Questions to Ponder

Estimated time: 60 minutes

Think about and discuss these questions from your reading:

  1. Describe qualities people need in order to work cooperatively on a team. Does one have to maintain a group mentality, or can one maintain an individual mentality while being a part of a team?
  2. How can a person’s social and economic status affect the way he/she views and lives his/her life?
  3. What is the deeper meaning of “the boat” to Joe Rantz, and why is this significant to learn about in the Prologue?
  4. How is the depiction of the University of Washington head coach, Al Ulbrickson, similar to that of a mythical figure? Why do you think Brown presents him this way?
  5. How did Joe use his ingenuity to survive? Do you think children today would be able to survive at such a young age? 
  6. Discuss how you would feel if you had to fend for yourself as a young teenager during an economic crisis. How does the author create empathy for Joe in this situation?


After you have pondered and discussed these questions with your teacher, choose one to complete a freewrite. If you are unfamiliar with freewriting, here are a few tips:

  • Keep your pencil moving. Don’t stop. Just brain dump onto your paper.
  • Have a set amount of time. Set a timer and write for the full amount of time.
  • Ignore all grammar and spelling. Don’t let editing slow down the process. The goal is to get thoughts on paper. Spelling and grammar are not important in this instance.
  • Pen and paper aren’t the only ways to freewrite. Feel free to type on the computer. Not only does this accomplish the task, but it builds typing skills.

Share your freewrite in the comments below.

Complete and Continue