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Teacher Lesson Return to "In the Ruins of My Blue House"
In the Ruins of My Blue House
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Regents Practice: Hope After the Storm

• Students will take an exam in order to analyze specific writing and assess an author’s tone and style.
• Students will improve skills needed to do well on the Regents reading section: Making inferences, identifying the tone of a piece of writing, recognizing key facts and the main point in a text, understanding the purpose of individual sentences, etc.

Note: The Regents English exam has a section that requires students to read a passage between 400 and 600 words long, and answer six multiple-choice questions.

• Serenity
• Solemn
• Dismal
• Refugee
• Empathetic
• Salvation

Instructions: Before the class, make copies of the multiple-choice questions and hand them out. Next, put these directions on the board or read them slowly: “Read the story. After you complete the story, begin the multiple-choice section. Read each question and all the answers. Then choose the best option for each question.”

Answer Key: 1-2, 2-4, 3-1, 4-2, 5-3, 6-1

1. While others happen in the course of this story, the contradiction (2) posed in first paragraph provides insight into the author’s experiences.
2. An ocean cannot literally sing, that is an action that only a person can do. Therefore this is personification (4).
3. While one definition of expansive is “Tending toward economic or political expansion,” within this context the most accurate and correct definition is “Covering a wide space in terms of space or scope” (1).
4. Many of these answers have one word that applies and another that does not. This story is not an investigation, analytical, or exposition. It is “Poetic personal narrative” (2).
5. From the following quotation, the author expresses a sense of hope in rebuilding (3): “But as the ocean promised when it carried our fairy to the soft sands, there is always hope.”
6. This whole story is built on the author’s personal experiences (1) and love of the island.

Regents Practice Question Sheet

Name_________________________________________ Date_____________

1) What is the function of the first paragraph?

1) Examines the aftermath of the hurricane in a poetic style.
2) Poses a contradiction of environs that defines the author’s life.
3) Provides a juxtaposition between the place that she loves and one that has been forced upon her.
4) Contrasts the exciting city life of New York City with the rustic and unbecoming experiences of Mexico.

2) In the story, the author writes, “Standing only several yards away from the singing ocean, those rooms were my remote escape from the city.” This is an example of:

1) Hyperbole
2) Simile
3) Zeugma
4) Personification

3) In the story, the author writes, “My mother wanted me to inherit it and pass from mother to daughter the gift of silent space for the most expansive thoughts.” What does the word expansive most closely mean in this context?

1) Covering a wide space in terms of space or scope
2) Tending toward economic or political expansion
3) Ideological and traditional in expectations
4) Academic in nature

4) The style of this story would be most accurately described as:

1) Journalistic investigation
2) Poetic personal narrative
3) Analytical nonfiction
4) Persuasive literary exposition

5) What does the painting of the nymph represent to the author?

1) Her lost childhood.
2) A mythological land where she is safe.
3) The idea that she can rebuild her lost life.
4) A piece of her life and home back in NYC.

6) The author strengthens her description of Isla Holbox through her:

1) Personal anecdotes
2) Persuasive arguments
3) Historic facts
4) Newspaper quotations

Aligned with Common Core Standards for English Language Arts 9-12

Common Core Anchor Standards for Reading:
Key Ideas and Details
RI.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Craft and Structure
RI.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).

Common Core Anchor Standards for Language:
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9–10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

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