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English 5

“Survivor Type” Writing Prompts

After re-reading the relevant selections from Stephen King’s “Survivor Type,” choose ONE of
the questions for each segment and respond to it thoughtfully in complete sentences, using
specific details and quotations from the story to support your main ideas. Your responses
should be written in your journal.

Entries January 26-January 28: Choose ONE of the questions below.

1. In his January 26th diary entry Richard Pine writes, “The thing to learn is how to survive,
you know what I mean”? Discuss four specific ways in which R.P. survives his upbringing
and reaches his goal of becoming a surgeon.

2. Form an opinion about Richard Pine’s ability to survive his ordeal. Prove your opinion
citing at least four details from the reading (using quotes to support your response).
Look at both physical (what he’s got on the island) and mental (personal characteristics)
attributes.

Entries (January 29-January 31) and (February 1 – February 4): Choose ONE of the
questions below.

1. Discuss three of Pine’s illegal or immoral actions. Support each action with a quote in
which he justifies (makes it acceptable to himself) committing these acts. What do these
acts reveal about him?

2. From what you have read so far, do you agree with Richard Pine when he says, “I think I
can bring it off”? Can he? What leads you to believe as you do? Use specific references
and quotes from the readings so far to support your opinion.

Entries February 4 (continued) – February 5: Choose ONE of the questions below.

1. In the February 4th section Richard Pine provides a detailed account of the shipwreck.
Choose a description (copy it down) that is particularly vivid to you and explain what
affect this has on the reader. Why does Stephen King include these details? Does it give
the reader any more insight into Richard Pine? If so what is revealed? If not what
purpose does it serve in the story?

2. In the February 5th entry Richard Pine asks, “Above all haven’t I told you, over and over,
that survival is a business of the mind? The superior mind?” What are some ways
(discuss at least three) in which we see him using his “superior mind” to overcome great
difficulties? Do you find his actions admirable? Why or why not?

Entries - February 7 and February 8: Choose ONE of the questions below.

1. What evidence of change do you see in Richard Pine on February 7th and 8th? Provide two
quotes that represent a change of character and explain this difference.

2. One of the reasons Richard Pine gives for not catching the gull is: “I have to take care of
my hands.” Discuss other incidents (at least two) in the story where Pine went out of his
way to protect his hands. Use quotes for support. What do you think his hands
symbolize? Explain your interpretation.
Entries – (February 9 through Feb 15) and (Feb 17(?) through Fe/40?): Choose
TWO of the questions below.

1. Find a statement (that Richard Pine says) that you feel best characterizes him and
explain why you picked that particular statement.

2. Several references are made to religion in these entries. What beliefs do you think are
important to Richard Pine (religious or otherwise)? Support your opinion with quotes
from this reading.

3. In the beginning of the entry for Feb 17(?), Richard Pine again writes, “How badly does
the patient want to survive? How badly does the patient want to live”? Looking back
through all the diary entries, provide evidence (at least three quotes with entry dates
cited) that shows R.P. is a “survivor type.” Provide a short explanation for each quote
chosen.