RTL-CAPTWorkbook-On-The-Bridge

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					                            On The Bridge by Todd Strasser

                              "I beat the crap out of this guy at the mall yesterday," Adam
My thoughts and questions   Lockwood said. He was leaning on the stone wall of the
about the story…            bridge, smoking a cigarette and watching the cars speed by
                            on the highway beneath him. His black hair fell down into his
                            eyes.
                              "How come?" Seth Dawson asked, leaning on the stone
                            wall next to him.
                              Adam shrugged. The turned-up collar of his leather jacket
                            rose and fell along his neck. "He just bugged me, that's all.
                            He was bigger, probably a senior. I guess he thought he
                            could take me 'cause I was smaller. But I don't let anyone
                            push me around."
                              "What'd you do to him?" Seth asked. He too was smoking a
                            cigarette. It was his first ever, and he wasn't really inhaling.
                            Just holding the smoke in his mouth for awhile and then
                            blowing it out.
                              "I'm pretty sure I broke his nose," Adam said. "I couldn't
                            hang around to find out because the guy in the pizza place
                            called the cops. I'm already in enough trouble with them."
                              "What for?" Seth asked. He noticed that when Adam took a
                            drag, he seemed to hold the smoke in his mouth and then
                            blow it out his nose. But it was probably just a different way
                            of inhaling. Adam definitely inhaled.
                              "They just don't like me," Adam said. "You know how it is."
                              Seth nodded. Actually, he didn't know how it was. But there
                            was no way he'd admit that. It was just pretty cool to think
                            that the cops didn't like you. Seth was pretty sure the cops
                            didn't even know who he was.
                              The two boys looked back down at the highway. It was a
                            warm, spring afternoon, and instead of taking the bus home
                            after school they'd decided to walk to the diner. There Adam
                            had instructed Seth on how to feed quarters into the
                            cigarette machine and get a pack of Marlboros. Seth had
                            been really nervous about getting caught, but Adam had told
                            him it was no sweat. If the owner came out, you'd just tell
                            him you were picking them up for your mother.
                              Now the pack of Marlboros was sticking out of the breast
                            pocket of Seth's new denim jacket. It wasn't supposed to
                            look new because he'd ripped the sleeves off and had
                            washed it in the washing machine a hundred times to make it
                            look old and worn. But somehow it had come out looking
                            new and worn. Seth had decided to wear it anyway, but he
                            felt like a fraud. Like a kid trying to imitate someone truly
                            cool. On the other hand, Adam's leather jacket looked
                            authentically old and worn. The right sleeve was ripped and
                            the leather was creased and pliant. It looked like he'd been
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    in a hundred fights with it. Seth had never been in a fight in
    his life. Not a serious punching fight, at least.

      The other thing about Adam was, he wore the leather jacket
    to school every day. Adam wasn't one of these kids who kept
    their cool clothes in their lockers and only wore them in
    school because their parents wouldn't let them wear them at
    home. Seth had parents like that. His mother would have
    had a fit if she ever saw him wearing his sleeveless denim
    jacket, so he had to hide it in
    the garage every day before he went into the house. Then in
    the morning when he left for school he'd go through the
    garage and pick it up.
      Seth leaned forward and felt the smooth cold granite of the
    bridge with his fingers. The bridge was old and made of large
    granite blocks. Its heavy stone abutments stood close to the
    cars that sped past on the highway beneath it. Newer
    bridges were made of steel. Their spans were longer and the
    abutments were farther from the road.
      On the highway, a red convertible approached with two girls
    riding in the front seats. Adam waved, and one of the girls
    waved back. A second later the car shot under the bridge
    and disappeared. He turned to Seth and grinned. "Maybe
    they'll get off on the exit ramp and come back," he said.
      "You think?" Seth asked. Actually, the thought made him
    nervous. "They must be old enough at least to drive."
      "So?" Adam asked. "I go out with older girls all the time."
      "Really?" Seth asked.
      "Sure." Adam took another drag off his cigarette and blew
    the smoke out of his nose. Seth wanted to try that, but he
    was afraid he'd start to cough or do something else equally
    uncool.
      "What do you do with them?" Seth asked.
      Adam glanced at him with a sly smile. "What do you think I
    do with them?"
      "I mean, do you go out?"
      "Sure, if they want to take me out, we go out. Otherwise
    sometimes we just hang around and make out."
      Seth was awestruck. At a party once he'd played spin the
    bottle and pass the orange and had kissed a few girls in the
    process. But he'd never seriously made out.
    In the distance a big semi trailer appeared on the highway.
      Adam raised his arm in the air and pumped his fist up and
    down. The driver responded with three loud blasts of his air
    horns. A moment later the semi rumbled under them and
    disappeared.
      "Let me try that," Seth said. Another truck was coming and
    he leaned over the stone ledge and jerked his arm up and

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    down. But the trucker ignored him.
     Adam laughed.
     "How come it didn't work?" Seth asked.

      "You gotta do it a special way," Adam told him.
      "Show me," Seth said.
      "Can't, man," Adam said. "You just have to have the right
    touch. It's something you're born with."
      Seth smirked. It figured. It was just his luck to be born
    without the touch that made truckers blow their horns.
      The traffic was gradually getting thicker as the afternoon
    rush hour approached. Many of the drivers and passengers
    in the cars seemed unaware of the two boys on the
    overpass. But a few others stared up through their
    windshields at them.
      "Bet they're wondering if we're gonna drop something on
    them," Adam said. He lifted his hand in the air as if he was
    holding an imaginary rock. Down on the highway more of the
    people in the cars were looking up at him now. Suddenly
      Adam whipped his arm forward. Even though there was
    nothing in his hand, a woman driving a blue sedan put her
    hands up in fear. Her car swerved momentarily out of its
    lane.
      Seth felt his jaw drop. He couldn't believe Adam had done
    that. If the car had been going faster it might have gone out
    of control and crashed into the stone abutment next to the
    highway
      Meanwhile Adam grinned at him. "Scared the crap out her."
      "Maybe we ought to go," Seth said, suddenly worried that
    they were going to get into trouble. What if a cop had seen
    them? Or what if the woman was really mad?
      "Why?" Adam asked.
      "She could get off and come back here."
      Adam shrugged. "Let her," he said. .'The last person in the
    world I'd be afraid of is some old lady." He took a drag off his
    cigarette and turned away to watch the cars again.
      Seth kept glancing toward the exit ramp to see if the
    woman the blue car had gotten off. He was really tempted to
    leave but he stayed because he liked being with Adam. It
    made him feel good that a cool guy like Adam let him hang
    around.
      A few minutes passed and the blue car did not appear on
    the exit ramp. Seth relaxed a little. He had smoked his
    Malboro almost all the way down to the filter and his mouth
    tasted awful. Smoke kept getting in his eyes and making
    them water. He dropped the cigarette to the sidewalk and
    crushed it under his sneaker, relieved to be finished with it.
      "Here's the way to do it," Adam said. He held the butt of his

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    cigarette between his thumb and middle finger and flicked it
    over the side of the bridge and down into the traffic. With a
    burst of red sparks it hit the windshield of a black car passing
    below. Adam turned and grinned. Seth smiled back
    uncomfortably. He was beginning to wonder just how far
    Adam would go.
      Neither of them saw the black car pull off onto the exit ramp
    and come up behind them on the bridge. Seth didn't notice it
    until he heard a door slam. He turned and saw three big
    guys getting out of the car. They were all wearing tight shirts
    which outlined their muscles. Seth suddenly decided it was
    time to go, but he quickly realized that the three guys had
    spread out, cutting off any way to escape. He and Adam
    were surrounded.
      "Uh, Adam." Seth nudged him with his elbow.
      "Wha--?" Adam turned around and his mouth fell open. In
    the meantime the three big guys came closer. Seth and
    Adam backed against the bridge wall. Seth felt his stomach
    tighten painfully. His heart began to beat like a machine gun.
    Adam looked pale and pretty scared too. Was it Seth's
    imagination, or was his friend trembling?
      "Which one of you geeks flicked that butt on my car?" The
    question came from the husky guy with a black moustache
    and long black hair that curled behind his ears.
      Seth and Adam glanced at each other. Seth was
    determined not to tell. He didn't believe in squealing on his
    friends. But suddenly he noticed that all three guys were
    staring at him. He quickly looked at Adam and saw why.
    Adam was pointing at him.
      Before Seth could say anything, the husky guy grabbed him
    by the collar of his jacket and lifted him off the ground. Seth's
    feet kicked uselessly in the air for a second and then he was
    thrown against the front fender of the black car. He hit with a
    thud and lost his breath. Before he had a chance to recover,
    the guy grabbed him by the hair and forced his face toward
    the windshield.
      "Lick it off," he growled.
      Seth didn't know what he was talking about. He tried to
    raise his head, but the husky guy pushed his face closer to
    the windshield. Lord, he was strong.
      "I said, lick it."
    Lick what? Seth wanted to ask. Then he looked down at the
    glass and saw the spot of gray ash where Adam's cigarette
    had hit. Oh, no. He stiffened. The thought made him sick. He
    tried to twist his head around, but the guy leaned his weight
    against Seth and pushed his face down again.
      "Till it's clean," the guy said, pressing Seth's face down until
    it was only an inch from the smooth tinted glass. Seth stared

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    at the little spot of ash. With the husky guy's weight on him,
    he could hardly breathe. The car's fender was digging into
    his ribs. Where was Adam?
      The husky guy leaned harder against him, squeezing Seth
    painfully against the car. He pushed Seth's face down until it
    actually pressed against the cool glass. Seth could feel a
    spasm in his chest as his lungs cried for air. But he clamped
    his mouth closed. No way was he going to give that guy the
    satisfaction of seeing him lick that spot.
      The husky guy must have known it. Suddenly he pulled
    Seth's head up, then slammed it back down against the
    windshield. Wham!
      Seth reeled backwards, his hands covering his nose and
    mouth. Everything felt numb, and he was certain his nose
    and some teeth were broken. He slipped and landed on the
    ground in a sitting position, bending forward, his throbbing
    nose and mouth covered by his hands.
      He heard someone laugh. Looking up he saw the three
    guys get back into the black car. A second passed and the
    car lurched away, leaving rubber.
      "You're bleeding." Adam was standing over him. Seth took
    his hands away from his mouth and saw that they were
    covered with bright red blood. Blood dripped down from his
    nose and chin onto his denim jacket, leaving slowly
    darkening red spots. He tilted his head back, trying to stop
    the bleeding. At the same time he squeezed the bridge of his
    nose. I t hurt, but somehow he knew it was not broken after
    all. He touched his front teeth with his tongue. They were all
    still there, and none felt loose.
      "You want a hand?" Adam asked.
      Seth nodded and Adam helped him up. He was shaky on
    his feet and worried that his nose was going to start bleeding
    again. He looked down and saw that his denim jacket was
    covered with blood.
      "I tried to help you," Adam said, "but one of them held a
    knife on me."
      Seth glanced at him.
      "It was a small knife," Adam said. "I guess he didn't want
    anyone to see it."
      Seth felt his nose again. It was swollen and throbbed
    painfully. "Why'd you point at me?" he asked.
      "I figured I could jump them if they made a move on you,"
    Adam said. "How could I know they had knives?"
      Seth shook his head. He didn't believe Adam. He started to
    walk toward home.
      "You gonna make it okay?" Adam asked.
      Seth nodded. He just wanted to be alone.
      "I'll get those guys for you, man," Adam said. "I think I once

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                                saw one of them at the diner. I'm gonna go back there and
                                see.
    My thoughts and questions
                                  Seth nodded again. He didn't even turn to watch Adam go.
    about the story…
                                  On the way to his house, Seth stopped near some garbage
                                cans a neighbor had left at the curb for collection. He looked
                                down at his denim jacket. The spots of blood had turned
                                dark. If he took it home and washed it now, the stains would
                                probably make it look pretty cool. Like a jacket that had been
                                worn in tons of fights. Seth smirked. He took it off and threw
                                it in the garbage can.




6
    CAPT Response to Literature
            Workbook




               Name    ___________________________


               Teacher ___________________________


               Grade   _______

7
Response to Literature
This part of the CAPT evaluates your ability to read and think about what you have read.

There is a definite relationship between reading and writing based on three factors: your prior
knowledge and experience, the short story, and the purpose for which the reading and writing is
intended.

The Response to Literature section evaluates your interaction with the text, and this interaction
will be displayed in the essay answers you write. Your writing will demonstrate both your reading
comprehension and your ability to express that understanding.

The Format - this is a 70 minute test
      You are to read a fictional short story of about 4 to 5 pages long
      You will respond to 4 short essay questions on the story that test your:
Initial understanding – Interpretation – Connection - and your ability to take a Critical stance

It is recommended that you divide your test time appropriately
           o take up to 30 minutes to read the story/plan your responses
           o then answer the four essay questions – that’s 10 minutes for each essay

Assessing your Interaction - The test is assessing your ability to…
    read and understand a fictional text
    use the strategies that you’ve been taught to construct an interpretation of the material
    draw an opinion of the quality of the text based on “good literature definitions”

The prompts in the CAPT Response to Literature focus on your individual interpretation based
on: 1) elements within the text itself 2) your prior knowledge and experience 3) connections to
personal experiences and other readings
There is room for multiple interpretations of the same reading as long as they are supported by
reasonable references from the text.

All of the above should be evident in the essay you write. Remember… you are constructing
new knowledge based on your reading experience.

As long as you have used quotations to support your interpretation, you are bound to meet goal.
In other words… USE QUOTATIONS AS SUPPORT!


Levels of Interaction
The four Response to Literature essay questions ask you to do this…

    1) describe the text
    2) interpret the text
    3) move beyond the text


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                                 CAPT Rubric

Score Point 6 – THE BEST SCORE!!!
The response demonstrates:
 a basic understanding of the whole story; interpretation is perceptive and richly
  supported with examples from the text
 an exceptional ability to reflect, revise, reshape, and/or deepen initial
  understanding
 perceptive associations/connections between the text, other texts, and/or
  outside experiences; supports these connections with examples from the text
 perceptive judgments about the literary quality of the text; supports these
  judgments with examples from the text, other texts, and/or outside experiences



Score Point 5
The response demonstrates:
 a basic understanding of whole text; interpretation is thoughtful and well
  supported with examples from the text
 an acceptable ability to reflect, revise, reshape, and/or deepen initial
  understanding
 associations/connections between the text, other texts, and/or outside
  experience; generally supports these connections with examples from the text
 thoughtful judgments about the literary quality of the text, generally supports
  these judgments with examples from the text, other texts, and/or outside
  experiences



Score Point 4
The response demonstrates:
 a basic understanding of the whole text; a plausible interpretation is supported
  with some examples from the text
 some ability to reflect, revise, reshape, and/or deepen initial understanding
 some associations/connections between the text, other texts, and/or outside
  experience, may not be supported with examples from the text
 some judgments about the literary quality of the text; lacks depth and/or is not
  generally supported with examples from the text, other texts, and/or outside
  experiences

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FIRST…
Read the entire story from start to finish without making a mark




THEN…
Read the story a second time with a highlighter or pen in your hand.

      Highlight things that the character says or does that stand out to you as you are reading.

      Draw boxes around the following when you notice them in the text: irony, allusions,
       symbols, detailed description, alliteration, metaphors, similes, personification, paradoxes,
       oxymoron, vivid images, unusual words that have strong connotations.

      Identify things that confuse you or that you are unclear about by drawing an arrow to the
       side and putting a question mark.

      Underline any sentences or phrases that you may want to use as quotations in your
       essays about the story.




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CAPT Question #1 – Forming an Understanding
What are your thoughts and questions about the story? You might reflect upon the
characters, their problems, the title, or other ideas in the story.


Tip: This question requires you to give your “gut” feeling of the story based on your
understanding of its content and purpose. This question is not asking your opinion about the
story. You should not comment on whether or not you liked or disliked the story.

STEP 1 -     Ask Higher Order Thinking Questions (HOT Q’s) and try to answer your questions.
                    Think up questions about:
                     What happens in the story…
                     Who the story is about… (not literally… but what type of person it is about?)
                     What the real problem or conflict in this story is (how the title relates to this conflict…)
                     What questions the story leaves unanswered…

      List three HOT Q’s you have about this story.

      1. ____________________________________________________________________


      2. ____________________________________________________________________


      3. ____________________________________________________________________

STEP 2 -     For each of the HOT Q’s in Step 1, hypothesize an answer.

      1. ____________________________________________________________________


      2. ____________________________________________________________________


      3. ____________________________________________________________________

STEP 3 -    For each of your hypotheses in Step 2, locate and copy down below a quotation
            from the text that supports each.
      1. ____________________________________________________________________


      2. ____________________________________________________________________



      3. ____________________________________________________________________

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STEP 4 – Now ICE it down! For each of the above quotations Introduce it, Cite it and Explain it.

     Quotation 1
     Intro:
     _________________________________________________________________________
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     Quotation/Citation:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _______________________________________________________________(Hughes   ).
     Explanation:
     _________________________________________________________________________
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     _________________________________________________________________________

     Quotation 2
     Intro:
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     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     Quotation/Citation:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _______________________________________________________________(Hughes   ).
     Explanation:
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     Quotation 3
     Intro:
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     Quotation/Citation:
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     _________________________________________________________________________
     _______________________________________________________________(Hughes   ).
     Explanation:
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     STEP 5 - Discuss both the title of the story and the main conflict in the story.

     1. I think the author chose this title for the story because . . . .
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     2. The main conflict in this story seems to be… because…
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     3. The title relates to the conflict in the following way(s)…
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        _______________________________________________________________________
        _______________________________________________________________________




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CAPT Question #1 – Forming an Understanding

What are your thoughts and questions about the story? You might reflect upon the characters, their problems, the
title, or other ideas in the story?

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Model Essay 1

       As I was reading the story, “On the Bridge” by Todd Strasser, I found myself becoming annoyed
with the main character, Seth. It bothered me that he seemed to think this guy, Adam, was worth hanging
around with, because it just felt like Adam was all surface and no substance – and likely to be a trouble-
maker and get Seth into trouble too. I wondered why Seth thought that Adam was so cool, and such a
great guy to hang around with.
       It turns out that Adam had a leather jacket, and knew how to buy illegal Marlboros from the
vending machine, and even knew how to lie to an adult who might see them doing it – and that these
things are part of what makes him attractive to Seth, who feels less experienced. I realized, though, that
Seth thought Adam was cool because he bought into Adam’s surface appearance. The denim jacket that
Seth buys and then tears the sleeves off and washes in an attempt to make it look old in order to dress the
part of a tough guy is a symbol of what Seth thinks makes someone cool or tough or worth emulating.
       Seth admires Adam because, “Adam’s leather jacket looked authentically old and worn. . . . It
looked like he’d been in a hundred fights with it” (123). The appearance of the leather jacket is enough to
lend credibility to Adam’s claim of fighting, when he says, “I beat the crap out of this guy at the mall
yesterday” (123). Fighting is apparently cool, because Seth feels “like a fraud” in his new “worn” denim
sleeveless jacket, “Like a kid trying to imitate someone truly cool,” because “Seth had never been in a
fight in his life.” Seth thinks that coolness is something that can be put on with surface changes – like
donning a jacket, or smoking a cigarette, or hanging out with someone else who is “cool”.
       Then Adam causes trouble by flicking the butt of his cigarette against the wrong car, and blames
Seth for his action when three guys in that same car show up to get revenge. Adam stands by and watches
Seth get hurt because he’s too afraid to do anything. Then Adam makes the situation worse by lying and
claiming that the guy held a knife on him, “It was a small knife . . . . I guess he didn’t want anyone to see”
(127). Adam’s actions reveal that he is a coward and not a real friend. This event causes Seth to see
Adam clearly for the first time. We realize this when Strasser writes, “[Seth] didn’t even turn to watch
Adam go” (128). Finally, Seth shows that he understands that being “cool” has to come from within when
he throws his bloodstained denim jacket in the trash, even though, “the stains would make it look pretty
cool. Like a jacket had been worn in tons of fights” (128).




15
16
CAPT Question #2: Developing an Interpretation
How does the main character change from the beginning of the story to the end?
What do you think causes this change?


Tip: This question asks you to go beyond the level of what is happening to the level of so what
does the entire story demonstrate? Characters change. If they didn't, there wouldn't be much of
a story. Your job is to figure out and explain how and why the main character changes.

STEP 1 - Identify the main character(s) and give a brief description of each.
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________

STEP 2 - Explain how one of the main characters changes. From what to what? How do you
know? Explain.
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STEP 3 - What causes this change? Explain in detail.
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STEP 4 - identify three short quotations from the text that illustrates this change - One from the
beginning… one from the middle and one from the end of the story.
Beginning:____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________

Middle:______________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________




17
End:________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
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18
STEP 6 – Now ICE it down! For each of the above quotations Introduce it, Cite it and Explain it.

     Quotation 1
     Intro:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     Quotation/Citation:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _______________________________________________________________(Strasser ).
     Explanation:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________

     Quotation 2
     Intro:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     Quotation/Citation:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _______________________________________________________________(Strasser ).
     Explanation:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________

     Quotation 3
     Intro:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     Quotation/Citation:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     ________________________________________________________________Strasser ).
     Explanation:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________


19
CAPT Question #2 – Developing an Interpretation

How does the main character change from the beginning of the story to the end? What do you think
causes this change?
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20
Model Essay 2

       The main character, Seth, changes from the beginning of the story to the end of the story when he
realizes that being “cool” or “fitting in” can’t be accomplished by making surface changes such as
wearing a certain kind of clothing, smoking cigarettes, lying, being in fights, gaining sexual experience
with girls, or hanging around with people who seem to have mastered all those skills.
       In the beginning of the story, Seth is someone who feels insecure about who he is. The story
opens with Seth and another boy, Adam, hanging out on a bridge over a highway. Seth obviously thinks
Adam is cool, and is trying to emulate him by doing what he does. Seth “too was smoking a cigarette. It
was his first ever, and he wasn’t really inhaling” (122). The author shows Seth’s insecurity when he says,
“[Seth] noticed that when Adam took a drag, he seemed to hold the smoke in his mouth and then blow it
out his nose. But it was probably just a different way of inhaling. Adam definitely inhaled”(121) Seth’s
assumption about Adam’s experience with smoking is based on his belief that Adam is a tough guy. He
admires Adam because “Adam wasn’t one of those kids who kept their cool clothes in their lockers and
only wore them in school” (123). Seth also believes Adam when he brags, “’I go out with older girls all
the time’” (124). Adam’s stories keep Seth enthralled because Seth believes that Adam’s cool persona is
genuine.
       Seth’s admiration for Adam changes when Adam’s behavior puts Seth in danger. After Adam
throws his cigarette butt onto a car passing under the bridge, the driver and the passengers come back to
get revenge. They ask who is responsible, and Seth says nothing, because ,”he didn’t believe in squealing
on his friends”(126). Adam obviously has no such concerns as Seth sees that “Adam was pointing at
him.” After the driver smashes Seth’s face into the windshield and Adam does nothing to stop it, Seth
realizes that Adam is not as tough as he looks. He asks Adam, “why did you point at me”(128). Adam
responds, “I figured I could jump them if they made a move at you. . . . How could I know that they had
knives?”(128). Seth knows that Adam was just a coward, and that if he lied about this incident, he had
probably lied about everything else.
       Seth realizes Adam isn’t anyone he really wants to be like, and when Adam walks away, “He
[doesn’t] even turn to watch Adam go”(128). This image causes the reader to realize that Seth has
already dismissed Adam in his mind, so he doesn’t have to watch him leave in the flesh. We know that he
casts off Adam’s superficial “coolness” and tough “values” when Seth throws his new “worn” denim
jacket in the trash. The jacket symbolizes his desire to fit in with Adam and his tough kind – throwing it
away demonstrates his awareness that real toughness is more than a jacket, and that real friendship means
being a genuine person – not a fake and liar.

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CAPT Question #3: Making Connections
What does this story say about people in general? In what ways does it remind you of people
you have known or experiences you have had? You may also write about stories or books you
have read or movies, works of art, or television programs you have seen. Use examples from
the story to explain your thinking.


Tip: this question asks you to give an interpretation/explanation of the text and to connect the
text to your outside knowledge. It is really asking you to identify the THEME of the story. Once
you identify a theme in the story, you can get started on making connections to other things.

Hint: Choose a movie, book, story, or personal experience that shares the same THEME with
this story. Don't say, “Well, this story is about a kid who smokes for the first time.” Or “I had a
leather jacket once.” We're looking for THEMATIC connections here. Once you make your
connection, relate it back to the text.

STEP 1 – Determine what the theme, message or lesson of the story is
1. What is a universal theme, message or lesson of this story? How do I know? What do I think
   the author is saying about these themes and how did I reach this conclusion?
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STEP 2 - Find an outside connection
1. What other story, experience, movie, book, poem, or television show can you think of that
   shares the same theme with "On the Bridge"? Briefly explain your example below.
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2. How does this connection make my reading more meaningful?
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STEP 3 -
How does the example you provided in Step 2 connect with the theme you identified in Step 1?
Give at least two specific examples – 1 paraphrased from your outside reference and one
paraphrased or directly quoted from this CAPT short story.

Example #1
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Example #2
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CAPT Question #3: Making Connections

What does this story say about people in general? In what ways does it remind you of people you have
known or experiences you have had? You may also write about stories or books you have read or
movies, works of art, or television programs you have seen. Use examples from the story to explain your
thinking.
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Model Essay 3

       “On the Bridge” is a story about temptation and peer pressure and finding out who we are. Seth

struggles throughout the story; he struggles between appearing cool and hanging out with the

troublemaker, Adam, or appearing geeky and not fitting in. Essentially, Seth struggles with himself but

by the end of the story, he listens to his gut and identifies what type of person he wants to be. In fact, he

so clearly defines what kind of person he wants to be, he disposes of the evidence of his former self.

       Throwing away his leather jacket is extremely symbolic. Seth is not only ridding himself of the

jacket, but the lifestyle as well. He realizes that he doesn’t want to be known by the cops and that he’d

never cause an accident purposely. In other words, Seth does not want to be like Adam after all.

       When I was a freshman in high school, I met this young man. He had long, sort of frizzy hair and

these huge glasses. I supposed he fit into the “geeky” role. When I was spotted talking to him (we shared

the same classes), I received all sorts of looks and glares. In retrospect, I may have thought I was

receiving looks but I might have just been embarrassed of this student myself. Regardless, I suspected

that other people were watching me and judging me. Consequently, I tended to steer the other way and

allowed my friendship with James to fade. I succumbed to peer pressure and allowed what others thought

of James to impact my behavior. What a coward I was!

       I couldn’t help but compare myself to Seth when he said, “he [Seth] was really tempted to leave,

but he stayed because he liked being with Adam. It made him feel good that a cool guy like Adam let him

hang around” (Strasser 125). I was the exact opposite of Seth; I stopped hanging out with a perfectly nice

young man simply because he wasn’t the “coolest” kid in school. There is a lesson to be learned here and

it is to be yourself. Seth found himself smoking cigarettes just to look cool and at the end of the day, the

kid he was aspiring to be totally betrayed him. If Seth had had the confidence in himself from the

beginning, he wouldn’t have found himself thrown up against a car licking its hood. Seth’s experience

with Adam reiterated a resounding piece of advice for all teenagers – be yourself and don’t give in to peer

pressure.
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CAPT Question #4: Demonstrating Critical Stance
How successful was the author in creating a good piece of literature? Use examples from the
story to explain your thinking.



Tip: This is a trick question. Whether you like or dislike a piece of literature has little to do with
its inherent, intrinsic literary quality. These questions are not asking your opinion about the
story. You should not comment on liking or disliking the story. You should not waste your time
being a cheerleader for the author either (”He was great! This was the best book ever! I laughed! I cried! I’d
recommend this book to whole entire world! Yay author! I love you! I can’t wait to read the next book!”)
Some good literature may not be appealing to you as a reader. This lack of appeal has nothing
to do with whether or not it should be considered good literature. Since the story we are being
asked to respond to is a published piece of work, we can assume someone thought it was good
enough literature to a) publish it, b) pay good money for it, and c) use it for a CAPT Response to
Literature selection.

Hint: If you start off by assuming this story is good literature, you will find it a lot easier to
answer this question.

So what elements contribute to making a story "good literature"? Here is where we get to be
literary detectives. If we start out by assuming the story is good literature, we can look for and
locate three of the following literary elements to talk about: realistic characters, a realistic and
meaningful conflict, authentic dialogue, detailed description, a meaningful theme or message,
literary devices such as allusion, alliteration, dialect, imagery, simile, metaphor, symbolism,
irony, paradox, oxymoron, and onomatopoeia to name a few.



Good literature may be defined as having:

    A universal message (theme)
    Characters that are real and believable
    A plot that is compelling
    A plot that creates suspense (mood)
    Descriptive details and compelling imagery
    A setting that is an important component to the story
    Literary devices used by the author (figurative language, foreshadowing, irony, symbolism)
    A significant point of view
    A title that directs the theme




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STEP 1 - The author effectively created a work of good literature by employing the following:

a)

b)

c)

STEP 2 - What's the big I.D.E.A.?
IDEA is an acronym that stands for the following:
ID= Identify the Literary Device
E = Explain its effect in the text
A= Address the author's application of the device

Example: The author uses symbolism to reinforce the idea that making surface changes won’t impact
the person you are beneath the surface. In this story, “On the Bridge,” the denim jacket that the main
character tries to “age” by washing and cutting off the sleeves symbolizes his attempt to fit in with a
person he thinks is “cool” and “tough”. However, after he realizes that the person he respects is all
surface, and no substance, he understands that a person can’t put on character like a piece of clothing --
character is what a person is, beneath the surface. He then decides to throw the jacket away.

For each of the literary devices you identified in Step 1, explain the big IDEA below.

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CAPT Question #4: Demonstrating Critical Stance

How successful was the author in creating a good piece of literature? Use examples from the story to
explain your thinking.
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Model Essay 4

       Todd Strasser employs several strategies that make this story good literature. First and foremost,

this story transcends time. Most people have dealt with “peer pressure” in their day and Seth Dawson is

the epitome of how not giving in to peer pressure can make you a better person. The moral is to have

confidence in your convictions and morals. Furthermore, Todd Strasser really drew me in immediately.

A good story has an enticing opening as well as a poignant conclusion. I was certainly eager to read on

after reading, “I beat the crap out of the guy at the mall yesterday” (Strasser 122). Likewise, there was a

real sense of closure at the end of the story. Seth matured significantly. The story implies that Seth is

happy with the way his life is and by discarding the jacket, he discards that “wanna be” type personality

trait. Similarly, I was eager to keep reading as the author creates very realistic characters.

       Realistic characters and themes are the very staple of good literature. I can totally picture an

acquaintance of mine acting like Adam right down from the flicking of the cigarette to the pumping of his

fists toward the truck drivers. Adam even proclaims, “I go out with older girls all the time” (Strasser

124). Clearly, he is exaggerating. I know quite a few of those types – people who try to make themselves

feel better by embellishing the truth. I was glad at the end that Seth had the boldness to start walking

home while Adam was giving his lame excuse for not sticking up for him.

       Seth too provided realism. “His mother would have had a fit if she ever saw him wearing his

sleeveless denim jacket…” (Strasser 123). My mom also critiques the way I dress too yet in the case of

Seth, with good reason. Unfortunately for Seth, the jacket sort of resembles the personality that goes with

it – tough guy, rebel rouser, etc. I was thoroughly enveloped in the story from start to finish. I was

rooting for Seth as the story progressed.




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