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<To Ch1-3  Ch 4-6  Ch 7-9  Ch10-12 Ch13-15 Ch 16-18 Ch 19-20


Rass Island

by Katherine Paterson

Waterman Culled  Shards  Brackish

  1. When and where does this story take place?
  2. Who are the main characters in this section?
  3. Why do you think Mrs. Bradshaw did not like Rass Island
  4. Why is her mother leaving?
  5. Why couldn’t Caroline and she stay?

Chapter 1


Skiff   terrapin  benevolently   progging
Precarious     bespectacled   sook


  1. Describe McCall Purnell.
  2. Why were Call and Louise able to be good friends?
  3. What happened when Louise tried to tell Call a joke?
  4. What do you think is a "waterman’s emphatic negative"?
  5. Who was Franklin D. Roosevelt and why was he part of the joke?
  6. Describe the differences between Louise and Caroline?

Chapter 2


Lugubriously         polonaise


  1. What happened to Louise’s father many years ago?
  2. Why has Caroline always been the center of attention and Louise feels left out?
  3. What was it like when they were toddlers?
  4. Describe how father treated each of her twins?
  5. What were men and women’s roles like in those days?
  6. What was Caroline’s gift?
  7. Who was Mr. Rice and how does he fit into the family’s life?

Chapter 3


machinations remonstrance parodies
petulant pretentious


  1. Who was that German dictator that Louise was referring to?
  2. Father pronounced himself "useless" for which mother replied," Thank the
    Lord".  What do you think he meant?
  3. What happened on Dec. 7, 1941?
  4. What was it like on the Sabbath at the Bradshaw home?
  5. During class one day, what did Louise propose to Mr. Price and why did
    everyone laugh?
  6. How did Louise react to the laughter?  How did Caroline help?
  7. Why do you think Mr. Rice gave the showy song to Betty Jean who could not
    sing and Caroline the strange melody?
  8. What did Louise say she needed more than anything else?

Chapter 4

Vocabulary             valise


  1. Why did the women hate the sea?
  2. Why do you think Grandma is so sour?
  3. What is Louise's biggest complaint about the island?
  4. What does Grandma mean when she says, "Whistling women and 
    crowing hens never come to no good end"?

Chapter 5


  1. Who was the old man and why did Call's Grandma know her?
  2. Who did Louise think he was and what did she want to do?
  3. What happened at the old man's house?
  4. Why  was Louise not very friendly to the Captain?
  5. Create a data entry that Louise may have written about Call and her
    encounter with the Captain.

Chapter 6


shard rivulet contemplate saboteurs


  1. When Caroline casually remarked that Louise's fingernails were dirty after
    progging for crab, why did Louise go into a fit of rage?
  2. What was Louise ambivalent about?
  3. What secret plan did Louise develop to escape her ambivalent feelings?
  4. What does Louise say are elements of poetry?

Chapter 7


  1. On the next visit to the Captain, what does Louise try to get him to talk about?
  2. Louise makes jokes about things all the time but Call never gets them. How is
    it that he gets the Captain's jokes?
  3. What did Call offer that Louise and he would do for Captain ?
  4. The Captain offered to pay them what was each characters response (Louise
    and Call)?

Chapter 8

Vocabulary                interloper


  1. Why did Louise  feel like a fool?
  2. What did the Captain say and do that finally made Louise laugh?
  3. Why did Louise suddenly begin to like the Captain?
  4. What happened when Louise tried to return the tom cat to Auntie Braxton?
  5. What do you think the Captain meant when he said "It's all right, Trudy, it's
    me, Hiram.  I'll take care of you"?

Chapter 9

Vocabulary               nocturne           paregoric


  1. How did the Captain prove to Louise that he was the real Hiram Wallace?
  2. What secret did the Captain reveal to Call and Sara Louise?
  3. What was the problem they were faced with and how did they plan solve it?
  4. What was Louise's reaction to the plan? Why?
  5. What was Caroline's plan when the Captain's failed?

Chapter 10

Vocabulary                 litany             consternation


  1. What danger did Louise and her family face?  How did they survive?
  2. What was it that Louise had never and who did she vow never to be like?
  3. What did the Hurricane of '42 accomplish?

Chapter 11

Vocabulary                thwart           capricious


  1. What happened to the Captain's house?
  2. What was it that Louise was not used to and was upset by it?
  3. Ultimately, what did Louise's family do to help the Captain?
  4. What was Grandma's reaction and why?  Louise's and why?

Chapter 12

Vocabulary                 relegated        haven


  1. What were Louise's two  internal struggles?
  2. What announcement did the Captain make?
  3. What was Louise's high school like?
  4. How was Louise judging people's personality?
  5. What caused Louise to get violent toward Caroline?

Chapter 13

Vocabulary                 adamant         propriety


  1. What did Caroline think Auntie Braxton should do?
  2. How did Louise feel about what Caroline thought and why?
  3. How did the Captain react?

Chapter 14


culminating exuberant unperturbed
perfunctorily destitute culling


  1. Why did Louise leave Auntie Braxton's house angry?
  2. What were the circumstances of Auntie Braxton's death?
  3. What is "The Shadow"? 
  4. What does this mean: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"
  5. Why did Louise feel alienated from Call?
  6. What did the Captain decide to do?
  7. What did Grandma mean when she quoted this from the Bible: " Romans nine
    thirteen "As it is written, Jacob Have I loved, but Esau have I hated"

Chapter 15

Vocabulary                       alewives            apparition


  1. How did Louise interpret the Bible passage?
  2. What did Louise's parents decide to do but Louise rejected adamantly?
  3. What did Call do unexpectedly?
  4. What do the following terms mean:
    white sign     pink sign     red sign     buster
  5. What is the double meaning when Louise thinks: "Males....always have a
    chance to live no matter how short their lives, but females, ordinary, ungifted
    ones, just get soft and die'?
  6. What does this mean: "So as the water nibbled away at our land, the water
    nibbled away at our souls"?
  7. Why did Louise stop praying and going to church?
  8. What were "the happiest days" of Louise's life?
  9. Why did Mother decide to teach Louise at home instead of sending her to

Chapter 16

Vocabulary                   staccato              inanities


  1. Create a timeline for four historical events from Chapter 16.
  2. Why did Louise have second thoughts about finally leaving the island?
  3. When Call came back home, how did she take the surprise that he revealed to
    her and the Captain?

Chapter 17


  1. What secret did Grandma reveal to Louise?
  2. What did Louise suggest to do for Christmas?
  3. How did Grandma almost ruin Christmas dinner?
  4. What did the Captain mean when he said:" It's good to be old...Youth is a mortal wound"?
  5. What advice did Captain give Louise?
  6. What does Louise want to do with her life?

Chapter 18

Vocabulary                         rancor


  1. Why did Grandma hit Louise on the side of the head with the Bible?
  2. Why did Louise get so angry at her mother?
  3. What did Mother say that finally helped Louise to decide to leave?  Why?
  4. What would leaving allow Louise to be able to do?

Chapter 19 & 20


  1. When Louise went to the University of Maryland her advisor called her to his
    office, what did he advice Louise to do?
  2. What did Louise do after hearing his advice?
  3. What did Louise say was their most pressing health problem?
  4. Who was Joseph Wojtkiewicz?
  5. What kind of a life will Louise have?
  6. What happened when she delivered the twins?

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