January 23, 2017

DRAFT — Can you See Me? — A Multigenre Paper on Bone Gap.

Can You See Me?

A Multigenre Paper on Bone Gap by Laura Ruby


Julie Balen

Table of Contents

Dear Reader

Roza’s Abducted

Go Travel!

I’ve been kidnapped for my beauty!

Was that a ghost?

Blank Face


Explanation of Sources

Works Cited


Dear Reader 

January 25, 2017

Dear Reader,

“To know thyself” is an oft-quoted aphorism. But what does it mean to you? We can struggle with our identity, with who we are and what we are meant to do in this world, with this life we have been given. Am I just like my mom? Or my dad? Or Aunt Sally? You might think that you’ll never know. You might be frustrated because you believe that no one will ever see you. In Bone Gap, Laura Ruby explores the idea of truly “seeing” yourself and, in engaging in that process, you might just learn to really see the people around you. I also wanted to connect this idea of discovering ourselves by seeing beyond the surface to the learning I did this semester on the hero’s journey. The part that connects for me is the idea that when we leave the ordinary world we begin a journey that tests and challenges us. We may not know where the quest will take us, but we fight on because there is a wrong that must be righted. We are heroes. But heroic transformation isn’t born of muscle, competence, and desire, but of the ability to look beyond the surface to discover true identity. Ruby explores questions like: How do people actually “see” each other? Do they “see” me truly or are they deceived by only what I show them? Or do they not see me at all? I explore this idea of transformation and seeing our true selves through five genres: an eye-witness account, a travel brochure, an advice column, a poem in two voices and a meme.

The process of creating this multigenre paper is complex. First, I discovered that the better my reader’s notes are the faster I was able to plan my paper. Like all experts, when we take the time to do the front-end work preparation and planning, the work/creation/build/writing/problem gets done faster. I really enjoyed using the various tech tools in my toolbox to create the rependent, the travel brochure, and the meme. Some challenges I encountered include focusing on the thesis of the paper. There are so many good themes in Bone Gap that I kept wondering off topic and I had to really monitor my thinking. Next time, I’d like to include some video based genres like a newscast, or live interview, or a scene re-enactment. 

It is my hope, dear reader, that you learn something about the novel Bone Gap, and something about how important it is to look beyond what is easily discerned to find true identity. We learn that Finn can see better than most of us. We should consider how we too can know ourselves better. 

Julie Balen

Roza Disappears: Eyewitness account

  • 16 March 2015
  • From the section United States


Roza allegedly left Bone Gap’s Fair with an unknown man.   Image Source: Pixabay


Insert text here.


If you have information about this crime contact Illinois crime stoppers.

Go Travel!


I’ve been kidnapped for my beauty!

Jan. 22, 2017 – Letter 1 of 1

by Abigail Van Buren

Dear Abby,


insert text here





Blank Face

Learn about face blindness


Learning to truly ‘see’ ourselves is part of growing up, but growing up doesn’t guarantee that you will see yourself. You need to work at it. You need to listen to what others have to say about you. You need to notice how you are in the world. Bone Gap made me think about not only the gaps that others can disappear into and away from us, but also how we ourselves use those gaps in our lives to hide. Exploring the book through this paper also pushed me to think about crucial questions around empathy, difference, tolerance, and the ways we see the people we love. I hope this paper pushed your thinking too.

Explanation of Genres

The Eye-Witness Report

Roza does actually get abducted in the novel, but she doesn’t cry out for help because “blank face” has threatened to kill Finn if she breathes a word. Finn has witnessed her “leaving” and doesn’t realize until the last minute that she is being taken against her will. So this genre is very apt on a literal level. However, it’s also an appropriate genre because Finn can’t actually give a description of the man who took Roza. He saw him, but not really. Not in the way you and I would have seen him (You will have to read the book to know more). So, on a figurative level, the eye-witness report genre supports the thesis of “seeing” beyond the surface leads us to the truth.

The Travel Brochure

Insert explanation of how I used the travel brochure. Why it is an appropriate genre.

The Advice Column

Insert explanation of how I used the advice column. Why it is an appropriate genre.

The Poem in Two Voices

Insert explanation of how I used the poem in two voices. Why it is an appropriate genre.

The Meme

Insert explanation of how I used the meme. Why it is an appropriate genre.

Works Cited

Ruby, Laura. Bone Gap. New York: Harper Collins, 2015. Print.

Smokrovic, Boris. “Bee”. Unsplash, 17 Jan. 2017. https://unsplash.com/search/bee?photo=gr7ZkoZnHXU.

January 1, 2016

November in Thisby

The Scorpio Races captured my imagination through Stiefvater’s ability to transform the landscape and the natural elements into characters.

I have lived on an island for a long time, and I understand the unique sense of isolation that most islanders feel and that drive some away. Stiefvater draws on the isolation of the place to fuel the tension between characters. The conflict between Gabe and Puck is none other than the island of Thisby. Gabe has to get away. The island of Thisby, his home, is closing in on him. “This island […] That house you and Finn are in. People talking. The fish—goddamn fish, I’ll smell like them for the rest of my life. The horses. Everything. I can’t do it anymore” (38.69). But not every islander feels claustrophobic. Some need to stay because it’s their home, and they couldn’t bear leaving. Maybe it’s a matter of loyalty or maybe some just fit where they are. Puck will stay.

I didn’t actually realize there wasn’t much to the island until a few years ago, when I started reading magazines. It doesn’t feel it to me, but Thisby’s tiny: four thousand people on a rocky crag jutting from the sea, hours from the mainland. It’s all cliffs and horses and sheep and one-track roads winding past treeless fields to Skarmouth, the largest town on the island. The truth is, until you know any different, the island is enough.

Actually, I know different. And it’s still enough.

The island is not just the place where the characters are, but it is a force in their lives.

by matsaiko via flickr

I also lived in the northern part of Canada where the natural elements not only cause inconvenience and make life hard, but they can actually kill you. Stiefvater describes a wind that tears ‘the mist to shreds’, acts “ruthless” (6), and “rips at [Puck’s] hair, pulling it out of [her] hair band and whipping the strands across [her] face” (46). This is the November wind fierce, cold, and deadly. But Thisby is an island and the ocean that surrounds it is also fierce, cold, and deadly. The ocean is not a neutral force. It has a relationship with the characters. Sean’s connection to the ocean is obvious.

The water is so cold that my feet go numb almost at once. I stretch my arms out to either side of me and close my eyes. I listen to the sound of water hitting water. The raucous cries of the terns and the guillemots in the rocks of the shore, the piercing, hoarse questions of the gulls above me. I smell seaweed and fish and the dusky scent of the nesting birds onshore. Salt coats my lips, crusts my eyelashes. I feel the cold press against my body. The sand shifts and sucks out from under my feet in the tide. I’m perfectly still. The sun is red behind my eyelids. The ocean will not shift me and the cold will not take me.

Ever present, natural elements are never to be underestimated or forgotten.

My first and deepest connection to this story was through its atmospheric writing. Stiefvater creates the setting in ways that are completely recognizable to me. I know this place. I have felt its November winds. And when I finished the book, I missed the place as much as I did the other characters.  

September 22, 2015

The Call.

va Flickr

Motivation is a slippery idea. We all aren’t motivated to do things in the same way. Heck, we’re not even motivated in the same way consistently in our own lives! One time I might be motivated to finish a task because there is an external reward, but another time I am motivated by the sense of satisfaction I get from a job well-done. Sometimes it seems that nothing can get me motivated.

How is it then that some people seem to have such high levels of motivation?

Many people think there is a connection between how much we are invested in the task, or how much we care about it, and our levels of motivation. I guess this make sense. The next question is how to find something to care about that much?

Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, believed that each of us is called to our own heroic journey. Not the running into the burning building to save the child kind of hero, but a kind of hero journey of our lives that transforms us and opens us up to our true selves. For Joseph Campbell, it’s not that we need to go out looking for ways to be a hero; we need to learn to answer the call.

Literature is full of examples of the heroic journey. Some like The Hobbit explicitly follow the pattern of the hero monomyth. Other stories only use parts of the cycle. As we work through Pay It Forward, consider how this lens, the hero’s journey, might apply.

What motivates Trevor? Did he answer the call?

February 5, 2014

Rise up, rise up.

Technology integration is on the rise at Wasse-Abin High School this semester. Mr. Baumgarten’s TGJ3M class has a new blog that will feature their work in digital photography. Ms. Black’s ENG2L class has a class blog. You can check it out here. Of course, ENG2D and 2P, have this class blog, but we also have our individual blogs, and we are using Twitter and other web 2.0 tools in our learning. And Wasse-Abin has a new school blog that is almost ready for launch. I am looking for bloggers and editors to help flesh out the site, so if you are interested, please speak to me or use the Contact Us page or Tweet me @msbalen. It’s time we all become more savvy with our use of technology, especially in our learning!

 This is where I am headed…

image by Bill Ferriter @plugusin