Category Archives: Inside Stories

Barney

Pre-Reading Questions:

  1. Give some examples of common topics in science fiction novels and films.
  2. What have you read about experiments involving increased intelligence? Do you believe that we will one day be able to achieve this goal?

Read “Barney” by Will Stanton.

Question for Discussion:

  1. Do you think scientists should be free to perform experiments in secret?

Respond Personally:

  1. With a partner, review the events of the story as you understand them.
  2. Name some famous novels and movies in which science experiments go wrong.

Respond Critically:

  1. How did you respond to the surprise ending? What has happened? What was the foreshadow of the plot twist?
  2. Find three examples of irony in the last two paragraphs of the story?
  3. On what grounds is Tayloe fired? How did the protagonist rationalize his dismissal?
  4. What familiar conventions (patterns or rules) of the science fiction story and the fantasy story are found in “Barney”?

Respond Creatively:

  1. Write two more diary entries for Barney.
  2. Assume that Barney is recruiting female rats. Make a home page for him.

Going Further

  1. In a paragraph, review the events of the story as you understand them.
  2. What are some of the crises in the story? What would you consider to be the climax, or main turning point?
  3. Why is the story written in journal form? Would the story have worked any other way?
  4. Write the investigating police detective’s report on what happened on the island. Support with evidence.
  5. Make a collage of the story to illustrate the various scenes, episodes, and characters.
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