B. Introducing Juxtaposition (15 minutes)
- Tell students that today they are going to dig in to some really interesting aspects of the novel, specifically why the author wrote the story the way she did.
- Review key text features with the class, asking:
* “What text features in A Long Walk to Water signal when the reading is about Salva or about Nya?” Give students a moment to talk, then invite volunteers to share. Confirm that they have noticed the following:
* Nya’s story is the first (shorter, colored) part of each chapter.
* Dates are listed at the start of each character’s story in each chapter.
* Salva’s story takes place earlier in time than Nya’s.
- Ask students to take out their Reading Closely: Guiding Questions handout (from Lesson 2). Focus them on the second row, and ask them,
* “Are we mostly talking about Structure, Topic, Language, or Perspective? How can you tell?”
- Listen for students to notice that the class is discussing the structure of this book. Tell them that strong readers notice how a book is put together, and why, and that this is the work you will be doing today.
- Project a definition of juxtaposition: “To put things next to each other, especially for the purpose of comparing them.” Read it aloud. Explain that using prefixes and word roots will help students remember what this word means. Juxta means “next to,” and pos is a common root from the Latin positus (placed). Ask students to think of other words that use the root pos. Listen for “position,” “impose,” “compose,” etc.
- Ask students to add this word and its definition to their Reader’s Notes (in the margin).
- Share the juxtaposition image. Give students a minute to look at it, then post the juxtaposition image discussion prompts. Turn and talk:
* “What two images are juxtaposed here?”
* “What is the same about these images? What is different?”
* “Why did the artist want you to compare these two images?”
- Tell students that now they will think about this question:
* “How did the author of A Long Walk to Water juxtapose Nya and Salva?”
- Start a list on the board, getting the class started with the most basic example: One way Park juxtaposes Salva and Nya is by putting them in the same book, and even in the same chapter. Add that to the list.
- Direct students’ attention to the Salva/Nya anchor chart and ask: “What other ways does the author juxtapose Salva and Nya?” Wait until four or five hands are up, and then hear two students’ ideas.
- Point out that juxtaposition means putting things side by side BOTH for comparison (how they are alike and different) AND for contrast (how they are different). Pause for a moment to make sure students understand this academic vocabulary: Comparing usually focuses on similarities, and contrasting involves finding differences.
- To check for understanding, do a quick call and response. Tell students that you will make a statement and then count to three on your fingers. At three, they need to say all together “compare” or “contrast.” Say: “Both dogs are brown, but my dog is bigger.” “He had chocolate ice cream, but I had vanilla.” “We both ate spaghetti.”
- Provide positive feedback to students for engaging with the new and complicated idea of juxtaposition. Tell them that they are acquiring tools for thinking deeply about complex texts. As they move on to high school and college, they will need tools that match the texts they will read.
- Tell students that in a moment, during their Ethiopia Discussion Appointment, they will continue talking about how the characters compare. Briefly review the expectations for movement, and then ask students to move to their Ethiopia Discussion Appointment.
- When students are settled, refocus the class. Ask students to think, then turn and talk: “Now that we have noticed that the two characters are juxtaposed, let’s think about how this helps us compare and contrast them. Find at least two similarities and two differences between Salva and Nya.”
- Call on several pairs to explain their ideas. Listen for comparisons: The two characters are within the book (the author could have told one story, then the other); are within the same historical context; are both children; and both need water. Listen for contrasts: boy versus girl, different years, etc.
- Point out that the author clearly chose to write her novel in this way: She is using juxtaposition to get us, as readers, to think more deeply about the characters and themes. Tell students that now they will practice analyzing one particular instance of how Park uses juxtaposition to help readers compare and contrast the two characters’ points of view.
- Post the Juxtaposition in Chapters 8 and 9 questions for a Think-Pair-Share:
* “In Chapters 8 and 9, what was each character’s experience with water?”
* “How were their experiences the same and different?”
* “Why do you think the author put these two accounts so close to each other?”
* “What does she want you to notice or wonder about survival in Sudan?”
Listen for students to notice:
* In Chapters 8 and 9, Salva is crossing the desert. People live or die depending on whether or not they have water. Nya is worried about getting clean water, since the nurse told them to boil it but there is never enough to boil.
* Same: Life depends on clean water. Different: Nya is at home, where dirty water causes sickness but not death, and there is hope (people come to talk about a well); Salva is traveling, and people die from thirst.
* Putting these so close together helps Park show us how important access to clean water is in Sudan, in war
and in peace, at home and traveling, in the 1980s and today. People without access to clean water have
- Tell students that this is only an introduction to this idea. They will circle back to it and should keep it in mind as they read.