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By Chaim Potok

Zebra
Adam Martin Zebrin is his real name
He loves running and he loves his name
Zebra gets hurt while running down Franklin
Avenue
He was hit by a car when he did not stop at the
corner and ran into the street
He injured his hand and leg
What do the following words and phrases
mean?
Stiff-mannered
Smart suits and dapper bow ties
In vain
In this class, young man, you will concentrate
your attention upon the earth, not upon the sky.
During recess, Zebra notices a man walking
down Franklin street.
The man looks in public trash cans, finds
something in one of the trash cans, removes
it, and places it in his bag.
Zebra notices the man has only one arm.
The man asks Zebra whether his school
would be interested in a summer art class.
Zebra directs him to the main office and
suggests that he talk to Mrs. English rather
than Dr. Winter.
Dr. Winter was a disciplinarian but Mrs. English
was generous and kind
The man tells Zebra his name John Wilson
Zebra is in Mrs. Englishs class
Mrs. English calls it a class in the imagination
Students tell each other stories
Zebra shares a sad story.
His classmate Andrea comments that he always
shares sad stories
During afternoon recess, Zebra sees John Wilson again
Wilson explains that he will be giving a summer art class.
Zebra said he wasnt interested.
Wilson asks Zebra to hold his pad while he drew a picture
When he was finished he gave the picture to Zebra.
It was a picture of Zebra, signed To Adam with thanks. John
Wilson
When Zebra told Wilson his nickname. Wilson took back the
picture, crossed out Adam and over it drew a picture of a zebra in
full gallop
Later, when Zebra looks at the picture, it appears that the
zebra has moved. He thinks he must be running another
fever.
Zebra notices the sign for the summer art
class
He speaks to Mrs. English about it he wants
to know if he can ask Mr. Wilson questions
Where he is from
How he got hurt

She gives Zebra the answers he is from


Virginia and was hurt in the Vietnam war.
Zebra signs up for Mr. Wilson art class
He finds out that Mr. Wilson was a helicopter
pilot in the Vietnam war
He goes to the first art class where Mr. Wilson
asked them to draw the face of somewhere near
them.
Zebra draws Andreas face. She tells Zebra it is
awful.
Mr. Wilson tells them to look at the space outside
of what they are drawing, not at the edges
Mr. Wilson tells the class they are going to learn
how to see in a new way.
Zebra makes a zebra of glued together scraps of
cardboard.
Later, he draws his hand again and is surprised
that it actually looks like a hand
Mr. Wilson gives them the assignment to draw or
make something at home that each person feels
deeply about.
Zebra makes a helicopter out of bits of garbage.
Mr. Wilson places the helicopter on the
windowsill
Mr. Wilson asks the students that are leaving
class at the end of July to make a drawing for
him something to remember them by.
Zebra makes a drawing of a helicopter and a
Zebra racing over a landscape
Zebra signs it To John Wilson with thanks. Zebra
Mr. Wilson asks Zebra to add the name Leon over
top of John Wilson
He explains that Leon was an old buddy and artist
who was in Vietnam with Mr. Wilson. Leon is no
longer alive.
Zebra goes to camp in the Adirondacks.
His hand begins to feel better
When he returns to school, Mrs. English has a note
for him from Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson sent a letter and color photograph
The picture is of Mr. Wilson in front of the Vietnam
Memorial. Against the wall is Zebras drawing.
The note explains that Leon Kellner, Wilsons friend,
was an artist.
Each year Wilson visits him at the memorial and leaves him
a gift.
This year it was Zebras picture
Wilson thanked Zebra for the gift.
While standing in the schoolyard, Zebra
remembers the first day that Mr. Wilson walked
along Franklin Avenue.
He thinks back to that day when he felt like all of the
houses were saluting Mr. Wilson
Zebra feels that he can now walk along Franklin
Avenue
He hadnt walked along it since his accident
The story ends with Zebra agreeing to walk
home with Andrea
Andrea comments that Zebra is becoming pleasant
Logical guesses (educated guesses) based on
clues in the text
To make inferences, look for details the writer
provides about:
Character
Setting
Events
Think about what you already know about
the topic
Connect the story to your own experience
Then, a year ago, racing down Franklin Avenue, he had given
himself a push and had begun to turn into an eagle, when a huge
rushing shadow crashed into him and plunged him into a darkness
from which he emerged very, very slowly...
Never, never, never run down that hill so fast that you cant stop
at the corner, his mother had warned him again and again. (page 41)

We can infer that:


Zebra was running so fast that he was unable to stop
at the corner.
The rushing shadow is a car
He was knocked unconscious (plunged into darkness)
When the man was about ten feet away, Zebra
noticed that the left sleeve of his jacket was
empty.
We can infer that the man is missing an arm (the empty sleeve)

When it was Zebras turn, he told a story about a


bird that one day crashed against a closed
windowpane and broke a wing. A boy tried to heal
the wing but couldnt. The bird died, and the boy
buried it under a tree on his lawn.

We can infer that:


Zebras story shows how he is feeling about his own situation.
He feels his hand wont get better.
He may feel that a part of him has died.
Zebra drew his hand again. Strange and ugly, the
two fingers lay rigid and curled. But astonishingly, it
looked like a hand this time.

We can infer that:


Zebra has learned to see in a new way. He looks at the
space outside of his hand where he wants to draw,
rather than looking at his hand. His new drawing looks
like his hand, even though his hand has not changed.
Zebra makes a helicopter for his art project.

We can infer that:


Zebra wants to connect with Mr. Wilson. He wants
to find out what happened to Mr. Wilsons arm.
Mrs. English stood staring awhile at the letter. She
turned away and touched her eyes.

We can infer that Mrs. Wilson was so moved


by the letter that it brought tears to her eyes.

He thought how strange it was that all the houses


on this street had seemed to turn toward John
Wilson that day, the windows and porches and
columns and doors, as if saluting him.

We can infer that Zebra respects Mr. Wilson and


that Mr. Wilson commands respect of others.