The Boy They Didn’t Take Pictures of



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The Boy They Didn’t Take Pictures of by Dave Eggers

The boy, Charles, was part of a family of seven—four children, two parents, a grandmother they called Pippy. He was not the oldest and not the youngest but was eleven when he noticed something: everywhere in the house were pictures of all of the members of the family, together and alone, but nowhere was there a picture of Charles. He said nothing about it, because he made himself believe that it was not true, that somewhere—some upstairs bathroom or basement hallway—he would be proven wrong, he would find a picture of himself.


Did he ever investigate this closely? Never, of course. When he was fourteen, he spent a good deal of time at the house of a friend named Alex. Alex’s mother, named Scarlet and looking that way, liked to take pictures of Alex’s friends; she had a wall where she displayed them all. But as the months went by, and Charles’s time at Alex’s house implied that he should be on the wall too, nothing of the kind happened. Scarlet smiled at him, spoke to him kindly, but never asked him to sit on the fence in the front yard, where all the other boys posed. Again Charles said nothing because he figured it was an oversight only, one that, if pointed out, would make him seem gauche or needy or strange.
Many years later, now in his twenties, Charles dated a woman, Reah, who kept pictures on her shelves. Small gold and seashelled frames held photos of her friends and sisters and even her ex-boyfriends—who were now her good friends and (how nice!) called often. But after nine months together, there were no pictures of Charles on the shelves. Reah had never even taken his photo, or asked a stranger to take their picture together. Again, Charles said nothing.
But with each successive slight, from childhood till the present, with each odd instance of his seemingly lifelong invisibility, he wondered: Was he ugly? He wasn’t, he knew this, but nor was he handsome. Aha! He did have an unshapely nose, and an incongruous chin, and some scars from acne that potholed his cheeks. But was that it? Did that people he knew simply prefer the more photogenic of their friends and family? He knew this was too simple, too crude, too enraging and wretched to be doubted for a moment.
Directions: Answer the following questions using the short story above.

  1. What does Charles notice about his family house?

  1. There are no pictures of him in his home.

  2. The whole house is filled with pictures of him.

  3. There are pictures of him with his family but no pictures of him alone.



  1. What are three of Charles’ relationships does the story talk about?

  1. Friends, girlfriend, boss.

  2. Family, friends, girlfriend.

  3. Family, friends, neighbor.



  1. Who is Charles’ girlfriend?

  1. Scarlet

  2. Alex

  3. Reah



  1. What is the stories’ mood?

  1. Sad

  2. Angry

  3. Happy

  1. What is the author’s tone in the bolded section of the following sentence?

  1. frames held photos of her friends and sisters and even her ex-boyfriends—who were now her good friends and (how nice!) called often.

  1. Joy

  2. Sarcasm

  3. Anger



  1. Using context clues, identify the synonym that BEST links to the bolded word in the following sentence.

  2. But with each successive slight, from childhood till the present, with each odd instance of his seemingly lifelong invisibility, he wondered: Was he ugly?

  1. Consecutive

  2. Unordered

  3. Serial



  1. Using context clues, identify the synonym that BEST links to the bolded word in the following sentence.

  1. He did have an unshapely nose, and an incongruous chin, and some scars from acne…

  1. Normal

  2. Strange

  3. Appropriate



  1. The bolded portion of the following quote is an example of what figurative language?

  1. and some scars from acne that potholed his cheeks.

  1. Imagery

  2. Personification

  3. Both Imagery and Personification



  1. The bolded portion of the following quote is an example of what figurative language?

  1. Aha! He did have an unshapely none, and an incongruous chin…

  1. Personification

  2. Onomatopoeia

  3. Metaphor



  1. What is the author’s message of this short story?

  1. The world can be a mean place for those who are different.

  2. The world is a happy place where everyone is accepted for who they are.

  3. Family is a place where there is unconditional love.



  1. What is the stories’ mood?

  1. Sad

  2. Angry

  3. Happy







  1. 10 Attitudes of Successful Workers by Kate Lorenz



  2. Directions: Answer the following questions using the informational article on the reverse side of the pg.

  1. If you were going to use evidence from this article in an upcoming essay, which of the following would be the correct way to cite your quote.

  1. (Lorenz).

  2. (pg. 53)

  3. (Lorenz 53).



  1. Choose the BEST meaning of the 8th attitude of a successful worker?

  2. Failure will help pave the way to my success.”

  1. We must learn from our mistakes in order to better ourselves.

  2. We must always be perfect in what we do.

  3. Failure makes others look better than me.



  1. Choose the BEST meaning of the 10th attitude of a successful worker?

  2. My opportunity monitor is never turned off.”

  1. I am happy with where I am now and don’t need to improve.

  2. I am always looking for ways to improve myself.

  3. I am waiting for opportunities to fall into my lap.



  1. What is the main point of the article?

  1. Making contacts is the only way to be successful in life.

  2. Shyness, laziness, and self-promotion are attributes that help people to be successful.

  3. Confidence, hard work, and self-direction are attributes that help people to be successful.



  1. What is the author’s purpose in writing this article?

  1. To suggest how bad its readers are at being successful workers.

  2. To persuade readers to improve themselves and become more successful in life.

  3. To give readers an English lesson.

  1. Short Answer: Answer the following question completely in one full paragraph (4-5 sentences) in the space below. Use evidence from the article and personal experience to prove your argument.



  2. Prompt: Which of the 10 attitudes of a successful worker do you use as a student? How have they helped you academically and socially? Pick one attitude and use evidence from the article and personal experience to support your argument.

  3. __________________________________________________________________________________________



  4. __________________________________________________________________________________________



  5. __________________________________________________________________________________________



  6. __________________________________________________________________________________________



  7. __________________________________________________________________________________________



  8. __________________________________________________________________________________________



  9. __________________________________________________________________________________________



  10. __________________________________________________________________________________________


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