Jeanna Lowrey
Claudia Lockwood
Amelia Gallay
Bailey Sheehan
Liz Young

Location: Library, Ms. Hamilton's Office

A Town Called Alice Agenda

A. Introduction: 10 minutes
What did you like/dislike about the book?
Discuss who your favorite/least favorite character was.
What was your favorite scene in the book?
What was unclear in the book?
What do you think the main theme of the book was?

Did anything shock you?
What passages stood out to you?
Did you find any events controversial?

Did any comment made by a group member shed new light on a character/theme/event/etc?
What knowledge have you gained during the discussion concerning both the book and the issues in the book?
What is still unclear concerning the book?
Is there any aspect of the book you’d wish we’d spent more time on?

B. Run Through Characters 10 minutes
Which character do you think had the biggest impact on Jean?
If you could pick one word to describe Noel what would it be?

C. Ten Worlds or Less 10 minutes
Summarize the book.
Summarize one character.
Summarize the scene when Jean finds out Joe is in London.

D. Open Discussion Starters 20 minutes
What do you think the author was trying to get across by writing this novel?
If you were to add a chapter to end of the book what would it include?
What was the hardest part of the book for you to read?
After reading the novel, what part really stuck with you?

E. Leveled Questions 10 minutes

F. Passage Path 10 minutes

G. Another Point of View 10 minutes

H. Channel the Author 10 minutes
What inspired you to write this book?
Why did you choose to have the lawyer be the narrator?
Claudia Lockwood's Creative Writing Assignment:
MalayaA land where the language sounds so different. A land where the trees and beaches are different. A land where the spices and flavor of food are different. A land where the holidays and celebrations are different. A land where the very tan population looks different.
A place where the routine of work is the same. A place where generosity and hospitality are the same. A place where men are still more powerful than women is the same. A place where the importance of family is still the same. A place where living as a woman is practically the same as in England.
The JourneyThe constant fear of not knowing. Following orders from Japanese soldiers is foreign. “Very sorry, no truck. You walk” (56). “She distributed her mangoes to Eileen and the Holland children and to others” (59). The end seems far away, everywhere they go they are sent somewhere else. “‘There are no ships here,’ he said. ‘You should have stayed in Panong’” (69). Never any choice, only to keep walking to where the women are sent. Continuous walking tragically takes certain lives, “‘It’s God’s will’” (73). Courage and taking risks is what it takes to survive. “He had several little packages for her” (88), Joe risks his life to help them. The little hope there was disappears when “‘They crucified him’” (107). Working in rice patties, “‘ your women do’” (119). A new home is formed in this village with respect for the villagers. A new life is formed with the villagers that is is prosperous. A new hope of freedom is born.

The Search“‘He was in hospital in Kuatan’” (139). My ears ring from what I have just heard. Joe was taken to the hospital still alive. Is he still alive? “‘He lived’” (140). What does this mean? I need to find him. This man risked his life to get us food, medicine, and soap. The risks he was willing to take with the Japanese gave me hope.
He is the reason I survived. His willingness to take risks gave me courage. Courage to keep walking when it seemed like we would walk until death. With out his audacity I wouldn’t have been able to continue on. His courage and kindness pushed me forward. What does he know about me? Has he gone back to Australia? Does he remember who I am? Searching for him consumes me.
I do not know where to go from here. Did he stay in Malaya? Where in Australia does he live? I need an answer. The answer was Australia and “‘Fifty-three thousand pounds’” (21).

AustraliaA deserted, empty land, yet “...unreasonably happy” (174). Trying to locate Joe is my top priority. Learning the different customs and “...dinky-die” (192). Fitting in with the men and women. Waiting.
“A vague idea was forming in Jean’s mind” (212) that formed into new projects. Projects that will help. Maybe he will like them. Still waiting.
Seeing Midhurst. Finally seeing him. Showing off the new shoe factory, and ice cream parlor. At last, no more waiting.
A secret love. “‘Willy you marry me?’” (248). “‘Of course I’ll marry you’” (249). Still continuing these projects. A slow growing town with “a shoe workshop and a ice-cream shop” (319). A visit from Noel who is “‘going to take about three months holiday’” (339). A happy family.

A Happy EndingA successful business, and maybe more to come. Possibly a grocery store? A wonderful husband. He works so hard with the cattle to provide for us. A beautiful child. It is such blessing to have such happiness in our lives. A young, joyous family. Sitting on the porch of Midhurst is how Sundays are spent. A quickly booming community. With all the new business and young women the town is now desirable. A happy ending. I couldn’t have asked for my life to turn out more splendid.

Source: Shute, Nevil. A Town Like Alice. New York: Vintage International, 2010. Print.

Bailey Sheehan's Creative Assignment:

Pg. 18-26: The scene where Jean finds out about her inheritance.
One morning, I was on my way to work and I stopped by the mailbox. To my surprise there was a letter from a man by the name of N.H Stracham. The letter informed me a certain Mr. Douglas Macfadden had passed away and that I was to inherit part of his estate. I didn’t know who this man was who had passed but I decided to meet with Mr. Stracham.
Later the next day, I called him up and asked if he would be available to meet on a Saturday, considering I had to work during the week. He said that was fine and we decided that 10:30 would be a good time to meet at his office. Before we hung up, he asked if I had my birth certificate. I had been thinking ahead and already managed to find both my birth certificate and my mother’s marriage certificate. He sounded pleased before we hung up and he informed me that his name was Mr. Noel Stracham and he was the senior partner.
I made sure to show up at 10:30 sharp on Saturday morning. I had all my papers in order and was ready to talk about the inheritance. Once in his office, I showed the papers and he asked a few questions about my parents and aunt. After he was finished looking them over, he set the papers on his desk and asked me about my uncle. I thought I had never met my uncle before. The only memory that I had was of meeting a man in Scotland with my mother and Donald and I couldn’t remember who the man was. Once I received the letter, I started to think and I decided that the man in Scotland must have been my uncle.
Mr. Stracham then asked about my brother. I calmly explained to him that Donald had died when he was a prisoner of the Japs and sent on the railway. Not surprisingly, he didn’t know what the railway was. I was used to this since not many of the people who had decided to stay in England knew what the railway was. I explained to him and he hesitantly asked if their was a death certificate. I guess he didn’t know much about what had happened. Did he think that the Japs really kept track of the names and information of each of the prisoners that had died so they could make death certificates? I just calmly answered that I didn’t think there was.
Shortly after, Mr. Stracham explained to me a little about Mr. Douglas’s will. He had left his estate to me only if my mother and brother should die before me. Even then, I can’t have complete access to his estate until I am 35. I didn’t mind that too much though. Once I found out how much the whole estate was worth, I would still be getting a large amount in income. After I heard that, a thousand thoughts raced through my mind. I wouldn’t have to work anymore. But if I didn’t work, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I decided I would work anyways, but I still had no idea what I was going to do with the money. I thought about Malaya and if there was anything that I use it for there, but I couldn’t decide what would be best to use the money for in Malaya.
This meeting was life-changing. Now I would have no worry about money. I wouldn’t have to work if I didn’t choose to, and I could use some money to help the people I once lived with. All this from an uncle I hardly remembered.

Jeanna Lowery's creative writing assignment:
They Came For Us
As we drove down the winding road we heard gun shots in the distance
I knew they were coming.
As we waited for the boats to bring us to safety my heart began to race
I knew they were getting closer.
As we waited in the office just steps away from the door we heard “ BOOM, BOOM, BOOM”
I then knew, they were here.

Miles Go On
The children grew weak and tired
As we walk farther and farther women and child begin to drop like flies
The heat is unbearable giving us a disadvantage to our next town
We enter the villages already knowing our fate as we see the colonel standing stern
They treat us like animals with no sympathy for innocent women and children
When will this nightmare end... soon there will be no more miles for us to walk.

I stand breathless
There is no feeling in my body
We didn’t know the brutal scene we were soon to witness
As they bring Joe out, I can see he is weak and unable to stand by himself
This one man that makes me have faith that I love, realizing soon he will disappear
My body goes numb soon everything goes black, I fall to the ground un able to look at this
They have crucified my hope forever.

Alice Paradise
I know he is out there, does he know I am alive?
I must go to the one place, we dreamt of together
I wait in pursuit, reuniting with my love
Will he want to see me?
I see him from the plane, blue suit, gray hat, healthier than ever
A million thoughts race through my head trying to speak a sentence
“Joe.” The hug feels magical, he smells of cologne
I will never let go again
We will live in Alice a town of perfection
A town called Alice.

Amelia Gallay's Creative Assignment:


Her hair is curled to the nape
Of her thick neck
Encased in heavily starched grey
It rebels, pushes out over the top

“Anything else Mr. Strachan?”
The neck inquires formally
And devoid of emotion

I shake my head, the movement
Once so unremarkable is nearly

I’ve been so wholly betrayed
My body once strong and solid
Lies dormant

Tissue thin skin stretched taut across knobby bones

I’m glad I chose to stay
Where the grey sky arches over
Ever-reaching concrete
Stifling in its enormity

Clear blue would mock me
Waving green would taunt me
The grey contains my condition
If not the neck that propels it

No Town Like Alice

Brown backs fade into
Brown wilderness
one less pair of Brown hands to help guide
Brown lumbering beasts
Brown dust streets
Brown wood shacks

This is no nuanced Brown
starkly plain it holds no whispers of Alice
of crystalline pools
of bustling shops
of laughing girls

Brown is no place