (1954 )

Sandra Cisneros grew up the only daughter in a family with seven children. Her father
believed that daughters should worry only about getting husbands. Cisneros struggled in
school, but a teacher encouraged her to write; and after graduating from college and
earning her masters degree, Cisneros wrote The House on Mango Street, the book for
which she is best known. Cisneros eventually showed her father one of her stories that had
been translated into Spanish. He was so thrilled that he asked, Where can we get more
copies of this for the relatives?
Langston Hughes (19021967)

For biographical information about Langston Hughes, see page 122






Robert Hayden (19131980)

Originally named Asa Bundy Sheffey, Robert Hayden spent his childhood being passed back
and forth between his parents and foster parents, who eventually changed Sheffeys name
to their own. Haydens bad eyesight kept him from participating in sports, and he turned to
books instead. As a young adult, Hayden joined the Federal Writers Project, a government
program supplying jobs to out-of-work writers during the Great Depression. In the years he
worked for the project, Hayden researched the historical roots of the Underground Railroad
in Michigan as well as other aspects of African American history.

Think About the Writers What obstacles did these writers need to overcome in order
to be accepted and successful?












Build Background In Mexico, death is commonly thought to be a passing over to another realm.
Rituals concerning death are infused with familiarity to relieve the suffering of relatives and to bring
honor to the person who has died.
Preview the Selections In these three short works, youll meet three very different
narrators and some important people in their lives.
Read with a Purpose Read this story to find out how a relatives death affects the
narrators father.
Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark
by Sandra Cisneros
Your abuelito
1
is dead, Papa says early one morning in my
room. Est muerto,
2
and then as if he just heard the news
himself, crumples like a coat and cries, my brave Papa
cries. I have never seen my Papa cry and dont know what
to do.
I know he will have to go away, that he will take a plane to
Mexico, all the uncles and aunts will be there, and they will
have a black-and-white photo taken in front of the tomb
with flowers shaped like spears in a white vase because
this is how they send the dead away in that country.
Because I am the oldest, my father has told me first, and
now it is my turn to tell the others. I will have to explain why
we cant play. I will have to tell them to be quiet today.
My Papa, his thick hands and thick shoes, who wakes up
tired in the dark, who combs his hair with water, drinks his
coffee, and is gone before we wake, today is sitting on my
bed.
And I think if my own Papa died what would I do. I hold my Papa in my arms. I hold and
hold and hold him.

Reading Focus
Finding Themes What key descriptive words in this paragraph might be clues to the storys
theme?
Literary Focus
Universal Themes What has the speaker realized?




Young Man Desires Position (c.
1930) by Gordon Samstag (1906
1990). Oil on canvas (50 " x 47
"). Sheldon Swope Art Museum,
Terre Haute, Indiana (1944.08).

Build Background Hughess poem Mother to Son, is an example of a dramatic monologue, a
poem in which a speaker addresses one or more silent listeners. During the course of a dramatic
monologue, the speaker reveals complex thoughts and feelings, and often sends an important
message.
Read with a Purpose Read this poem to find out what advice the speaker has for her
son.

Preparing to Read for this selection is on page 157.
Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes

Proletarian (1934) by Gordon Samstag (1906
1990). Oil on canvas (48 5/16" x 42").
The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio. Museum
Purchase Fund (1935.34).

Well, son, Ill tell you:
Life for me aint been no crystal stair.
Its had tacks in it,
And splinters,
5 And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor

Bare.
But all the time
Ise been a-climbin on,
10 And reachin landins,
And turnin corners,
And sometimes goin in the dark
Where there aint been no light.
So boy, dont you turn back.
15 Dont you set down on the steps
Cause you finds its kinder hard.
Dont you fall now
For Ise still goin, honey,
Ise still climbin,
20
And life for me aint been no crystal stair.


Literary Focus
Universal Themes What do the speakers choice of words tell you about her life?
Reading Focus
Finding Themes The speaker is addressing her sonperhaps responding to a question he
asked her. What is the speakers message to her son?


















Build Background In Haydens poem Those Winter Sundays, a son
remembers his father. Notice how his father communicates in gestures rather than
words.
Read with a Purpose As you read, think about the relationship between
the speaker and his father.
Preparing to Read for this selection is on page 157.
Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden

The Guardian by Ben Watson III. Watercolor.
Private collection.

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
5
banked fires blaze. No one ever
thanked him.
Id wake and hear the cold splintering,
breaking.

When the rooms were warm, hed call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,
10 Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know

of loves austere and lonely offices?


Reading Focus
Finding Themes What do these details reveal about the father?
Literary Focus
Universal Themes What feeling about his father does the speaker express
in these last two lines?
















Applying Your Skills
Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark / Mother to Son / Those
Winter Sundays
Literary Response and Analysis
Reading Skills Focus
Quick Check
1. In Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark, what new responsibility does the
narrator face?
2. What does the speaker say her life has not been in Mother to Son?
3. In Those Winter Sundays, what does the father get up early to do? Why?
Read with a Purpose
4. How is the father affected by the death of his father in Papa Who Wakes Up . . .?
5. What advice does the speaker in Mother to Son give to her son?
6. Describe the relationship between the speaker and his father in Those Winter
Sundays.
Reading Skills: Finding Themes
7. Review the notes you made as you read these selections. Then, add a row to the
bottom of your chart and write a sentence expressing the theme of each. You can
refer to this chart as you answer questions 1315.
Vocabulary Check
Answer the following questions about the Vocabulary words.
8. Is something chronic constant or short-term?
9. Does austere mean simple or luxurious?
10. Is someone who behaves indifferently uncaring or attentive?
Literary Skills Focus
Literary Analysis
11. Analyze At the end of both Papa Who Wakes Up . . . and Those Winter Sundays,
how do the speakers feel about their fathers? In Mother to Son, how does the
mother feel about her son?
12. Interpret What does the speaker of Mother to Son mean when she says life hasnt
been no crystal stair?
Literary Skills: Universal Themes Across Genres
13. Analyze In Papa Who Wakes Up . . . , what has changed about the narrator by the
end of the story?
14. Compare In what ways are the narrators of Papa Who Wakes Up . . . and Those
Winter Sundays similar? Use details from the texts to support your answer.
15. Compare What common truthsor universal themesare conveyed in Papa Who
Wakes Up . . . and Mother to Son?
Writing Skills Focus Think as a Reader/Writer
Use It in Your Writing In your Reader/Writer Notebook, you took notes about the ways in
which these writers brought their characters to life. Choose one selection to imitate, and
write a poem or a story in which you use a similar style to characterize the narrator or main
character.

Reading Standard 3.4 Determine characters' traits by what the characters say about
themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy.
Reading Standard 3.5 Compare works that express a universal theme and provide
evidence to support the ideas expressed in each work.















Comparing Texts
Wrap Up
Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark /Mother to Son
/ Those Winter Sundays
Writing Skills Focus A Comparison-Contrast Essay
Now that you have read Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark, Mother to Son, and
Those Winter Sundays, write a comparison-contrast essay in which you tell about
similarities (comparisons) and differences (contrasts) among the works.
Gather and Organize Your Ideas
All of the selections focus on parent-child relationships. What universal theme, or message
about life, do these works share? To organize your ideas for this essay, fill out a chart like
this one:


Papa Who . . .

Mother to Son

Those Winter
Sundays

Narrator or Speaker

The story is told by
young girl.

The mother is the
speaker.



Characters We Learn
About

Papa

Mother

Father

Methods of
Characterization






Use Three-Part Structure Most essays have three basic parts: (1) Your essays
introduction tells the reader what works you will compare, including titles, authors, and
background information. The introduction should end with a thesis statement in which you
state how the works are similar or different. (2) The body of your essay consists of
paragraphs supporting your thesis statement with evidence from the worksthe information
listed in your chart. (3) Your conclusion sums up your major points and ends with a new
(but related) thought.
Use the Block Method Comparison-and- contrast essays can be organized by the point-
by-point method or the block method. Youll use the block method to write this essay.
When you use the block method, you discuss the works one at a time. First, write about
the elements of one work in the order you think is most effective. Then, discuss the same
elements in the other works following the same order. The following chart provides an
example.

Work 1:Papa Who . . .

Work 2: Mother to Son

Element 1: Parent character and situation

Element 1: Parent character and situation

Element 2: What child learns

Element 2: What child learns

Element 3: Universal theme conveyed

Element 3: Universal theme conveyed

Develop Your Ideas
Be sure to develop and elaborate general statements in your essay. Provide examples,
details, or quotations from the texts to support your thesis.
Proofread Your Essay
Re-read your essay and correct any errors you find in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

What Do You Think Now? What ideas about life does each of the narrators impart?
How are those ideas formed by the narrators relationships with others?

Reading Standard 3.5 Compare works that express a universal theme and provide
evidence to support the ideas expressed in each work.
Writing Standard 1.4 Develop the main idea within the body of the composition through
supporting evidence (e.g., scenarios, commonly held beliefs, hyphotheses, definitions).
















Standards Review
Literary Skills Review
Character Directions: Read the short story below and answer the questions that follow.
Ambush
by Tim OBrien
From 1965 to 1969, the U.S. military actively participated in the conflict in Vietnam, siding
with South Vietnam against North Vietnam and its communist government. When the war
ended in 1975, nearly two million civilians and 58,000 military personnel had died.

When she was nine, my daughter Kathleen asked if I had ever killed anyone. She knew
about the war; she knew Id been a soldier. You keep writing these war stories, she said,
so I guess you mustve killed somebody. It was a difficult moment, but I did what seemed
right, which was to say, Of course not, and then to take her onto my lap and hold her for
a while. Someday, I hope, shell ask again. But here I want to pretend shes a grown-up. I
want to tell her exactly what happened, or what I remember happening, and then I want to
say to her that as a little girl she was absolutely right. This is why I keep writing war
stories:

He was a short, slender young man of about twenty. I was afraid of himafraid of
somethingand as he passed me on the trail I threw a grenade that exploded at his feet
and killed him.

Or to go back:

Shortly after midnight we moved into the ambush site outside My Khe. The whole platoon
was there, spread out in the dense brush along the trail, and for five hours nothing at all
happened. We were working in two-man teamsone man on guard while the other slept,
switching off every two hoursand I remember it was still dark when Kiowa shook me
awake for the final watch. The night was foggy and hot. For the first few moments I felt
lost, not sure about directions, groping for my helmet and weapon. I reached out and found
three grenades and lined them up in front of me; the pins had already been straightened
for quick throwing. And then for maybe half an hour I kneeled there and waited. Very
gradually, in tiny slivers, dawn began to break through the fog, and from my position in the
brush I could see ten or fifteen meters up the trail. The mosquitoes were fierce. I
remember slapping at them, wondering if I should wake up Kiowa and ask for some
repellent, then thinking it was a bad idea, then looking up and seeing the young man come
out of the fog. He wore black clothing and rubber sandals and a gray ammunition belt. His
shoulders were slightly stooped, his head cocked to the side as if listening for something.
He seemed at ease. He carried his weapon in one hand, muzzle down, moving without
any hurry up the center of the trail. There was no sound at allnone that I can remember.
In a way, it seemed, he was part of the morning fog, or my own imagination, but there was
also the reality of what was happening in my stomach. I had already pulled the pin on a
grenade. I had come up to a crouch. It was entirely automatic. I did not hate the young
man; I did not see him as the enemy; I did not ponder issues of morality or politics or
military duty. I crouched and kept my head low. I tried to swallow whatever was rising from
my stomach, which tasted like lemonade, something fruity and sour. I was terrified. There
were no thoughts about killing. The grenade was to make him go awayjust evaporate
and I leaned back and felt my mind go empty and then felt it fill up again. I had already
thrown the grenade before telling myself to throw it. The brush was thick and I had to lob it
high, not aiming, and I remember the grenade seeming to freeze above me for an instant,
as if a camera had clicked, and I remember ducking down and holding my breath and
seeing little wisps of fog rise from the earth. The grenade bounced once and rolled across
the trail. I did not hear it, but there mustve been a sound, because the young man
dropped his weapon and began to run, just two or three quick steps, then he hesitated,
swiveling to his right, and he glanced down at the grenade and tried to cover his head but
never did. It occurred to me then that he was about to die. I wanted to warn him. The
grenade made a popping noisenot soft but not loud eithernot what Id expectedand
there was a puff of dust and smokea small white puffand the young man seemed to
jerk upward as if pulled by invisible wires. He fell on his back. His rubber sandals had been
blown off. There was no wind. He lay at the center of the trail, his right leg bent beneath
him, his one eye shut, his other eye a huge star-shaped hole.
It was not a matter of live or die. There was no real peril. Almost certainly the young man
would have passed by. And it will always be that way.
Later, I remember, Kiowa tried to tell me that the man wouldve died anyway. He told me
that it was a good kill, that I was a soldier and this was a war, that I should shape up and
stop staring and ask myself what the dead man wouldve done if things were reversed.
None of it mattered. The words seemed far too complicated. All I could do was gape at the
fact of the young mans body.

Even now I havent finished sorting it out. Sometimes I forgive myself, other times I dont.
In the ordinary hours of life I try not to dwell on it, but now and then, when Im reading a
newspaper or just sitting alone in a room, Ill look up and see the young man coming out of
the morning fog. Ill watch him walk toward me, his shoulders slightly stooped, his head
cocked to the side, and hell pass within a few yards of me and suddenly smile at some
secret thought and then continue up the trail to where it bends back into the fog.






1. Who is the main character of the story?
A. Kathleen
B. Kiowa
C. the narrator
D. the platoon

2. From the first paragraph of the story, we can infer that the narrator feels conflict
about
A. whether he will tell his daughter the truth.
B. why he was in the war.
C. how he killed the man.
D. why he writes war stories.

3. The man in black clothing is a
A. dynamic character.
B. flat character.
C. protagonist, or main character.
D. round character.

4. What is the narrators motivation for pulling the grenades pin?
A. fear
B. anger
C. curiosity
D. revenge

5. What method of characterization is not used in the story?
A. private thoughts
B. actions
C. dialogue
D. direct characterization

6. The narrator can best be classified as
A. a flat character.
B. a round character.
C. a flat and static character.
D. a round and dynamic character.

7. At the end of the story, we can infer that the narrator
A. is haunted by what hes done.
B. never thinks of war.
C. lies all the time.
D. has a bad memory.

8. Which character trait below best describes the main character?
A. stubborn
B. conflicted
C. happy
D. fearful
Timed Writing
9. What have you learned about the narrator of Ambush? List some of the character
traits he possesses. Then, explain how the storys writer revealed those traits. Was
it mainly through direct or indirect characterization? Explain, and give a few
examples of each.

Reading Standard 3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in
a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences)
and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.
Reading Standard 3.4 Determine characters traits by what the characters say about
themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy.




Standards review
Vocabulary Skills Review

Literal Meanings
Directions: Choose the best definition for the italicized word in each sentence below.
1. Angelo would not permit his daughter to drive after dark.
A. assist
B. persuade
C. request
D. allow

2. The frail woman needed help carrying her groceries.
A. eager
B. hopeful
C. weak
D. bitter

3. After the war, the town that was left became barren.
A. bustling
B. empty
C. crowded
D. filthy

4. The malignant judge refused to hear the victims complaint.
A. cruel
B. concerned
C. careless
D. unruly

5. The cross librarian glared at the students as they chatted instead of doing their
homework.
A. giddy
B. lazy
C. angry
D. persistent

6. Tonya tried to be discreet as she entered the meeting fifteen minutes late.
A. loud
B. invisible
C. obvious
D. careful

7. The neighborhood watch group was vigilant as they drove through the town looking
for the suspect.
A. forceful
B. careless
C. watchful
D. reckless

8. Janice was filled with elation after seeing her sister for the first time in years.
A. anger
B. fear
C. sorrow
D. joy

9. After giving the man the bad news, the officer offered him solace.
A. humor
B. comfort
C. shelter
D. advice

10. The patient could not get rid of her chronic cough.
A. constant
B. painful
C. irritating
D. minor

11. Roland was not comfortable with his grandfathers austere way of life.
A. lighthearted
B. quiet
C. irritable
D. limited

12. The internship enabled Peter to get a job at a successful company.
A. pushed
B. encouraged
C. forced
D. allowed
Academic Vocabulary
Directions: Choose the best definition for the italicized word in each sentence.
13. The character Sherlock Holmes is known for picking up on significant details.
A. fallacious
B. incomprehensible
C. important
D. unnecessary

14. Holmess careful attention to detail helps him solve the most complex crimes.
A. complicated
B. dangerous
C. easily solved
D. idiotic


Reading Standard 1.1 Identify and use the literal and figurative meanings of words and
understand word derivations.