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Chapter 3: "Charity"

Literary terms:

  • hyperbole: exaggerated description
  • irony: contradictory situation

Students read the first page silently.

  • Question: Where is there an example of a hyperbole?
  • Answer: In the middle of the page: "She had... enough wrinkles on her neck to make a parachute."(37)
  • Discuss: Do people want charity?
  • Discuss: Do students of predominantly European American schools get a better education?

Adaptation of Mark Forget’s (www.maxteaching.com)

Listener/Teller method of improving comprehension:

  • Partner the students according to previously prepared list. (See "In advance" above.)
  • Partners read one or two pages silently.
  • Students take turns being the Listener and the Teller.
  • The Teller relates any incidents of characterization he or she remembers from the reading. Both students write them on their charts
  • The Listener adds more examples if needed. Again the students both fill in their charts.
  • The partners read the next one or two pages silently. This time the Listener becomes the first Teller and the students continue alternating this way to the end of the chapter.

  • Question: What is Manny's attitude toward his mother's dreams for him?
  • Answer: Embarrassed by them. Does not believe in them. (43)

Discuss: "Dad thought I should cut school altogether and get a dishwashing job. ...." (38)

  • Question: What does the teacher think of Manny's chances for a good future?
  • Answer: Says he has good enough grades. (40)
  • Question: How does Manny relate to his father?
  • Answer: Afraid of him. (47)

Discuss: What do you think of the father taking the money from Manny?


  • "You're a pretty smart boy. You have the grades." (40) : Dialogue: Intelligent
  • "Too embarrassed to tell him that attending another school was just a dream of my mom's--another one that probably wasn't going to hatch..." (43): Interior Monologue: low expectations
  • "...scared; scared of the new kids I'd be meeting." ( 45) Interior Monologue: sensitive, vulnerable
  • "I wanted to run, but I couldn't signal my legs to move." (47): Interior Monologue: sensitive, afraid of father

Homework: Pass out Interview of Victor Martinez
Assignment: Make up five or more questions about Mr. Martinez. Write the answers to your questions.

The next day have students ask and answer the questions orally.

Chapter 4: “The Bullet"

Students read silently citing on The Characterization of Manny Hernandez chart examples that make Manny come to life.

  • Question: Why does Manny go with his mother to retrieve his father? Where is Nardo?
  • Answer: Manny is the responsible one. He is younger, so still at home.
    Question: What does the father say about Manny on page 52?
  • Answer: Naive, too trusting, like a parrot in the oven that thinks it is hot in the shade. (See first page for complete explanation)
  • Question: How does Manny show himself to be responsible when his father is hysterically looking for bullets?
  • Answer: 1. "I was behind him all the way, picking things up and putting things back the best I could...."(56)
    2. Reasoning with him: "But Dad, if you shoot Mom..."(56)
  • Question: When the father hurts Manny by saying he only cares about Pedi, does Manny leave? Give up?
    What does his persistence despite this hurt say about him?
  • Answer: No. Extremely responsible. Assumes the role of an adult. Becomes the parent to the parent.
  • Question: What two actions at the end of the chapter demonstrate his caring, responsible nature?
  • Answer: Sits quietly with mother. (69) Comforts Pedi, ironically putting a bullet in her hand. (70)


  • "...ignorant people who don't know where they are in the world." (52): Dialogue: Father thinks this of Manny.
  • "I was behind him all the way, picking up and putting things away the best I could." (56): Action: Taking on the role of the parent, tries to calm his father and heal the situation. Maturing. Responsible. Caring.
  • "But, Dad. If you shoot Mom, they'll throw us in jail. Then what will happen to us." (56): Dialogue: Tries to reason with father. Becomes the parent to the Father.
  • At the end of the chapter, takes charge, comforts Mother and Pedi: Action and Dialogue: Maturing. Responsible. Caring.

Pass out poem "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke

On board or screen:

Guiding Question: What role does alcohol play in this poem?

Pass out highlighters if available.

Literary Terms:

  • stanza: section of a poem
  • rhyme: use of words with similar sounds at the end of the word


  • countenance: facial expression
  • waltzed me off to bed: expression, took quickly to bed
  • literal: actual
  • figurative: not meant to be taken at face value

  1. Teacher reads the poem aloud as students highlight words and phrases that are descriptive, emotionally
  2. . Choose four readers, one for each stanza and reread the poem.
  3. Have students underline the words and phrases in each stanza that evoke the effects of alcoholism on a family.
  4. What does the image of the waltz refer to? What kind of language is it? How is that comparison ironic?
  5. Students write a paragraph answering the guiding question, What role does alcohol play in family relations as revealed in Theodore Roethke's poem "My Papa's Waltz"?

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Urban Dreams
OUSD Curriculum Unit
Parrot in the Oven
by Victor Martinez
Subject: English
Grade Level: 9th

Lesson Plan Author:
L. Delaney
School: Skyline High
Organization: OUSD