Photo of blue, half iced over lake, brown and white foreboding mountains, and gray sky

Source: _MG_6355, Fikret Onal, Flickr

You are now going to quickly collect data about the two texts you read. This data will help you find connections between them.

take notes icon The questions you will ask yourself are basic and could be used with almost any fictional or nonfictional text. Use your notes to write your answers. When you’re finished, check your understanding to see a possible response.

  1. Who is the narrator in each text? Does a reader have a different awareness of the narrator in each text?

  2. Check Your Understanding

    Sample Response:

    In the excerpt from “Love of Life,” the narrator or person telling the story is a voice that knows what goes on inside the head of the main character but is still different from the main character. In other words, the story is told from the third-person point of view. As we read the story, we do not imagine the person telling it. We don’t wonder what he looks like or how old he is. We are aware only of the main character because we are experiencing the story through his senses and thoughts. The author has chosen to limit the narrator’s knowledge and ours to what the main character does, knows, thinks, and feels.

    In “How to Lick a Slug,” the author is Nicholas Kristof. The article is from a newspaper column and describes the author’s and his daughter’s experiences. This text includes the author’s thoughts about their experiences and background material from other texts he has read. In this case, the author is the main character, and we are very aware of him as the person who is both telling and experiencing the events described in the article.

  3. In each text, who wants something? What do they want?

  4. Check Your Understanding

    Sample Response:

    In the excerpt from “Love of Life,” the main character wants to stay alive and find his way to civilization. (Does he make it? You can find out at More immediately, he wants to find something to eat.

    In “How to Lick a Slug,” the author wants to make a public statement about the need for programs that get “young people rained on in the woods.” He wants people, especially young people, to become “awed by nature.”

  5. How is the “wanting” resolved in each case?

  6. Check Your Understanding

    Sample Response:

    In the excerpt from “Love of Life” (since it is only an excerpt), there is no resolution to the main character’s larger issue of wanting to find civilization. The hunger issue is resolved to an extent when his stomach goes “to sleep,” but this resolves only his perception of hunger, not his need for nourishment.

    In “How to Lick a Slug,” Kristof is able to make his statement about the importance of getting young people out into the woods, so that part of his desire is accomplished. Whether his statement will bring about any changes in “preserv[ing] a constituency for nature” or in “maintaining the trails” or in “getting kids awed by nature” is not clear.

  7. What is the obstacle that has to be overcome in each text?

  8. Check Your Understanding

    Sample Response:

    In the excerpt from “Love of Life,” the main character has many obstacles to overcome, including a sprained ankle and limited provisions.

    In “How to Lick a Slug,” the obstacles to getting “kids awed by nature” are a lack of government funding for programs that encourage them to care about nature and a need to change young people’s preferences for playing “where all the electrical outlets are.”

You could continue collecting more data, of course. You could, for instance, think of the tone in each selection. You could comment on the settings of the selections. You could pick out important sentences and phrases, important objects, or even references to colors. The depth of your data collection depends on your purpose and the time you have available.