Tough Questions The main character puts into words the major problem he or she is facing Helps students identify and recognize the importance of this moment Be alert for a difficult question the character asks of himself or of a trusted other Not a simple question, like What’s for lunch? Rather, it troubles the main character, which then gives you insight into the internal conflict. Once we notice tough questions, you ask, What does the question make me wonder about? We all ask questions like “What’s for dinner? Or “Where are my shoes?” all the time. Those are questions to which we certainly want answers, but they aren’t what we’d call really tough questions. Tough questions are those questions we sometimes ask ourselves, or someone else, that seem at least for a while, not to have an answer. For example, “Am I brave enough to say no?” - when you are asked to do something you know you shouldn’t do. When you share a tough question with a friend – or just think it to yourself – you’re really sharing something that bothers you. In a novel, we call that the internal conflict – when a character asks himself/herself or a friend a tough question. Authors often show us these Tough Questions in fairly straightforward ways: The main character either asks a trusted person or him-or herself a question that obviously doesn’t have an easy answer. Often Tough Questions show up in pairs. For example, “Why won’t they talk to me anymore? Why is everyone treating me this way? Occasionally, the character might not ask a question, but might say something like…”I wonder if…” Once you notice the Tough Question, it’s important to stop and ask yourself, “What does this question make me wonder about?” Location Signpost I Noticed My Notes About It Rainbow Fish Tough Question – “Why doesn’t anybody like me?” How can Rainbow Fish not realize the answer – he isn’t a friendly fish. He should know better. Rainbow Fish W.W. – octopus gives R.F. advice – give a scale to each fish – won’t be prettiest but will be happy Friendship is more important than beauty. R.F. won’t be prettiest but will have friends and not be lonely. Rainbow Fish T.Q. – asks himself “How R.F needs to realize that could I ever be happy it doesn’t matter what is without them?” on the outside, but rather what is on the inside. Sadako T.Q. asks nurse “Do you think Kenji is out there What will happen to Sadako? Will she be on a In your reading tonight, be on the lookout for our sign post – Words the Wiser or Tough Questions If you don’t find one as you’re reading tonight, then listen to things your parent says to you or listen to conversations that you hear on television. Write it down and then answer the question: What’s the life lesson and how might it affect me or the character?
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