Signpost #5 Tough Questions
Tough Questions At some point in a novel that we have examined, the main character puts into words the major problem that he or she if facing. The Tough Questions Signpost helps to identify and recognize the importance of this moment.
Tough Questions When you are reading and the character asks himself a really difficult question, you should STOP and ASK yourself: “What does this question make me wonder about?” The answers will tell you about the conflict and might give you ideas about what will happen later in the story.
Tough Questions 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, and if you can spot in a novel the tough questions that a character asks of himself or to a friend, then you’ll have found the internal conflict.
How to find Tough Questions?
The author often shows us these tough questions in fairly straightforward ways: The main character either asks a trusted person or himself a question that obviously doesn’t have an easy answer.
Practice Let’s take a look at how this works in the book A Long Walk to Water. This is a book about what happens to an eleven-year-old who lives in Sudan during a time in which rebels are raiding villages. In a scene early in the novel, eleven-year-old Salva has become separated from the rest of his family after rebels have attacked his small Sudanese village, and he’s now alone and scared and running.
Practice What are some tough questions from the text?
Where are we going? Where is my family? When will I see them again? These are obviously painful questions. When an author shows me the difficult questions that a character is considering, I want to stop and think about those questions. You should ask yourself, “What do these questions make me wonder about? Discuss with your group. Let’s read on.
Final Thoughts The tough question signpost might not show up as a question. It could show confusion or uncertainty. For example: “I wonder what will happen when we have to move” Look for questions and statements of confusion and doubt.
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