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The Piece of String
to make inferences about a character in literature, to evaluate themes, to explore reputations and why they can be important
Other Key Skills: inference, theme, author’s craft, mood, cause and effect
Quizzes and Activity Sheets
You may print and copy the activity or have students complete it on their computers or tablets. Click here for instructions for using writable and interactive PDFs.
Students explore indirect characterization and make inferences about the play’s protagonist.
For printing or projecting. These questions also appear in the
A list of tricky words that appear in the play. Includes definitions and example sentences as well as a practice activity to reinforce understanding. Click here to learn more about Scope Vocabulary.
A test-prep essential! We formed these multiple-choice and short-answer questions based on state and PARCC assessments. Need help with interactive PDFs? Visit our FAQ page.
A printable version of the quiz above.
Students explore character, elements of plot, and more in this self-guided activity. Includes higher-level-thinking questions. Use this activity with our Glossary of Literary Terms—a terrific resource that your students can use all year!
Why didn’t the people of Goderville believe Hauchecorne was innocent? Did he get what he deserved? Students answer these questions in two to three paragraphs. Click here to learn more about our contests.
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Access the answer key.
The French character names in Maupassant’s story sure are tricky! Never fear—our handy pronunciation guide will help. Click here to find more audio articles.
How are reputations built?
Should you care what others think about you?
Are we really considered innocent until proven guilty?
See how this text will challenge your students.
Levels of Meaning
The story explores the darker side of human nature without being explicit. Several themes appear in the play.
The story is chronological; because narration is limited and the story is told largely through dialogue, students need to make inferences throughout to understand the story.
Language Conventionality and Clarity
Vocabulary: higher academic vocabulary (e.g., bartering, speculate, protestation, accomplice)
Familiarity: contains some French words (e.g., gendarme, centime, Monsieur) and unusual words (e.g., clodhopper, mutton, town crier)
It’s helpful to have some knowledge of the class system during the late 19th century, as well as the hardships of peasant life.
Connecting Scope content to your curriculum.
Other texts that explore reputation:
Loser by Jerry Spinelli
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”
Skills and Standards
Common Core ELA Anchor Standards: R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, W1, W4, W9, SL1, L3, L4, L6
NCTE/IRA: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12
The full text of Guy de Maupassant’s classic short story is available for free online. Share it with your above-level students and challenge them to think about how our adaptation is different from the original.