I need help for an oral presentation and discussion of Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler.  

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In order to achieve a good oral presentation you need to be creative and dynamic. To ensure that you engage with your listeners, start by giving your presentation a title. You do not say what you will be concentrating on such as the characters or the themes so perhaps consider concentrating on the themes of forbidden love, betrayal, duty, family, friendships, relationships, misunderstanding or prejudice. 

In discussing friendships and relationships, especially one as complex as Dorrie and Isabelle's, a good title to consider could be something like "Dorrie and Isabelle: Friends or Family," which should intrigue listeners. You can then concentrate on the special relationship between Dorrie and Isabelle, which is apparent right from the beginning.

Isabelle considers Dorrie to be dutiful, "like a daughter would" be. She values her bond with Dorrie, who is clearly the most important person in her world despite the fact that they seem to have more differences than similarities. Isabelle is old, old enough to be Dorrie's grandmother ("and then some"). She is somewhat cantankerous and admits that aged almost 90, she does "forget to use her filters." Dorrie's own mother cannot quite understand the friendship between the two women and Isabelle admits that Dorrie is the only person she wants to share her secrets with. Dorrie remains intrigued by Isabelle, even after ten years, and is motivated to accompany Isabelle for Isabelle's sake but also for her own personal reasons. Despite Dorrie's hectic life, she manages her obligations and accompanies Isabelle. Both women are on a path of discovery so you can discuss this aspect of the story—self-discovery—and the impact of it. You can remind listeners that reflecting on this journey means they must prepare themselves to feel every emotion imaginable. 

As a point of discussion, you could invite listeners to consider the historical aspects of this book and how, even though it is fiction, there will be many people for whom the events in this book could have been reality and equally devastating and life-changing. Isabelle's experiences allow others to share her painful memories and the heart-wrenching future she faced without her baby, born from not only a forbidden love but an unlawful one, as Isabelle's relationship with Robert was illegal.

Another point of discussion could be about love at all costs and the consequences. Although this story is set during World War II, the twenty-first century is still an era where discrimination exists, where families do not see eye to eye, and where poor decisions are made, and in some instances, where keeping up appearances means sacrificing sincere feelings and emotions. Prejudice still exists and governs many bad decisions but there is always an opportunity to change. 

Talk about how Isabelle in her late years is only now finding her true self, which has been kept hidden. It may be almost overwhelming and extremely painful, but it is never too late. Dorrie's troubles are very real and current. Trying to manage her household and be a good mother and role model for her children is difficult, and intertwining the stories makes the novel believable.

Discuss whether the novel could be a real representation of the difficulties of the 1930s and 1940s and how Dorrie's present day difficulties contrast sharply with Isabelle's younger days. End by asking your listeners whether these women truly are family. Just as the novel comes full circle, so will your presentation. 

Hope this helps.

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