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The Drummer Boy of Shiloh by Ray Bradbury

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1 The Drummer Boy of Shiloh by Ray Bradbury

2 Where is the drummer boy when the story begins? What is he waiting for?
The boy is lying under a peach tree, as he awaits the next day’s battle.

3 2. According to the boy, what is his only defense?
His only defense is his drum, which, he says, is no more than a toy.

4 3. Describe the General. What does he say to help the drummer boy, Joby, understand his own importance? The General is a wise and experienced soldier. He tells Joby that the beat of the boy’s drum will inspire the soldiers to make their best effort; he says that Joby is the heart of the army.

5 4. What does Joby do to his drum at the end of the story?
He turns it so the top of the drum faces the sky.

6 5. How does the drummer boy feel about his situation
5. How does the drummer boy feel about his situation? Why does he consider remaining behind when the fighting begins? The drummer boy is frightened, lonely, and vulnerable. He considers staying behind because he fears for his life.

7 6. How are Joby and the General alike?
Both Joby and the General are fearful, and both have shed tears over the prospect of the next day’s battle.

8 7. What is ironic, or unexpected, in the dialogue between the General and the drummer boy? How is the boy the “heart of the army”? The importance that the General attaches to the boy’s role is unexpected. The General suggests that the boy is the “heart” of the army in that he believes his drumming will inspire the troops.

9 8. Why do you think Joby turns his drum to face the sky?
Joby turns his drum face up because he has accepted his role.

10 9. Why, in your opinion, does the General say what he does to the drummer boy? Do you think it was wise for the General to speak so frankly to the boy? The General is doing for the boy what he wants the boy to do for the soldiers—he is trying to inspire him.

11 10. Joby is fourteen years old
10. Joby is fourteen years old Why do you think he and other soldiers enlisted to fight in the Civil War? Why do people enlist in the armed services today? Joby may have enlisted because he longed to do something heroic—to fight for freedom. Many people today enlist for the same reason.

12 11. What advice does the General give to Joby?
The General advises Joby to cry now and get it out of his system. He tells Joby to beat a sure, steady, long rhythm to keep the soldiers going.

13 12. How does Joby feel at the end of the story?
Joby feels more prepared and focused for the battle to come.

14 13. What is historical context?
The actual political and social events and trends of the time—can explain why characters act and think the way they do. Look for factual details that link the text to a specific place and time period. EXAMPLE It was a long day of traveling. It was time to stop and rest for the night. The horses were tired and needed fresh water. The children were already fast asleep in the warmth and comfort of the family’s covered wagon. Darkness was everywhere except for the multitude of stars and full yellow moon that lit up the night sky.

15 14. Serious solemn

16 15. In a twisted way; crookedly

17 16. A divine blessing or the condition of being blessed

18 17. The state of living or lasting forever

19 18. In a way that follows the rules; legally

20 19. Without speaking; silently

21 The End

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