Summer Reading Assignment
The incoming 8th graders must read two novels, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.
- For The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the students must complete an essay response (3 paragraphs) on the following topic:
TOPIC: When being placed in a genre, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was categorized under Realistic Fiction, NOT Historical Fiction, even though it is a story based around the real life event of World War II. This genre of Realistic Fiction was chosen because many critics and readers believe that John Boyne’s novel was a poor representation of the true events of Nazi Germany, World War II, and Holocaust camps. They believe that the novel did not show how horribly the Jewish race was treated during this time. How could Shmuel easily sit by the fence and talk to Bruno each day while in a concentration camp? Why was he ultimately in good health? These questions caused the book to be categorized under Realistic Fiction and NOT Historical Fiction.
ASSIGNMENT: In an essay, you will choose one side of this argument. Do you believe the main characters and events of the The Boy in the Striped Pajamas created an accurate betrayal of WWII and the Holocaust, making it a perfect fit for Historical Fiction? OR……Do you believe that the characters and events of the book did not show how strict and horrific everyday life was in Auschwitz camp and was therefore better suited for the chosen Realistic Fiction genre? Choose one genre. Then, support your choice with three diverse examples from the text that back up your opinion. Be sure to use lines/quotes from the text and detailed scenes as evidence as well as your own sentences of explanation.
1.Opening lines of an essay should always grab attention (begin with a scene from the novel, begin with a famous quote, ask your audience a question, tell your audience to imagine what it would be like to be in Auschwitz, etc).
- Then, smoothly connect your creative opening to your topic, which is that the novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is very controversial when it comes to its genre.
- Your last sentence will be your thesis, which should state your decision---that it should be Realistic Fiction because it does NOT accurately portrayal the horrible camp of Auschwitz OR that it should have been Historical Fiction because the author, John Boyne, does an excellent job of depicting the treatment of Jews in the concentration camps of WWII.
- REMINDER: YOU DO NOT USE THE PRONOUN "I" ANYWHERE IN THIS PAPER!
- Write a topic sentence stating what the paragraph is going to explain. (Example: By examining the scenes and characters from Boyne’s literary masterpiece, it is clear that The Boy in the Striped Pajamas should be placed in the Realistic Fiction genre.)
- Next, use a smooth transition word and state your first point. (Ex: First, it is clear that the novel was a poor interpretation of the WWII era and therefore a better choice for Realistic Fiction because the characters were unrealistically naïve or oblivious to the turmoil surrounding them.)
- You should then describe at least two big scenes from the novel that prove your first point. Use quotes from the text, and better yet, EXPLAIN what you take from these scenes in your own words!
- Continue this formula for your second and third points.
- Finish the paragraph with a closing line that sounds similar to your topic sentence.
- Restate the book’s title, author, and your opinion on the choice of Realistic or Historical Fiction.(Example: As you can see, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne was a poor interpretation of Nazi Germany and therefore a novel better suited for the genre of Realistic Fiction.)
- Then, restate your three main points.
- Lastly, be sure to close the paper with a meaningful, powerful, and creative ending.
On both The Outsiders and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the students will be tested.