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Horace Mann Middle School > Grade 7 > Ms. Scott > Short Stories

Barrio Boy

by Ernesto Galarza

VOCAB

reassuring – adj. comforting, giving hope or confidence

flanked – adj. having at the side of

gringo – n. or adj. (here as adj.) in Latin America, insulting term for “foreigner”

menace – n. a threat, one who is a nuisance

formidable – adj. awe or fear inspiring, impressive

alien – adj. foreign, not originally from the country

astounded – v. to amaze, astonish or shock greatly



GUIDING QUESTIONS

1. In your opinion, has Ernesto been well prepared for entering the new school?

2. How might Ernesto feel unprepared and out of place at the school?

3. Think of a time when you may have felt similarly. Describe the situation and your feeling.

4. Although we haven’t been told exactly, infer the reason that Ernesto and his mother don’t understand a thing that Miss Hopley is saying to them on page 127.

5. What, then, is Ernesto using to form an opinion of this woman?

6. ** Think of a time when you may have formed an opinion of someone based on things other than what they were saying to you. Explain what you used to make that opinion.

7. Why do you think Ernesto decides to like Miss Hopley?

8. Describe the overall student population of the Lincoln School. (What kinds of kids make up the student body?)

9. Evaluate the character of Ernesto’s first teacher, Miss Ryan. What sort of person do you think she is?

10. Support your answer to #9…. What makes you feel the way you do?

11. What was the real reason the foreign kids attended the Lincoln School?

12. What was the real reason the American born students attended the Lincoln School?

13. ** If the kids made efforts not to use derogatory (insulting) names for each other at school, what caused them to use those words when they were not in school?

14. Identify and explain one to three (1-3) possible benefits of attending a school with such rich diversity in a student body.

15. ** What do you think the author meant in the last sentence when he wrote, “It was easy for me to feel that becoming a proud American, as she (Miss Hopley) said we should, did not mean feeling ashamed of being a Mexican.”

16. ** Evaluate and explain whether you believe this was a good attitude for the principal of the Lincoln School to have.


MS. SCOTT’S FAVORITES
Hyper-Thinking Questions


** On the last page of the story, it reads,

Miss Hopley and her teachers never let us forget why we were at Lincoln: For those who were alien, to become good Americans; for those who were so born, to accept the rest of us. Off the school grounds we traded the same insults we heard from our elders. On the playground we were sure to be marched up to the principal’s office for calling someone a wop, a chink, a dago, or a greaser. The school was not so much a melting pot as a griddle where Miss Hopley and her helpers warmed knowledge into us and roasted racial hatreds out of us.

17. What does this passage demonstrate about the attitudes of the parents and elders of the students at the school? How accepting are they of individuals of different nationalities? (Hint: think characterization of the students’ parents…)

18. * Identify the metaphor that is used in the above passage. What two things are being compared and why do you think the author made this comparison? What point do you think he was making?

10368  
Updated: Jan 25, 2005  



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