105 pages 3 hours read

Gordon Korman


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2012

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Essay Questions

Use these essay questions as writing and critical thinking exercises for all levels of writers, and to build their literary analysis skills by requiring textual references throughout the essay.

Differentiation Suggestion: For English learners or struggling writers, strategies that work well include graphic organizers, sentence frames or starters, group work, or oral responses.

Scaffolded Essay Questions

Student Prompt: Write a short (1-3 paragraph) response using one of the bulleted outlines below. Cite details from the text over the course of your response that serve as examples and support.

1. The statue of Atlas plays an important role in the plot of the novel.

  • What is the symbolic significance of this statue? (topic sentence)
  • Give at least three pieces of evidence from the novel that support your interpretation of the statue’s meaning.
  • In your concluding sentence or sentences, show how the symbolism of this statue supports the novel’s larger meaning.

2. The novel’s characterization of the intellectually gifted students at ASD—at least prior to Donovan’s arrival—is as “socially inept,” robotic rule followers.

  • Does research back Korman’s stereotyping of the intellectually gifted? (topic sentence)
  • Give three pieces of evidence from the story that demonstrate how Korman stereotypes the intellectually gifted.
  • Give three pieces of evidence from a reputable outside source that demonstrate why this stereotype is or is not accurate.