Alanah Sutton 2018
In the Stars
A few years ago I went camping with my friends. We go a lot and their favourite thing to do is go stargazing, but at that point in time I had never done it before. I lay under the stars that night watching them for the first time, and I discovered that they tell us stories.
I look up at the beautiful navy blue sky, filled with little pins of light. The night is clear and cold, with a crispness that hints the end of summer. Everything is silent, except for the sound of the trees blowing in the wind and occasional hoot of owls.
As I concentrate on the stars above me, I see a girl. She’s made of stars and lights up the night sky around her with her joyful expression. She’s dancing in a way I have never seen before, as if she’s gliding through water, or like a willow tree flowing in the breeze. I watch her for quite some time, in trance of her movement, and I lose track of all sense of time. She finally notices me. I try to wave, but she giggles and runs away. My eyes follow her as she runs into what seems like a playground, the sandpit made of fluffy clouds and the slide made from the steely light of stars.
There’s a boy there, he’s made of dim lit stars and looks calm and content, reading a book by the slide. The girl speeds past him and climbs up the slide that’s as tall as a gum tree. The birds shriek from excitement like spectators, as the girl races down the slide and lands in the sand pit. The sand sprays out like showering comets. The boy’s mouth is agape at how fast the young girl went.
“Are you okay?” He rushes over to her, brushing the clouds away like a strong wind. The girl sticks out her tongue and laughs, reminding me of Tinkerbelle from Peter Pan.
“Of course I am, it’s not that high.” She pauses for a second to think. Her face lights up like the moon as she thinks of what I assume she believes is an excellent idea. “Why don’t you go down the slide too?”
“Oh no, I really shouldn’t.”
“Are you scared Timmy? I thought boys never got scared of a little slide.” She says as a shimmering grin appears on her face.
“Am not. I’m brave, way braver than you.” Timmy says, his stars dimming even more. He climbs the rungs of the slide that seem to go on forever.
“Go on, it’s not that scary!” The girl shouts up at him. However, when Timmy looks up he sees that the slide goes all the way to Pluto. After a little while the boy finally builds up the courage and goes down the slide. He goes so fast that the wind whips past me.
“AHHHHH!” screaming the boy loses control and lands in the cloud.
He landed so loudly on his leg that the ground shakes. His leg looks disgusting, bent forwards in no way a leg ever should. The girl sprints over to him.
“I’m so sorry Timmy!” Guilt sweeps over her, face like a cloud over the moon. “I should have never pressured you into doing something you weren’t comfortable with.” The boy clenches his jaw from the pain and wipes tears made from the droplets of stars off his cheeks.
“It’s okay, as long as you never do it to anyone else, ever again.”
“I promise.” She pulls him carefully into an embrace and as soon as she realised her wrong doings the boy’s leg begins to heal. They both slowly faded into the night, along with the playground as the first blush of morning light hints at the horizon. All was silent again, except for the light summer breeze and the rustling trees.
I go back to visit them sometimes. In fact, just a week ago I went back to that same beautiful campsite on a warm summer weekend. My friend Tom had never been camping before, so naturally, as with me, we told him that he had to come stargazing with us. He lay on the soft, plush, grass and looked up at the same navy night sky, filled with the same stars. Just as I had seen a young girl in the sky, he did too. Even though it had been years since I last saw her she hadn’t aged a day. Neither had Timmy.
It is almost as if they will always be there, waiting for the next new person to come along, to show us their stories, to make us better people or maybe, just maybe, make us believe that there is still magic in this world.
The Outsiders CAT
Q) Look at the sentence, ‘The water from it was like liquid ice and it tasted funny, but it was water.’ Think about the phrase ‘like liquid ice’: what does it mean? Obviously, it means the water is very cold; but does it add anything else to our sense of what is happening in the story at this point? Do very cold things normally make you think of positive emotions, feelings and ideas; or negative emotions, feelings and ideas? Why does Ponyboy say, ‘…but it was water’? What point is he making?
Okay, now write 2-3 sentences explaining how you respond to the sentence: ‘The water from it was like liquid ice and it tasted funny, but it was water.’
A) When Ponyboy goes to get a drink from the water pump Hinton conveys to the reader how pony is feeling. ‘The water was like liquid ice and it tasted funny, but it was water.’ The fact that the water ‘tasted funny’ highlights that it was not familiar to Pony, as he is so far away from home. When Pony says ‘the water was like liquid ice’ it makes the reader associate the water being really cold with the cold pit you get in your stomach when you’re scared or the cold feeling you get when you’re lonely. This helps the reader to imagine and/or relate to how Pony is feeling. He’s far away from home in abandoned church in the middle of nowhere. He’s terrified because he’s on the run with his friend, yet he’s never felt so alone before. Pony also says ‘but it was water’ this shows that with all the events that have happened to him it could have gone a lot worse and he could have had less than he does now. He is lucky to at least have water.
Q) Re-read the paragraph on page 85, from, ‘Maybe Johnny had been gone a whole week and I had just slept’ down to ‘I was scared, sitting there by myself.’ How does Ponyboy sound to you? Look at the four sentences below and choose the one you most agree with:
Alone at the church, Ponyboy is frightened and a bit foolish.
Alone at the church, Ponyboy behaves in a cowardly, pathetic way.
Alone at the church, Ponyboy is frightened but keeps his sense of humour.
Alone at the church, Ponyboy behaves like a thug.
A) Ponyboy sounds scared and like he is panicking. I most agree with the sentence ‘Alone at the church, Ponboy is frightened and a bit foolish.
Q) Copy the sentence out: this is the opening sentence of your paragraph. Then choose at least four quotes from that section on page 85 that will back up the opinion you’ve chosen. Explain how the quotes support that opinion.
A) Alone at the church, Ponboy is frightened and a but foolish. He ‘was trembling’ and his ‘head swam’. The way Hinton writes this enables the reader to really feel how Pony is. He acts foolish because he thinks Johnny had already been worked over by the fuzz’, and that ‘Dally had been killed in a car wreck.’ He overreacts and works himself up, he even admits it when he says ‘my over active imagination.’
Q) Below is a paragraph from page 85:
I kept staring out the window at the rapidly passing scenery, but I felt my eyes getting round. Dally never talked like that. Never. Dally didn’t give a Yankee dime about anyone but himself, and he was cold and hard and mean. He never talked about his past or being in jail that way – if he talked about it at all, it was to brag. And I suddenly thought of Dally… in jail at the age of ten… Dally growing up in the streets…
Copy the paragraph out – but replace each of the underlined words with the best synonym you can think of. Underline the synonyms (if you’re not sure what a synonym is, please look it up in the dictionary). Underneath the paragraph, explain your choices. Are the words you have chosen as effective as the original words? Do you think your word choice is better than the original or not quite as good?
The first one has been done for you as an example: I chose the word ‘quickly’ to replace ‘rapidly’. Although they mean much the same thing, I think the original word, ‘rapidly’, works better. ‘Rapidly’ suggests that things are passing very quickly and it makes you think that they are passing too quickly to stop. It gives you the sense that things are happening too fast for Ponyboy to properly understand.
Now, please do the next five words.
A) I kept staring out at the quickly passing scenery, but I felt my eyes go round. Dally never talked like that. Never. Dally didn’t give a Yankee dime about anyone but himself, and he was detached and tough and a bully. He never talked about his past or being in jail that way- if he talked about it at all, it was to posture. And I suddenly thought of Dally… in jail at the age of ten… Dally growing up in the back alleys.
a) Cold; detached
b) Hard; tough
c) Mean; a bully
d) Brag; posture
e) Streets; back alleys
a) In the paragraph Hinton uses the word cold to describe Dally. I chose to replace that adjective with detached. Personally, I feel that Hinton’s adjective is better at highlighting how Dally acts as it has more symbolism than detached, which is too straightforward.
b) I replaced the word hard with tough. The word doesn’t work as well because they have slightly different meanings. Hard means closed off and that you can take anything that comes your way. Whereas tough means to act cool and to pretend to not feel any emotions.
c) Swapping the word mean with bully was one of my better choices, however the word bully does not sound good in conjunction with the other words I used to describe Dally.
d) Replacing the word brag with posture worked well because to posture means to behave in a certain way that is intended to impress or mislead someone. Dally bragging would be to impress someone and posture implies the same thing. Although, some readers may be confused or misled by this word as they might not know the second meaning.
e) I chose to swap the word streets (Hinton’s word) with back alleys. This was not a great choice as the sentence –‘Dally growing up in the back alleys’- doesn’t flow as nicely when you read it. Whereas Hinton’s word (streets) fits in a lot nicer and paints a better image for the reader.
You need to write a TEEEL paragraph in response to the topic:
“You can’t win you know that?... the fighting and the killing. It doesn’t prove a thing. Greasers will still be greasers and Socs will still be Socs” Randy. The Outsiders suggests that there is little hope for those people born into a life of poverty. Discuss.
This TEEEL paragraph must include:
· Two pieces of evidence from the novel
· Be at least 150 words in length
In the novel ‘The Outsiders’ some of the ideas and areas that the writer S.E Hinton explores suggest that there is little hope for those born into a life of poverty. During the course of the book, not one of the Greasers was able to escape their background. Everything is harder for people born into poverty. They have less opportunities. The prejudice of others holds the back and they limit themselves by not believing they can break the cycle of poverty. Life is cheap and unforgiving, they may even have to sacrifice their own future to support their family. When Ponyboy feels that life isn’t fair he talks about ‘Sodapop… a dropout so he could get a job to keep me in school’, and ‘Darry… trying to run a family and hold on to two jobs’. This is a clear example of them having to give up their future to support their family. Yet again when Pony is thinking about what to write for his English essay he believes that ‘someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand them and wouldn’t be so quick to judge’. The worst part is that because people judge them the Greasers hold themselves back. Sodapop believes that he can’t be any better than what people say about him. When Pony asks why he dropped out Soda says ‘I’m dumb. The only things I was passing anyway were auto mechanics and gym.’ These examples show that there are many parts throughout the book that Hinton highlights the character’s struggles and how they are trapped in a cycle of poverty.