Reading Level: Ages 12-17
This literature guide was created as part of an 11th grade project at Castle Park High School in Indiana. The students chose the book to read and wrote the following questions and project ideas to stimulate thought and action about real issues.
- How do your actions before, during, and after school affect your future?
- Tyler has a videogame to cope. What other methods are there to cope with difficult situations and what are the most effective for you?
- Have you ever judged a book by its cover? Why is that a problem in today’s society?
- Bullying can leave a victim feeling hopeless, what are some ways that you can help people who are being bullied?
Write a journal about how you felt on your first day of school? Did you fit in? Did you stand out? Did you want to fit in/stand out? Were rumors started over the summer about you involving any parties or misdemeanors? How did those rumors make you feel? Were you bullies for any of those reasons?
- How does Tyler’s father’s job affect him (his behavior and their family)?
- Are pranks truly harmless? Do they have a lasting effect (page 9)?
- Have you ever been in a situation such as Tyler and Yoda’s, where you could choose to stand up against bullying and risk getting hurt? How did you handle the situation (chapter 26)?
- How does Bethany’s accident, at the Milbury’s party, affect her relationship with Tyler (page 19)?
- How does the father react to Tyler standing up to him?
- When somebody does something that is out of the ordinary, like Tyler and Hannah’s father showing up at the doctor, what does it make you think? (Pg. 89)
- How would you react if you had plans, like Tyler did when his father came home early, and then you found out they were being thrown out of the window? (Pg. 98)
- How do you interpret the passage on page 228. "An abandoned newspaper... for a change"
- Going to the party brought Tyler under the scrutiny of the detectives for what was done to Bethany. Do you think that a night of fun is worth all the possible consequences? (Pg. 145)
- Who shows up to help Hannah at the lacrosse game after she gets injured? Why is this surprising (page 88)?
- Tyler is being accused of a major offense, and when he tells people he didn’t do it they don’t believe him. Why are people acting this way towards him?
- Why is Tyler’s father so hard on him about everything?
- What does Tyler have to do at school because of the whole Bethany situation?
- Why do Tyler and Chip Milbury not get along well?
- Who beat up Tyler and why did he get beaten up?
The part in the book where Tyler is beat up and his mom freaks out after seeing how badly hurt he is reminds me of the scene in the movie Gran Torino where a similar scene unfolds. In the movie Sue comes home thoroughly beaten, like Tyler, and her parents are very upset. Yet they do not call the police because there is no way to prove who did it to her, just like in Twisted.
For some reason or another the part in the book where Tyler takes the handgun from his dad’s room out to fiddle with it and think about whether he should shoot himself or not reminds me of the movie Stand by Me. The way I picture Tyler holds the gun and is very hesitant with it reminds me of the scene in the movie where Gordie holds a handgun awkwardly to fend off some bullies/hoodlums.
When Tyler goes to a batting cage to deal with his anger by hitting the balls over and over again as hard as he could, putting all his anger, sadness, and frustration into each swing it’s a lot like Part 7 of The Pacific. In Part 7 John Basilone, war hero, is back in the states after intense front line combat to golf. Each swing he can see flash backs to the front lines. He hits bucket after bucket of golf balls and ends up with some nasty blisters on his palms.
There are so many movies, TV show episodes, books, stories about how kids act up and their parents threaten to send them or actually follow through and do send them to a military academy. For example Cadet Kelly, The Simpsons, The Proud Family all have examples where the parents get tired of their kids being trouble so they send them to a military academy.
- How would you react if you found out your parents had signed you up for boarding school?
- Write a short sequel about how you think life is for Tyler and his family after the book?
- The way we have acted in the past defines our future. Tyler’s is suspected by his peers for burning the football field because of the Foul Deed. He then thinks about how he can reverse their thoughts. Is it fair for people to judge him the way they are? Why or why not? (Pg. 94)
- After the party Bethany and Tyler’s relationship appears to be no more. What could have happened if things had gone differently at the party? Would things be happily-ever-after?
- Hate list- Jennifer Brown
- Inexcusable – Chris lynch
- Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay Asher
- Deadline- Chris Crutcher
- Speak- Lauire Halse Anderson
Students can create a set of videos that communicate an anti-bullying message. Videos could be live action or animation, informative or abstract. Students should be left with a blank drawing board for them to come up with the ideas themselves. After all the videos are finished you can create a DVD of the finished videos to sell, and donate the proceeds of the sale to an anti-bullying organization or charity.
Your class can spread the anti-bullying message by treating it as a campaign. Work as a class to create a full campaign against bullying. Students should brainstorm ways to use art to advertise the message. Some examples include painting banners and posters with anti-bullying slogans, creating public service announcements on video, or recording a musical tribute to the victims of bullying.
Have the students draw one image of how they look when they feel good about themselves and another for how they look when they feel bad about themselves. Have them write beside each image things that make them feel this way. This activity establishes physical and emotional exploration. Students will connect their positive self-images with the things that make them feel good or bad. Pay attention to how many students identify some type of bullying on their negative images.