Summarising Skellig – The Significance of Symbols!

We have come to the end of our first unit!  I hope you have gained some knowledge about symbolism and themes in stories, and come to a greater understanding and appreciation of the importance of these things in teaching us about our world.

 

After answering the unit question in your notebooks, look back at your ‘tentative thesis’ (this was your answer to the unit question at the beginning of the unit).  Please leave a comment on how your ideas/thinking has changed or developed since the beginning of the unit.


The sentence frame / thinking routine to help here is:
“I used to think… Now I think…”

Thanks for all your hard work!  I hoped you enjoyed the unit!

Skellig essay ‘playlist’

1)   Choose the theme you will be exploring.  Turn this word into a sentence explaining what David Almond is trying to say about that theme and how he is doing so.  This will be your thesis.  For example, you could use this sentence:

_________________________ is an important theme in the novel Skellig.  David Almond explore this theme through …(how)… He shows us that ….(what)…

An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’:

Growing up is an important theme in the novel Two Weeks with the QueenMorris Gleitzman explores this theme through the maturation of the protagonist, ColinHe shows us that difficult events help us mature, and as we do so we become less self-centred and more thoughtful about the needs of others.

2)   Select three supporting points from the novel that help show us this idea.  You could focus on symbols, events, characters and their actions, relationships and so on.

 An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’:

  • Colin’s behaviour at the beginning of the story
  • Colin’s actions to help Ted
  • Colin’s decision to return to Australia to be with Luke

3)   Topic sentences for body paragraphs.  For each of your three points, write a topic sentence connecting the topic of that paragraph with your thesis.

An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’:

  • Colin’s whining, selfish behaviour and treatment of Luke at the beginning of the story are characteristic of an immature person, desperate for attention.
  • Colin’s actions to help Ted show a shift in thinking; instead of acting out to satisfy his own needs, he begins to do things to help others instead.
  • Colin’s decision to return to Australia to be with Luke shows his ultimate change into a more empathetic young man.  He has given up his futile quest for glory and instead accepted the reality of the situation; something we all have to do as we mature.

4)   Order your ideas.  These points need to be placed in a logical order.  Here are three options:

a)    Simple -> Complex: Basic information first, followed by increasingly specific and/or complex ideas

b)   Order of importance:  going from least important to most important, or most important to least important.

c)    Chronological: are events in a time sequence?  What comes first?  What comes next?

 An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’: Since he is growing up, going from immature brat (at the beginning of the novel) to mature and caring young man (by the end), it make sense to put the ideas in chronological order.

  • Colin’s whining, selfish behaviour and treatment of Luke at the beginning of the story are characteristic of an immature person, desperate for attention.
  • Colin’s actions to help Ted show a shift in thinking; instead of acting out to satisfy his own needs, he begins to do things to help others instead.
  • Colin’s decision to return to Australia to be with Luke shows his ultimate change into a more empathetic young man.  He has given up his futile quest for glory and instead accepted the reality of the situation; something we all have to do as we mature.

5)   Find illustrations / evidence.  Now, you need to find illustrative quotes from the novel to help show/support your topic sentence.  Look for interesting descriptions, character actions, dialogue and so on.  You should find at least one for each topic sentence.

6)   Next, explain each quote.  How does that example prove your point?  Might there be any other examples?  What else could you say about this topic?

7)   You have finished your body paragraphs.  Now all you need to do is create an introduction and a conclusion.

Introductions

Conclusions

* Have attention grabbers, ‘hooks’* Include your thesis

* May outline points you will discuss

* May link to your first paragraph

* Refocus on main idea / thesis* Summarise points of essay

* Leave the reader with a challenge or poignant thought; link to the future?

8) Draft the essay in Google docs.  Don’t forget to proofread and edit (read aloud when doing this!)

Task 2 – Themes in Skellig essay

In class today we started our final task for our unit on Skellig.

First we brainstormed various themes that we thought Skellig explored.  Remember, a theme is a big idea or central topic of importance in a work.  It is often timeless and universal (like a concept), such as ‘love’ and ‘death’.

Next, we brainstormed how to go about planning for this essay.  This is what we came up with:

The tricky part is in figuring out what David Almond was saying about that particular concept.  E.g., ‘knowledge and wisdom’ – where does it come from?  How can it be best acquired?  What examples from the book show us this?

With the process laid out, we began our planning for the essay.  Time will be given in class for this assessment, and the due date is Friday 18 October.  Good luck!

(Resource: TSC for this task can be found in the Google doc share folder)

Symbols in Skellig

What do the following things have in common?

* Birds
* Skeletons and bones
* The Archaeopteryx
* Nests and eggs
* Wings
* Poems
* Chinese food (27 and 53 anyone?)
* Aspirin
* Arthritis

No idea?  Well, before we started reading ‘Skellig’ by David Almond, Grade 8 students attempted to make some connections as a way of predicting what this novel would be about.  Now, as we are reading the novel, we are starting to notice some of these symbols popping up quite frequently.  What do they mean?  Why did David Almond decide to put these things into his book?

If a symbol (or idea) recurs throughout a story, it is known as a motif.  These two literary devices can point the way towards suggested themes and messages within a text.  As we approach the end of the novel, keep an eye out for these important symbols and motifs and think to yourself: “What is the significance of this?  Why did David Almond include it in his story?”

If you happen to notice other symbols or motifs as we read, make a comment below!