73 pages 2 hours read

Diana Wynne Jones

Howl’s Moving Castle

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1986

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After Reading

Discussion/Analysis Prompt

What is the relationship between Howl’s Moving Castle and the John Donne poem “Song: Go and Catch a Falling Star”?

  • What does Donne’s poem mean?
  • How do the poem’s lines correspond to events in Howl’s Moving Castle?
  • How would you compare themes in the book with themes in Donne’s poem?

Teaching Suggestion: Students may enjoy debating aloud which events in the book are references to which lines of Donne’s poem. If your students are relatively inexperienced with poetry, you might show them this 7-minute video, which offers an excellent analysis of Donne’s poem, before moving to whole-class discussion of the second bullet point and then asking them to write individual responses to the final bullet point. If you suspect that your students will struggle to identify themes unassisted, you might offer them this 4-minute video explainer from Oregon State University.

Differentiation Suggestion: Literal thinkers may struggle to see the relationship between events in the book and lines from the poem, as the correspondence is often somewhat abstract. If your class will be answering the entire prompt in writing, you might allow literal thinkers to pair up with peers and answer as partners.