Ideas for Reports and Papers

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1. The right to hunt and trap animals is an issue which has been hotly debated. Research both sides of this issue and then select one side to support in a report or a debate.

2. In Woodsong, Paulsen stresses that people can learn from animals. Using books such as How Smart Are Animals?? by Dorothy H. Patent, explore the field of animal intelligence. How do the research findings compare to Paulsen's observations?

3. Research the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race. Map its routes, discuss its history, and report on recent races.

4. Black Star, Bright Dawn by Scott O'Dell is the story of an Eskimo girl running the Iditarod. Read that book and compare it to Woodsong.

5. Paulsen has written many novels about animals and about learning from nature. After reading one or several of these, use examples from them to identify and discuss common themes.

6. Paulsen uses figurative language in descriptions throughout the book. Identify examples of metaphors and similes and discuss their use in Woodsong.

7. Setting is very important to the plot in Woodsong. Discuss the setting in both sections of the book. Identify contrasts between the beauty of the setting and the violence of the action. How does the setting affect the changes that Paulsen sees in himself?

8. Paulsen uses different plot structures in the two sections of the book. One consists of brief anecdotes or episodes while the other is a dramatic chronological narrative. Compare and contrast the two styles. Are they effective? What would happen if they were switched?

9. In many biographical sources, Paulsen is quoted as saying that he believes in "spiritual progress." Discuss the idea of spiritual progress or spiritual awakening as a theme of Woodsong.

10. Paulsen has been compared to Jack London as a writer of adventure stories set in the cold north. Read one of London's titles and compare it to Woodsong.

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