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The Most Dangerous Game
Career Research Portfolio
Stephen King
Fahrenheit 451
Great Expectations
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Freshmen Summer Reading
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The Odyssey
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Extra Credit
The House on Mango Street
To Kill A Mockingbird
Hand Outs

The three assignments on this page are to be your best work and prepared for your portfolio submittal.

Used for teaching purposes only.  Thank you to Teacher Erin Carlson June 27, 2002.  Castlemont High School, Oakland Unified School District (adapted from the English Department at Castro Valley High School, Castro Valley Unified School District

Handout One

“Hairs” Modeling Assignment


Writing Situation:  In the vignette “Hairs,” Sandra Cisneros reveals a lot about the narrator’s family, especially her mother, through a discussion of one physical trait:  hair.  Her first paragraph describes the hair of the narrator’s father and the hair of her siblings, using those descriptions to give the reader insight into each of their personalities.  Cisneros also reveals the narrator’s feelings towards her mother in the passage, using a variety of stylistic devices to achieve this effect.  Think about the people in your own family, the characteristics you share with them and those, which make them (and you) distinctive.  Decide which physical trait you would like to write about.  Is the trait one you share with your family or yours alone?  How might you present your piece Cisneros did with metaphors, similes, personification, alliteration, repetition, and sensory details?


Writing Directions:  Using “Hairs” as a model, write a vignette about your own life that discusses an important physical trait and how it reveals something about the person who possesses it and your relationship to him/her.  You may choose to discuss a trait that all of you share, or one that makes a particular family member—or you—stand out from the others because it is different..  You must incorporate at least four stylistic devices in your vignette.



Hand Out 2


Directions:  As you read the story and come across each house or apartment listed below, fill in the details about the place and the people who live there in the middle column.  Write a significant quotation about the place (or what happens there) in the right-hand column.


The Houses

Details from the story

Significant Quotations


Esperanza’s house on Mango Street

(p. 3-4, 109-110)





Cathy’s house (p.12-13), the one that Meme Ortiz moves into after Cathy’s family moves out





Louie’s house where he lives with his family and his cousin Marin (p.23-27)








Earl’s place











The Monkey Garden









Sally’s new house after she gets married








Esperanza’s dream house in the future










Hand Out 3

English 9      Period: _____

Mango StreetDouble Entry Journal (DEJ)                                           


Overview:  A DEJ is a way to closely read passages from a text, to discover what individual words and sentences reveal about characters, conflicts, themes, etc.  In the future, you will be selecting your own “strong lines” and meaningful passages to comment on, but for this first effort three have been chosen for you.  Each passage shows something about Esperanza, her relationship to someone else in the neighborhood, and/or her opinion about a particular social issue. 


Directions: As you read each passage, you have five tasks: First, identify who is speaking or narrating.  Second, explain what the context or situation is—that is, who is involved, where s/he is, at what time, and what is going on, etc., Third, explain what the quotation means and how it is significant to the novel. (In other words, why is this quote important?) Keep in mind that quotations rarely tell you why they are important, so you must use the clues given to you and really dig beneath the surface, kind of like “Author and Me” questions.  Fourth, note any stylistic devices (similes, metaphors, personification, symbols, alliteration, etc.), and finally, what connections do you see between this excerpt and other vignettes in the novel? (Ideas of waiting, feeling trapped, making friends, etc.) Before you begin, compare the “weak” and “strong” examples of how to do a DEJ. I know it sounds like a lot, but you are capable!

Quotation                                       Response                                         


from “Marin”


Marin, under the streetlight, dancing by herself, is singing the same song somewhere.  I know.  Is waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life (27).
























from “A Rice Sandwich”


“And then she made me stand up on a box of books and point.  That one? she said, pointing to a row of ugly three-flats, the ones even the raggedy men are ashamed to go into.  Yes, I nodded even though I knew that wasn’t my house and started to cry.  I always cry when nuns yell at me, even if they’re not yelling”  (45).

Speaker:  Esperanza is narrating


Situation:  (weak)  Esperanza watches Marin late at night


Situation:  (strong) Esperanza has been watching Marin in the evenings.  Her observations help her to get to know Marin and to interpret what her actions might mean.  Esperanza has a sense that Marin is waiting for change to happen to her.


Significance:  (weak) This means that Marin wants her life to change


Significance:  (strong) Esperanza understands that Marin thinks that her life will change when someone comes into her life.  That someone will be a man.  Marin knows she can use her physical attractiveness to get out of Mango Street, a place she doesn’t like.  Esperanza appears to relate to Marin because she says, “I know.”  Esperanza also has dreams of changing her life and getting beyond Mango Street.  But while Marin is stuck, “singing the same song,” I think that Esperanza would like to make change happen, not just wait for “someone to change her life.”


Stylistic devices:  (weak) Cisneros uses sensory details.


Stylistic devices:  (strong) A falling star is something you wish upon.  It symbolizes Marin’s dependency on something outside herself to bring change.   Cisneros also uses alliteration (ex. Same song somewhere) to establish rhythm. 


Connections: Marin is like Sally, Rafaela and Minerva, other women on Mango Street.  All of them seem trapped in relationships and circumstances that they want out of, but don’t know how to escape.












Stylistic devices:






from “Born Bad”


“She listened to every book, every poem I read her.  One day I read her one of my own.  I came very close.  I whispered it into the pillow:

      I want to be

      like the waves on the sea

      like the clouds in the wind,

      but I’m me.

      One day I’ll jump

      out of my skin.

      I’ll shake the sky

      like a hundred violins.

That’s nice.  That’s very good, she said in her tired voice.  You just remember to keep writing…It will keep you free, and I said yes, but at that time I didn’t know what she meant” (60-61).












Stylistic devices:






From “Four Skinny Trees”


“Let one forget his reason for being, they’d all droop like tulips in a glass, each one with their arms around the other.  Keep, keep, keep, trees say while I sleep.  They teach.

     When I am too sad and too skinny to keep keeping, when I am a tiny thing against so many bricks, then it is I look at trees.  When there is nothing left to look at on this street.  Four who grew despite concrete.  Four who reach and do not forget to reach.  Four whose only reason is to be and be”  (75).











Stylistic devices: