Lesson 3: Paths in the Jungle

Getting Started

When you read an essay or an article, you instinctively look for the writer's thesis — the argument that he or she puts forth. When it's not clear, you might say, "What's the point?" In order to determine the author's main point and supporting arguments, you have to read carefully. If you are able to write in the text, it helps to make notes in the margin, circle important words, underline main points, and draw stars next to supporting evidence, etc. In other words, as you read, you can keep track of your own understanding and focus your thoughts with these study tools:
  • Annotate -- highlight or write comments or notes with your questions and reactions in the margins of the text.
  • Underline topic sentences -- sentences that directly state the focus of the paragraph. (These are often the first sentence of the paragraph.)
  • Mark words you don't understand and then look them up.
  • Re-read the text, replacing the unknown words with the definitions. Now what does the sentence mean?
In this lesson, you will explore an article on the reasons students enjoy the sub-genre of dystopian fiction. Use your critical thinking strategies to help you decide your own opinion about what the writers have to say.

Stuff You Need

  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • dictionary
  • highlighter
  • journal
  • printer

Ideas to Think About

  • How do fear and desire for acceptance influence human behavior?
  • What are the implications for contemporary society?

Things to Know

  • Annotate means to use a pencil or pen to interact with and ensure a close reading of a text. You can highlight, write comments or notes with your questions and reactions in the margin of a text, circle important words, underline main points, and draw stars next to supporting evidence.
  • The thesis is the main argument an author puts forth.
  • The topic sentence of a paragraph expresses that paragraph's focus or main idea.
  • An omniscient narrator exists in a space and time outside the story and can relay characters' thoughts and histories.
  • A first-person narrator can tell a story only from his or her own point of view.


  • Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. (LA)
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (LA)
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. (LA)
  • Use various types of phrases (noun, verb, adjectival, adverbial, participial, prepositional, absolute) and clauses (independent, dependent; noun, relative, adverbial) to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing or presentations. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

Students review the concept of the thesis as the main argument a writer wants to make, and they will practice by locating the thesis in an article. The lesson allows practice with study skills including annotation in a text in order to monitor their own comprehension. Students use a top-hat graphic organizer to organize their responses and form their own opinions.