Chapter 19: Geography Matters

Rivers, Hills, and Valleys


Madeline O'Connor

Block 3 Ms. Stephanie Harris


Overview/Concepts of the Chapter

" Literary geography is typically about humans inhabiting spaces, and at the same time the spaces the inhabit humans." (Foster 165) Geography can be used in many ways in a story. During this chapter students/readers will start to notice the steps the writer can make to produce the right geography for a book. Geography in literature can be Theme, Plot, and even the main character. Along with meaning, geography of a story can be identified by questions and vocabulary. The author also has to consider entertainment of the reader and how the setting impacts him/her. Through out this presentation students will be given examples for The Hunger Games and The Martian Chronicles.


The Impact

The readers have to ask questions- consider its implications. Every poem or book is the reader and writers own vacation. The writer had to decide where he wants to take his characters and how that certain location will have an impact on them. As readers, sometimes we can think that these characters can be anywhere. But to the writer, the characters couldn't say the things they say if they were uprooted and planed out to relate to the different settings. Sometimes deciding what the geography of a certain text means can be easy due to context clues or other reasons stated. Other times the reader has to dig deeper to find the writers true meaning.

Questions to ask Yourself as the reader:

1. What does it mean to the novel that its landscape is high or low, steep or shallow, flat or sunken?

2. Why did this character die on a mountain, and that one in the savanna?

3. Why is this poem on the prairie?

4. Why does this author like this setting so much?

5. What, in other words, does geography mean to a work of literature?

6. Would everything be too much?

For Your Enjoyment!

Most of the time authors pick a setting because they want to keep the reader entertained. They want you to be able to remember the characters and how they took the setting in. If you read something set in a forest or an amusement park, which story are you more likely to remember?

Vocabulary: Knowing what the author is talking about

Geography can be defined into many different subjects:

Rivers, hills, valleys, buttes

steppes, glaciers, swamps, mountains

prairies, chasms, seas, islands, people.

It can also include the weather: the vastness of it, the emptiness.

The Hunger Games By: Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games Movie Clip | Forest Fire
This shows how the environment that the author chose gave opportunity for the reader to be entertained. The fire that the Gamemaker produces would only have been effective in a forest. This keeps the reader on the edge of their seat as they read and wonder what will happen to Katniss. **The only difference between this clip and the book is there are no animals feeling form the fire like described in the book**

Conclusion/ What the Students have Learned

  1. The geography that surrounds the character has an influence on how the character acts.
  2. Asking yourself different questions throughout reading like "Why did the author choose this place for the story?" might help you better understand the authors intentions.
  3. One geographical setting in a story might mean many things like the plot, theme, or even a character.
  4. Entertainment the reader gets from the setting is just as big as the theme or meaning of the setting.
  5. Keep in mind the terms the author uses to describe the geography like rivers, hills, and valleys.


Learning Strategy: Jigsaw

Students will read a selected page from Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles that features different aspects of a setting. You will get into groups of 4 people and talk about what the setting is and how it contributes to the story. Then each person from your group will be assigned and number. Then these groups will get together and discuss the different geography they found.

Questions to ask yourself while you read.

1. What is the geography in the passage?

2. How does geography impact the characters, mood, tone?

3. Did the geography make it more or less entertaining?

Work Cited

Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1958. Print.

Collins, Suzanne, and Phil Falco. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print.

Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Lines. New York: Quill, 2003. Print.