Boys of Blood and Bone David Metzenthen Year 9 English
Chapters 1-7
  1. The cover: What meaning does the layout and choice of images convey to you?
  2. The title: what could it mean?
  3. Structure: explain the structure of each chapter? Why do the fonts vary?
  4. Compare the situation and setting of Henry and Andy’s stories?
  5. Complete character webs to show the connections between the characters in the two worlds.
  6. What connections and links does the author create between these two worlds? E.g. the diary…

Chapters 8 – 15
1. On pages 49 – 52 the author describes Andy’s departure from 3 different perspectives. Whose are they? What differences in language can you detect in each section and why are these differences suited to the different situations?
2. The author deliberately varies his style to reflect different settings and times. Find 5 examples of idiom and slang that suit the early 20th century. Find 5 that are from today’s world.
3. Metzenthen won an award for this novel, partly because of his strong use of descriptive language. Find 8 examples of phrases and expressions you found very effective. Identify any similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia or alliteration (or other technique!)he uses in your selection.
4. What similarity is the author building in relation to the central characters’ personal lives?
5. In chapter 15, what challenge does Henry face and why do you think the author has included this event in the plot?

Chapters 16- 21
  1. On pages 124-5 Henry reflects on the way Andy writes in his diary. How does he describe Andy’s style and what are his thoughts about why he writes that way?
  2. What do the rhetorical questions show about Henry’s response to the diary?
  3. What moral dilemma is Andy struggling with? Why do you think the author added this to the plot?
  4. Find and print 4-5 images of the western front in World War 1 and glue them in your book. Copy short descriptions from the narrative that reflect these images effectively.

…in a dugout in the rear wall, Darcy and Bob slept, the entrance to the hole covered in canvas… p160

5. What does the novel add to your understanding about these historic events?
6. There is a lot of black humour in the conversation of the boys at the front. Find 3 examples. Why would it have been used by these characters?

Chapter 23 – 27
1. From this point Andy’s war experience becomes much more appalling. Find descriptions that apply to touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight, which emphasise the horror of his experiences.
2. In chapter 24 Henry hears unexpected bad news. Why do you think the author includes this event in the narrative?
3. What impact has reading this diary had on Henry? Compare this with the impact it has had on you?

Chapters 28 – 37

  1. What is the theme of a novel – (i.e. give a definition)?
  2. What ideas does this novel seem to be exploring?
  3. One recurring theme seems to be connections between the past and the present. Read pages 221-2. What metaphor does Henry use to describe this connectedness? (Copy the quote).
  4. On pages 224-5 Andy also uses visual imagery to try and explain an idea: what does LIGHT represent for him?
  5. The last entry in the diary is written differently – how? (See p 248, 256, 271, 275) Why?
  6. Andy’s last minutes are written from page 276-8, and then 284-6. The author reveals the character’s inner thoughts and feelings in detail. Do you think this is effective writing? In what ways does it reflect the themes of the novel you identified in question 2?
  7. In the last chapter Henry and Janine find Andy’s grave in France. On page 288-9 Janine speaks to Andy. How is this mirrored on pages 290-1?
  8. In the epilogue the author sums up Henry’s response to his journey into the connectedness of events over time. What thoughts does this novel
leave you with?