Shattering Glass Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords: 
Caring
Character Development
Civil Society
Courage
Fiction Literature
Philanthropic Literature
Book Title: Shattering Glass Author: Gail Giles This guide was written by teens for teens to accompany the reading of this "resilience literature." The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions to guide reading comprehension and promote dialogue about issues of resilience, trust, independence, family, and community. This guide was written as an assignment in Mrs. Gresham's 11th grade literature class, and includes suggestions for community engagement.

Reading Level: Ages 12-17

This literature guide was created as part of an 11th grade project at Castle Park High School in Indiana. The students chose the book to read and wrote the following questions and project ideas to stimulate thought and action about real issues.

Pre-Reading

Questions:

  1. Think about the natural leaders in your school, the people everyone listens to and follows. What characteristics do they poses that make people want to follow them?

  2. Think about the people who get picked on at your school. What characteristics do they pose that make them a target?

Connections:

In the movie She’s All That, Zack Siler is the big man on campus at his Southern Californian high school when he and his best friend, Dean, challenges him to a bet on whether Zack can turn any random girl into the Prom Queen within six weeks. Dean picked Laney Boggs, a dorky, solitary, unpopular art student. This is much like how Rob challenges himself to turn sniveling Simon from total freak to would-be prom king.

Simon Glass is a clumsy nerd that occupies a low rung on the social ladder. People automatically make fun of him because it’s easy. Sherman Klump, from The Nutty Professor, was an oversized man who happened to be extremely clumsy. Sherman was very intelligent but not well liked by most. He was motivated to change but understood he needed to still be himself in the end.

During Reading

Questions:

  1. Why was Simon Glass a geek/nerd/unnoticeable? Why is Simon so easy to tease? Also, why does someone like Rob Haynes pick up one of Simons pencils? Is bullying at your high school like the characters in this novel bully Simon?

  2. Why is it important that Rob Haynes makes Simon Glass popular? Why does Simon Glass even give Rob and his friends the time of day or talk to them, saying he does want things to change? (He doesn’t want to be picked on anymore.)

  3. Why do you think Simon Glass lets Rob and his friends change him to be popular? What’s Simon’s motive? Also, how was Rob popular right when he arrived at B’Vale? How do people define popularity at your school?

  4. In your opinion why is Simon Glass being nice to these guys who have picked on him his whole high school career? For example, why does Simon organize Coops notebook for him? Why does Simon even care?

  5. Why does Young’s (narrator) father want him to go into the medical field so bad? Why doesn’t Young stand up to his father and speak his own thoughts/decisions? Do your parents control your decisions in life?

  6. For what reason does Young let Rob read his stories, but not the other guys like Bob and Coop? Why is Rob so special to know/read them? What does Simon Glass do for Coop that helps him with his school work?

  7. At the end of chapter 9, what plans does Rob have for Lance? Also, how will Rob make Simon popular? Rob said, “Yeah, but to make him popular, there’s something we need.” What exactly does that mean?

  8. Why did Young not like how popular Simon was becoming? How is Young acting towards his friends ever since Simon has become popular? How do you feel about their quest to make Glass popular?

  9. Why do you think Rob has kept it a secret from the group that he has a different name? Is he hiding something huge about himself from all his friends?

  10. What made Coop stop eating so much, when he normally eats a large quantity of food? Is there more than one reason why he is cutting back on his eating?

  11. In your group of friends, who resembles which characters from the book? Which character would you be?

  12. What did the crowd do when Simon revealed himself as the mascot at Homecoming? What did he do to Blair up on stage? Why was Simon dancing with Blair, who was crowned the queen, when he was not crowned king?

  13. Why was Lance becoming meaner towards everyone? Did Lance have any friends anymore? Why is Lance the one getting bullied instead of bullying other students? Do you think it is ok for people to bully him since he’s just “getting what he deserves” or is bullying wrong in any context?

  14. Did you think that Ronna would ever go out with Simon to the dance? And if she did, do you think she would get back together with Young?

  15. What were your suspicions about Rob’s dad? What was the real reason why Rob lied about his part?

  16. Who got “class favorite” and were you surprised by the outcome?

  17. How did Rob and the rest of the guys react to the outcome of the awards?

  18. Who were the only two people that actually earned the award that they won by votes?

  19. Who died at the end of the novel and who was involved? How did they react after they realized what they had done?

  20. For what purpose do Rob, Young, Bob, and Coop kill Simon?

Connections:

  1. In the movie She’s All That, the popular boys’ job is to turn the nerdy girl into popular prom queen material. This is much like Rob’s challenge of making Glass popular and the complete opposite of his former ways.

  2. In the movie Mean Girls the head clique of the school takes in the socially awkward girl in order to make her one of them. They see promise in her and as the guys get Glass cleaned up, they see something in him. Rob can see his plan unfolding.

  3. Peter Parker in The Amazing Spiderman comes out of his shell as a background kid and becomes someone people know overnight because people see his physical change. The girl he’s in love with finally notices him. With Simon’s new look and his workout plan, the ladies are already noticing him a little more, but to some he’s still that nerdy kid.

  4. In the movie The Vow, one of the main characters, Paige, drops out of law school and moves to the city to become an artist. Becoming a lawyer wasn’t her dream; it was what her parents wanted her to do. Her situation is much like Young’s because he goes behind his dads wishes to be in AP biology and takes a writing class instead to pursue what he likes to do instead of what his dad wants him to do.

  5. In the movie, Mean Girls, a group of popular girls take in an outcast, Katie, and makes her one of them. Meanwhile, Katie sets up little pranks to get back at them for making fun of her. This is a lot like Simon because he played a prank on Lance to get back at him for making fun of him before he was a part of the group.

  6. In the show, Gossip Girl, one of the girls pretending to be someone else in order to take the ACT for them. This is a lot like Coop because Simon agreed to pretend to be him to take the ACT for him. In the show, it didn’t turn out well so I’m interested in finding out if Simon will be able to get away with it.

After Reading

Questions:

  1. Why was it so important for Rob Haynes to make Simon so popular by making sacrifices along the way? (Example: Forcing Young to break up with his girlfriend so Simon could have her.) Does Rob have to make any sacrifices?

  2. Why did Rob Haynes hold back his life and the truth about his family? Did he have a motive that made him lie?

  3. How did it affect your reading of the story to know from the very beginning that they killed Simon? Did you think that was a good technique to capture your interest or do you think it gave away the story too much from the beginning?

  4. Young did not actively take part in killing Simon, but he didn’t do anything to stop it either. Do you agree with his conviction? Why or why not?

  5. Why, when everybody else did whatever Rob said, was Glass able to stand up to him and not follow along with Rob’s plan?

  6. Follow the link and read about how the author came up with the idea for the story. http://www.gailgiles.com/How_I_wrote_Shattering_Glass.html .

  7. When do the quotes at the beginning of the chapters come from? How does this structure add to the development of the novel?

Connections:

The death of Glass in the final chapter was is similar to the death of the unarmed father beaten to death by 5 policemen. The man was innocent and unharmful in his actions. The man was brutally beaten and disfigured in Oklahoma outside of the Moore Warren Theatre. http://newsok.com/moore-police-respond-to-norman-mans-death-outside-warren-theatre/article/3934940

Glass was a manipulator. He played the game exactly how he wanted and he wasn't afraid to act out. Young was one of the crowd. He followed Robs every word. If Simon (Rob) said, Young did. He had to or he'd be out just like Glass in the end.

Activities

  1. An out-of-school activity you could do is visit an anti-bullying organization to learn more about bullying and what you could do to help.

  2. Research the issue of bullying and make a PowerPoint about your findings so you can understand what bullying does to people and how it affects their lives.  

  3. http://www.stopbullying.gov/blog/2014/03/19/teen-takes-personal-experiences-and-turns-them-visual-bullying-prevention-campaign