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LEARN ABOUT GENRE: FICTION

Reading Science Fiction


Science-fiction stories combine elements of fiction with actual or
imagined science.

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON

The selection you are


about to read is a

SCIENCE FICTION
science-fiction story.

Author’s Purpose
 to tell an imaginative story that uses
elements of science or technology

Characteristics
 settings that are at least partly imaginary,
such as another planet or the future
 conflicts that arise from some aspect of the
setting, especially elements of science or
technology
 human , nonhuman, or technologically
enhanced human characters
 often, expresses a theme about human
aspiration and self-knowledge
 dialogue that includes invented words, such
as references to futuristic technology

Structure
 a series of related events (plot) that involve a
problem related to technology or science © Pearson Education, Inc., or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Take a Minute! NOTEBOOK


TEKS
7.B.  Analyze how characters’
motivations and behaviors LIST IT   Work with a partner to list science-fiction movies or
influence events and resolution of TV shows that you’ve seen. What qualities do these stories
the conflict. share?
8.A.  Demonstrate knowledge of
literary genres such as realistic
fiction, adventure stories,
historical fiction, mysteries,
humor, fantasy, science fiction,
and short stories.

436  UNIT 4 • HUMAN INTELLIGENCE


Essential Question: How do we know what we know?

Genre / Text Elements


Character and Conflict  In literature, there are two main types of conflict, or
problem, that characters may face:
• External Conflict: struggle against an outside force, such as nature, social rules,
or another character
• Internal Conflict: struggle a character has with his or her own opposing
thoughts, needs, or feelings
In science fiction, conflicts often stem from technology. Characters often fail to
anticipate these conflicts—or simply ignore them. They may find themselves in
external conflict with their societies, and in internal conflict over their own responses.
Ultimately, their reactions and the motivations, or reasons, for their behavior directly
influence a story’s events and resolution.

EXAMPLE: Influence of Characters’ Motivations and Behaviors


Conflict: In the future, everyone must have a device implanted at birth that records
every event in his or her life. One woman decides she wants the device removed.

The woman thinks it’s wrong for the government to


Motivation
monitor people’s personal lives.

Behavior She has the device removed.

Effect on Events/ She is imprisoned for defying the law, but her bravery sparks a
Resolution revolution.

NOTEBOOK

PRACTICE   Read the following passage, and then answer the questions.
The light blast was all around Djery, blinding him and filling his ears with an
eerie silence. They’re here and we’re surrounded. Did the forces of Droon
© Pearson Education, Inc., or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

already know who he was? Is that why they had attacked the outpost where
he had been hiding? Did they know he was the prince? Lost in the light blast,
he thought about his sister. He had to warn her. The light blast made
everything hurt, but he forced himself to reach for the communications link…
“Sara, are you there?”

1. What conflicts does the passage describe?

2. What are Djery’s motivations? How do they affect his behavior?

3. What events might happen as a result of Djery’s motivations and behavior? What
resolution is likely?

Learn About Genre  437


PREPARE TO READ

About the Author


Raised in Brooklyn, New
Flowers for Algernon
York, writer and teacher
Daniel Keyes (1927–2014)
was also a photographer, a Concept Vocabulary
merchant seaman, and an
editor. Keyes was You will encounter the following words as you read “Flowers for
fascinated by unusual Algernon.” Before reading, rate how familiar you are with each word.
psychological conditions. A Then, rank the words in order from most familiar (1) to least familiar (6).
meeting with a man with a
mental disability gave Keyes
the idea for “Flowers for INTERACTIVITY
Algernon.” After winning
the Hugo Award for the
WORD YOUR RANKING
story in 1959, Keyes
expanded “Flowers for subconscious
Algernon” into a novel. The
story also inspired the suspicion
award-winning movie
adaptation Charly, released despised
in 1968.
regression

deterioration

introspective

Comprehension Strategy ANNOTATE

Monitor Comprehension
As you read a text, monitor your comprehension, pausing to make
sure you fully understand the ideas and details. If your understanding
breaks down, make adjustments to fix the problem. Try one of these
strategies to get back on track:
© Pearson Education, Inc., or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
• Annotate a confusing passage, marking the specific details that
are unclear to you. Consider whether the details and ideas that
you do understand help clarify the ones you don’t.

• Reread passages you didn’t fully understand the first time.


Remember that you don’t have to understand every word in order
to gain meaning from a text.

• Read background information that may give you insights about


a text and help you figure out specific passages.
TEKS
5.I.  Monitor comprehension and
make adjustments such as
re-reading, using background PRACTICE   As you read the story, monitor your comprehension. If
knowledge, asking questions, and
annotating when understanding your understanding breaks down, make adjustments to get back on
breaks down. track.

438  UNIT 4 • HUMAN INTELLIGENCE