I Teach AP Language, AP Literature, and Other English Courses at San Diego High School, CA. I'm completing a PH.D. with GWU in English. my research and writing is on Literary Animal Animal Studies of the late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century. 

Up a Tree

This post is for the San Diego High School Academy of Finance AP Lit summer reading project. Whether you're spending the summer at the beach, working, traveling, or exploring your own neighborhood, hopefully you will have Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake along for the journey. 

Remember, your summer reading will be both for the enjoyment of great literature and to earn some extra credit so that you can start your year off ahead of the game. Participation in the online discussions here is what you have to do to earn the extra credit. Let's start with some helpful links.

  • So many of you profess to love reading on digital devices, so be sure to check out the digital version if that will help you get reading:
  • Furthermore, don't be afraid to listen to the book as well. Long before we were writing and reading great stories, we were speaking and listening to them. Here are some links to the audiobook versions:

Now, to start us off, I simply want to assure you that if you've read the first few page and found yourself asking, "what the crap is going on," you're not alone. This first scenes of the novel take place after the climax near the end of the book, a lot of the action will thus take place in the form of flashbacks.

We'll start this out with just a brief section. Read up through the end of the section titled "Mango" and don't be afraid to consider some fundamental questions: Who the heck is Snowman? And, why is he up in a tree?

Now, it's important at the outset here to realize that pseudonyms are used a lot in this novel. A pseudonym is just a fictitious name in place of a more customary word. For example, Snowman's real name probably isn't Snowman and we don't usually say a beard is made of feathers. 

You have your choice of discussion questions. Select one and respond by leaving a comment. Remember that your writing must be appropriate, professional, and accurate to receive the extra credit points for the start of the year.

  1. Can you identify two different pseudonyms that were used in the "Mango" section?
  2. Can you provide two pieces of textual evidence as to why Snowman thinks his psuedonym suits him well?
  3. Can you infer how these pseudonyms might foreshadow future events in the novel? much over these first few pages?




Bonfires and Antiheroes