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English 10: Class Notes  Questions for 
"Lingkuan Gorge"

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This week, the class worked to answer questions on the story, "Lingkuan Gorge." See the original assignment here.

1. The narrator of this story has a change of mood or outlook. Describe this change. What causes him to change?

His mood changes from awful and pessimistic to optimistic and full of energy. Meeting the boy, seeing his responsibilities for his baby sister and observing the family’s mutual encouragement for one another has caused this change. Also, the actions of the parents in their workplace affect him: the mother directing traffic in the snowstorm; the father placing dynamite charges on a steep slope.

At the beginning of the story, the narrator is angry and fed up; however, at the end of the story, the narrator feels determined to continue his journey.

The cause for the narrator’s change of mood is seeing the boy’s attitude towards work and responsibility. The boy, for example, takes care of his baby sister as his parents have asked him to do. It is clear to the reader since he even tells the narrator to be quiet when he stamps his boots for fear of waking the baby.

2. The story conveys ideas to the reader (theme). Discuss these ideas and write a one-sentence summary for each one.

Sometimes a younger person, perhaps more innocent and pure, may influence an older person to change his or her thinking.

It is more effective to teach our children by our actions rather than our words.

There is a great deal of power in the mind to help a person do a physical action and continue to complete a task, whether the person feels exhausted or not.

Often, people will accomplish things purely for personal reasons, even though other people will not notice their actions.

Some people are able to learn by example. (the boy’s example helps the narrator to learn)

Taking responsibility can be something even the youngest children can perform.

Parents’ attitudes influence their children a great deal.

Family bonds can be strong even in the poorest people.

3. Describe briefly the character of the boy, Cheng-yu.

The boy is persistent, obedient, mature, responsible, patient, content, brave, smart, and confident. We can see these qualities by observing his actions: taking good care of his little baby sister (telling the narrator to stop “stamping” his boots); watching his parents from the doorway; responding to the narrator’s statements and so on.

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