Reading Guide 7 th Grade English

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The Magician’s Nephew Reading Guide

7th Grade English

Mrs. Simonson
This reading guide is to be used before, while and after reading C.S. Lewis’ The Magicians Nephew. The questions provided will help you better understand the readings and come to a deeper appreciation of the work. With each chapter assigned, complete the pre-reading steps before you begin reading the chapter. Review the “during reading” questions so you are able to stop when necessary to answer each question as you read the chapter. Lastly, answer the post-reading questions as a way to gain a deeper grasp of the story and characters.
Open-ended questions

For some of the post-reading work, you may be asked to write your own open-ended question. Writing an open-ended question can be difficult unless it is practiced frequently. Open-ended questions help you develop stronger connections to the text. They are also good tools to help you become a better writer. Below are a few examples of both open-ended and factual questions.

Factual: What classes do you have this semester?

Open-ended: Why is it important to study history?

Factual: What books did C.S. Lewis write?

Open-ended: How does C.S. Lewis’ book The Magician’s Nephew exemplify his Christian reawakening?

Essay Question

After competing The Magician’s Nephew, you will be writing a five paragraph essay on the similarities and differences of two of the book’s characters. As you are reading the book it may be helpful for you to note places in your text where characters exhibit both similar and contrasting traits. Some of the reading questions will also help you gather ideas for your essay.


Throughout The Magician’s Nephew, you will be exploring some of the literary terms listed below. As we discuss them, you should write the definitions in the spaces provided below.







Freytag’s Pyramid:

Rising action:


Falling action:


Before reading

Adventure is a large theme in many of the stories we read. Adventure will also be an important theme in The Magician’s Nephew. Why do many authors write about adventure?

Chapter 1
Pre-reading Questions:
1. Define allusion (see above literary terms)

2. Define the following vocabulary:


3. Look at the title of the chapter. Below list a few words that you think of when you see the word “wrong”. Now list a few that you think of when you see the word “door”.

During reading Questions:
1. What does the narrator say is really important about this story?

2. Look up the following allusions made in Chapter 1. What do they have to do with the story?

Sherlock Holmes
Eton collar
Treasure Island
3. At the beginning of the chapter, how does Lewis portray the time period?
4. What is Polly Plummer like when you first meet her?
5. Why is Digory crying?
6. What’s strange about Digory’s aunt and uncle?
7. What is the smuggler’s cave?
8. “Grown-ups are always thinking of uninteresting explanations.” Who says this? Why might it be important to the story?
9. What was D and P’s original plan in the attic? Where did they end up?

10. “If Polly had been a very little younger she would have wanted to put one in her mouth.” What would Polly have put in her mouth?

11. How did D and P act around Uncle Andrew? What does this say about his character?
12. What happens to Polly at the end of the chapter?
Post-reading Questions:
1. What do you think Digory will do?
2. How are D and P different?

Chapter 2

Pre-reading Questions:
1. Magic is defined as a supposed supernatural power that makes impossible things happen or gives somebody control over the forces of nature. Magic is used in many cultures for healing, keeping away evil, seeking the truth, and for vengeful purposes. Do you believe in magic? Why or why not? Is there anything in this world that you consider magical?

2. Define:

During Reading Questions:

1. What is meant by Digory’s thought “the horrible meanness at getting at a chap in that way”?

2. Who is Mrs. LeFay and what kind of person is she?

3. What promise does Uncle Andrew break?

4. What are your reactions to UA’s comment on the top of p. 21? Is it fair to say that intelligence gives you the right to break rules? Can you think of any modern day examples?

5. What was inside the box that Mrs. LeFay gave to UA?

6. What does the yellow ring do?
7. Why didn’t UA send himself?
8. “No great wisdom can be reached without sacrifice.” Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

9. What does it mean to be “given to showing the white feather”?

10. What do the green rings do?
Post-reading Questions:

1. Would you have gone?

2. What are some of the differences between UA and D?

Chapter 3
Pre-reading Questions:

1. Describe a wooded area. Why would Lewis choose to make the place between the worlds be a wooded place?

2. What are the possible worlds the wood is between?
3. Define:


During Reading Questions:

1. Describe the woods.

2. How does one feel when he or she enters the woods?
3. What happens when D and P jump into the “London” pool the first time?
4. Before Polly would explore other pools, what did she want to do?
5. Why didn’t the yellow ring work in the other pools?
Post-reading Questions:

1. What do you think will happen next?

2. How have Polly’s and Digory’s characters changed from the first chapter? Differences/Similarities?

Chapter 4
Pre-reading Questions:

1. What words do you associate with the word “bell”? What about with the word “hammer”?

2. Define the literary term “simile”.

3. As you are reading, pick out 2 similes that Lewis uses and write them below:

During Reading Questions:

1. Pick the two most accurate descriptive words to describe the new world’s setting.

2. Which of the two children seem to be braver in the new world? Why?

3. Both D and P were interested in the stationary people but for different reasons. What interested Polly about the people? What interested D about the people?

4. How do the faces change as the children go down the room?
5. Lewis makes several references to Digory’s future. What effect does this have on the story?

6. Paraphrase the poem that is next to the bell and hammer.

7. Why do D and P quarrel at the end of the chapter?

8. What was the sound like when D hit the bell?

Post-reading Questions:

1. Did Digory make the right choice to strike the bell? Why or Why not?

2. Write one open-ended question after having read chapter 4. (See first page for examples of open-ended questions.)

Chapter 5
Pre-reading Questions:

Deplorable: Incantation:

Peril: Duly:
Dismal: Bosh:
Contemptuous: Minion:

During Reading Questions:

1. After the Queen asks who struck the bell, Digory immediately replies saying it was him. What does this say about Digory’s character?

2. What happens to the building the children are in?
3. What does Polly worry that the Queen will get from them?
4. Which of the two children appear to take more interest in the Queen? Why?

5. From the kinds of comments the Queen makes, write two descriptive words to define her character.

6. What was the difference between the sun in Charn and the sun in London?
7. What is the Queen’s name?
8. What did the Queen do to her city? Why?
9. What is the “Deplorable Word”?
10. Where does the Queen wish to go? Who does she wish to see?
Post-reading Questions:

1. Compare the Queen and Uncle Andrew.

2. In the chapter, the Queen only addresses Digory. Even if Polly asks a question, the Queen answers to Digory. Why might this be?

Chapter 6
Pre-reading Questions:

1. What do you think are Uncle Andrew’s troubles?

2. Define:


During Reading Questions:

1. How does Queen Jadis end up in the Wood?

2. How does QJ change in the Wood? What do you suppose causes this change?
3. Digory describes QJ as appearing “hardly human”. Do you think this is a fitting description for her? Why?
4. How does UA react to QJ?
5. What does QJ ask UA to do for her?
6. The narrator speaks to us in first person saying, “I think (and Digory thinks too) that her mind was of a sort which cannot remember that quiet place at all…” (85). Do you think the narrator witnessed all the events in the book? Was the narrator present at the time that QJ came to London?

7. Why doesn’t QJ take any notice of the children when she enters London?

8. What was your reaction to Polly’s immediate desertion of Digory?
9. Why was UA acting so silly?
10. What was Aunt Letty mending? What does UA ask his sister for?
Post-reading Questions:

1. How do you think Aunt Letty will react to QJ?

2. Do you think Polly will return to help Digory? Why or why not?

Chapter 7
Pre-reading Questions:

1. Define:

Sal volatile
2. While reading look for 2 similes. List them below.

3. There are several idioms used in the chapter. List two of them below. What do they mean?

During Reading Questions:

1. What was QJ unable to do in London that she could do in Charn?

2. What did QJ do to Aunt Letty?

3. What did someone bring for Mabel Kirke?

4. Who is Mabel Kirke?
5. What excited Digory about the conversation between Aunt Letty and the delivery lady?

6. Describe the scene that Digory saw outside his window.

7. What is the horse’s name?
Post-reading Questions:

1. What will the Empress do next?

2. Why didn’t Digory speak up?

Chapter 8
Pre-reading Questions:

1. How does music affect you?

2. Define:




3. Two idioms are used in chapter 8. What does each of these idioms mean?

You are a brick

A pretty kettle of fish
During Reading Questions:

1. What does QJ grab after being mocked by the crowd?

2. Which spectator from the crowd was “the bravest as well as the kindest person present”?
3. Who does UA blame for his troubles?
4. Who all comes to the Wood between the Worlds?
5. How did the Woods affect UA? The Woods also had a similar affect upon whom?
6. What was the new world like when they first entered it?
7. Describe the character of the Cabby in two words.
8. What did the group hear before they saw anything? How did this noise affect each of the group members?

9. Why wouldn’t Digory leave with UA?

10. How did the new world transform?
11. Who was the singer – the Voice?
Post-reading Questions:

1. Why is the Cabby so mesmerized by the Voice?

2. Why are UA and QJ so repulsed by the Voice?
3. Who might the Lion be?

Chapter 9
Pre-reading Questions:

1. What words do you associate with the word “founding”?

2. Define:




During Reading Questions:

1. How does the scenery change as the music changes? What is added to the new world?

2. What does UA ridicule QJ for?
3. Why do Digory and the Cabby become nervous?
4. What did QJ throw at the Lion? Why do you think the thrown object does not affect the Lion?

5. What is peculiar about the lamppost that was brought into the new world?

6. Uncle Andrew says, “The commercial possibilities of this country are unbounded” (131). What does he mean by this? What does he see as a possible future for this new land?
7. Where does UA believe they may be? Why does this excite Digory?
8. How does the Lion’s song change as the animals begin springing up?
9. How many of each animal did the Lion select? How did the Lion select them?
10. What happens to the selected animals as the Lion stares at them?
Post-reading Question:

1. What might the Lion be calling each of the selected animals to do?

Chapter 10
Pre-reading Questions:

1. What does it mean to believe? What is the importance of believing?

2. Define:

Strike me pink




During Reading Questions:

1. What else appears in Narnia besides animals?

2. What is the Lion’s name?
3. What was Strawberry picked out to be?
4. Who are the “Dumb Beasts?”
5. What does the Lion mean by, “you need not always be grave. For jokes as well as justice come with speech.”?

6. Who was the first joke?

7. Why does the Lion gather a council together?
8. What did the animals believe might be large heads of lettuce or possibly the Second Joke?
9. Although the Cabby tries to help Strawberry remember the good things about his life in London, what does Strawberry remember? Why would Strawberry only remember the negative things about his life in London?

10. As the animals spoke, what did UA hear? Why?

Post-reading Questions:

1. How might the following passage be true in your own life?

“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” (148)

2. Do you think that UA will ever be able to hear the animals talk?

Chapter 11
Pre-reading Questions:

1. According to the title of the chapter, both Digory and UA are in trouble. Why might Digory be in trouble?

2. Define:



“Square thing”

3. As you read chapter 11 make note of any of the references to the biblical allegory that has been developing. List at least 2 events/conversations that seem to fit the allegory.


During Reading Questions:

1. What is the “Third Joke?”

2. Why do you think the animals cannot understand UA?
3. What do the animals do to UA?
4. Who is the “Son of Adam?”
5. What does Digory admit to doing? What does this say about him?
6. Who says, “Evil will come of that evil, but it is a long way off, and I will see to it that the worst falls upon me” (161).
7. By what name does Aslan call the Cabby?
8. Whom does Aslan bring into Narnia with a call of his voice?
9. What are the Cabby and his wife to do in the land of Narnia?
10. What does Aslan ask Polly?
Post-reading Questions:

1. What do you think Aslan has in store for Digory?

2. Why doesn’t Digory just escape back to London?

3. Write one open-ended question about this chapter. Answer your question.

Chapter 12

Pre-reading Questions:

1. Queen Jadis has almost vanished from the story. Where do you suppose she has gone?

2. Define:



This is a rum go


During Reading Questions:

1. Who must “undo the wrong”?
2. Why is the Lion crying?
3. What does Aslan mean by “So this land shall have a long, bright morning before any clouds come over the sun” (169)?
4. What happened to Digory when Aslan kissed him?
5. What is Digory supposed to bring back to Aslan?
6. Who is Fledge?
7. Who is Queen Helen? Why do you suppose her name was chosen?
8. Who joins Digory in his mission?
9. Why didn’t they see animals and other living beings as they flew westward?
10. After realizing they have no food, Polly remarks that Aslan should have known they would need food without them even asking him for some. Fledge, then, replies, “But I have a sort of idea he likes to be asked” (178). How is this similar to our God and Creator?
11. How does Digory suggest they get food? Does Polly agree?
12. What do D and P end up eating?
13. What do they do with the ninth piece of food?
Post-reading Questions:

1. What do you suppose made the noise in the dark?

Chapter 13

Pre-reading Questions:

1. Who do you think the children and Fledge meet?

2. Define:




Took to his heels
3. How important is advice? Should you always heed the advice of others?

During Reading Questions:

1. What happened to the piece of toffee that the children planted?

2. How did the air change as the group approached the Place?
3. What surrounded the garden?
4. What is meant by the last line of the warning posted on the golden gate?
5. What might the fountain in the middle of the garden symbolize?
6. What color were the apples?
7. What kind of a reaction did Digory have after smelling the apple? Was it a good idea for him to do this? Could you have resisted?
8. What was sitting in the apple tree?
9. Who else did Digory see in the garden? What was she eating?
10. In what ways does the Witch try to persuade Digory to eat the apple?

11. In the end, what does the Witch say that makes Digory refuse to leave the new world with the apple?

Post-reading Questions:

1. How do the events in chapter 13 play into the creation allegory established in chapter 9? Are there any particular passages or remarks made that seem similar to the biblical account of creation?

2 Digory ponders the possibility of tasting the apple. He makes a few concessions or allowances upon his behalf. He ponders, “Or even if it were an order, would he be disobeying it by eating the apple? He had already obeyed the part about taking one ‘for others’” (190). Do you ever think the way that Digory did? Do you ever try to make your decision seem right even though it may be wrong? What is the result?

Chapter 14

Pre-reading Questions:

1. Define:




Jack Robinson

2. Note one quote or passage that is moving or has a deep impact. Write it as your response to question 2 in the post-reading question section.
During Reading Questions:

1. After bringing back the silver apple to Aslan, Digory forgets his troubles and feels content. Why do you think he feels this way?

2. What are the King’s and Queen’s names?
3. What is found inside the twisted trees?
4. What kinds of things did the Beasts try feeding UA?
5. What did the Beasts decide to name UA? Why?
6. Why do the children want to send UA out of Narnia? Why does Aslan say they should not be concerned? What will Aslan do for UA?

7. Why have a tree of gold and a tree of silver grown from the ground?

8. What is the Shield that will protect Narnia from the Witch?
9. Aslan says, “That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. The fruit is good, but they loathe it ever afterward” (207). What might this mean symbolically?

10. What would have happened is someone had stolen the apple and planted the tree? How would have Narnia been different?

11. What does Aslan give to Digory before he leaves Narnia?
Post-reading Questions:

1. Would the apple of youth helped restore Digory’s mother? Why does Aslan say that giving the apple of youth would have been more destructive?

2. Write one quote from the chapter that was moving or deeply effective. Describe why it was so moving or effective.

Question Creator: _________________________________________
Question Responder:_______________________________________
Chapter 15
Create your own reading guide below. One of your during reading questions and your post-reading question should be open-ended. On a separate sheet of paper please create a response for each of your questions.
Pre-reading Questions:

During Reading Questions:


Post-reading Questions:

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