‘In a small boat, with a small hope…’
Analysis of literary language use, specifically the use of a refrain which punctuates the story.
Lesson length: 1 session
Lesson from A Story Like the Wind series
Required reading: Whole book
- Literary features: Patterned Language: refrain
- Close Reading
This short lesson is best taught after reading the entire book so that the use of a refrain can be considered in relation to the structure of the novel.
- Copies of A Story Like the Wind, at least one between two.
Write the following words on the whiteboard:
In a small boat
With a small hope
In a rising wind
On a rising sea.
Share thoughts about how these words make you feel.
- Does the repetition add to this feeling? For instance, would it be as effective if Gill Lewis had written ‘In a small boat with a tiny hope’, or ‘In a small boat with a minute hope’?
Now ask the children to scan the story to see if they can find the words. You may want to direct their attention to these pages p13, p25, p77.
Discuss the context where the words are used (moments of high emotion).
Introduce or revise the term refrain (a short, simple part of a song or poem which is repeated).
- Why do you think Gill Lewis repeats these words? Answers might suggest that they add a poetic quality, it makes the text more memorable, it emphasises the desperation, it heightens the experience, or it punctuates the story.
Look at the way these words are set out on the page:
- How do they stand out from the main narrative?
- What do you think they are laid out like this?
- Why do you think Gill Lewis has chosen these as the final words for her story?
- How did you respond to the way A Story Like the Wind was written?
- Is it similar or different from other stories that you have read?