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Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Author: Jules Verne

Assignments – Part II
Chapters 16-32
By: Elaine E. Schneider

(Note: If you do not have a dictionary that you like, I recommend Merriam-Webster's School Dictionary.  One source for purchase of this dictionary is found online at: http://www.lessontutor.com/ltcreate9home.html .)
 

Chapters 16-18

Synopsis:
The explorers descend into the mouth of Sneffles’ crater and wait for the shadow mentioned in Saknussemm’s cryptogram to fall over one of three holes that will take them deeper.

Vocabulary:
1.  The Word:  precipice

In Context: “I could see deep valleys criss-crossing in all directions, precipices hollowed out like wells, lakes reduced to ponds…” (p.98)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

2.  The Word: undulation

In Context: “The undulations of this infinite succession of mountains, whose patches of snow looked like foam, reminded one of the surface of a stormy sea.” (p.98)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

3.  The Word: sylph

In Context: “I forgot who I was and where I was, living the life of the elves and sylphs of Scandinavian mythology.” (p. 99)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

4.  The Word: blunderbuss

In Context: “The bottom of the funnel did not measure more than five hundred feet in circumference, so that the fairly gentle slope made it easy to reach its lower part. I was… reminded of a huge, funnel-shaped blunderbuss, and the comparison alarmed me.” (p.99)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

5.  The Word: reverberate

In Context: “We had to walk among the erupted rocks, some of which, shaken out of their sockets, went bouncing down to the bottom of the abyss. Their fall awoke reverberating echoes which were strangely sonorous.” (p.100)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

6.    The Word:     sonorous

In Context: “We had to walk among the erupted rocks, some of which, shaken out of their sockets, went bouncing down to the bottom of the abyss. Their fall awoke reverberating echoes which were strangely sonorous.” (p.100)
Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

7.  The Word: gnomon

In Context: “That sharp peak could in fact be regarded as the gnomon of a sun-dial, whose shadow on a given day pointed out the way to the center of the earth.” (p.102)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

8.   The Word:    imperceptible (adjective) or imperceptibly (adverb)

In Context:           “Among them all, that of Scartaris stood out like a sharp edge and started turning imperceptibly with the sun.” (pp.102-103)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

9.  The Word: facilitate

In Context: “Its almost perpendicular walls were covered with countless projections which would facilitate our decent.” (p.104)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

10.   The Word:    facet

In Context:    “At eight in the morning a ray of daylight woke us up. The countless facets of the lava walls caught it as it passed and scattered it like a shower of sparks.” (p.109)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________
 

Writing Assignment:
Last lesson, you were asked to write three descriptive sentences. For this lesson, we will expand your descriptive writing horizons a bit, as your assignment is to write a descriptive  paragraph. You may choose any subject. Think about what words can tell how an object, person, or situation feels, looks, sounds, tastes, or moves. Then write a descriptive paragraph. The length should be between 100-120 words. No more, no less. Learn to write within the boundaries of the assignment. Think of yourself as the author and I am your editor. Your piece must fit in a certain spot in my magazine; hence, the length must be between 100-120 words. Work hard to choose words that will succinctly describe your topic – fit into the small space I have in my magazine – and still excite the reader.
 

Chapters 19-21

Synopsis:
Water becomes an issue.

Vocabulary:
1.  The Word:   preoccupation

In Context: “I was anxious not to be left behind and my chief preoccupation was not to lose sight of my companions.” (p.117)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

2.  The Word: prudence

In Context: “I ought to have kept these remarks to myself, but my geological temperament got the better of my prudence and Uncle Lidenbrock heard my exclamations.”  (p.117)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

3.  The Word: avuncular

In Context: “Was he refusing, out of avuncular or scientific vanity, to admit that he had made a mistake in choosing the eastern tunnel?” (p. 118)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

4.  The Word: superimposed

In Context: “Were we really choosing these layers of rock superimposed on the granite foundation?” (p.118)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

5.  The Word: incontrovertible

In Context: “’If I am right,’ I thought, ‘I am bound to find (out)’…I had not gone a hundred yards before I found incontrovertible proof.” (p.118)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

6.    The Word:     epoch

In Context: “This was scarcely surprising, for in the Silurian epoch, the seas contained over fifteen hundred vegetable and animal species.” (p.118)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

7.  The Word: crustacean

In Context: “’Well,’ he said calmly, ‘it’s the shell of a crustacean of the extinct species of the trilobites, that’s all.’” (p.119)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

8.   The Word:    trilobites

In Context: “’Well,’ he said calmly, ‘it’s the shell of a crustacean of the extinct species of the trilobites, that’s all.’” (p.119)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

9.  The Word: perceptibly  (adverb)      perceptible (adjective)

In Context: “The path was not rising now, at least not perceptibly.” (p.120)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

10.   The Word:    rudimentary

In Context:    “Instead of the rudimentary trilobites, I noticed…creatures…in which paleontologists have detected the earliest reptile forms.” (p.120)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

11.   The Word:    paleontologist

In Context:    “Instead of the rudimentary trilobites, I noticed…creatures…in which paleontologists have detected the earliest reptile forms.” (p.120)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

12.   The Word: slake

In Context:  “Half (a) flask was all that remained to slake the thirst of three men.” (p.121)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

13.   The Word:    beneficent

In Context:    “The plants, deprived of the beneficent rays of the sun. produced neither flowers nor scent, but their roots drew vigorous life from the burning soil...” (p.122)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

14.   The Word:    herbaceous

In Context:    “There were few trees, only herbaceous plants – tall grasses, ferns, lycopods, sigillarias, and asterophyllites, belonging to families which are now rare...” (p.122)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________
 

Writing Assignment:
None.
 

Chapters 22-24

Synopsis:
The travelers leave Iceland and find themselves under the sea.

Vocabulary:
1.  The Word:   allay

In Context: “This reasoning allayed my fears...” (p.132)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

2.  The Word: ferruginous

In Context: “We had breakfast and drank some of this excellent ferruginous water.”  (p.138)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

3.  The Word: naiad

In Context: “The murmuring stream ran gently at our feet; I thought of it as a sort of familiar spirit guiding us underground, and now and then I stroked the warm naiad whose singing accompanied our steps.” (p. 138)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

4.  The Word: inveigh

In Context: “As for my uncle, he kept inveighing against the horizontal nature of the path, as an enthusiast for verticals.” (p.139)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

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Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

5.  The Word: grotto

In Context: “Four days later…we arrived in the evening at a sort of huge grotto; my uncle gave Hans his weekly wages of three rix-dollars, and it was decided that the next day should be a day of rest.” (p.141)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________
 

Writing Assignment:
We have been working on writing descriptively. In these chapters, Verne enables the reader to envision underground waterfalls, boiling streams, and granite shafts that empty into a magnificent grotto. Now it’s your turn. Describe a waterfall – above ground or underground – a waterfall. Do not use these words: am, is, are, was, were, little, big, small, very, good, bad, or fine. Do not exceed 100 words. Think of verbs that describe and depict. Use adjectives to modify nouns. Use a thesaurus if you like. Think “outside the box.”

Chapters 25-28

Synopsis:
Axel loses his way.

Vocabulary:
1.  The Word:         troglodyte

In Context: “…we had grown accustomed to this troglodyte existence of ours. I hardly gave a thought now to sun, stars, and moon, trees, houses, and towns…the surface of the earth...” (p.142)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

2.  The Word: precedent

In Context: “…there’s a precedent for what I’m doing. Another man has done it…”  (p.144)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

3.  The Word: metamorphose

In Context: “I saw that my uncle was about to be metamorphosed into the fearsome Professor, and I made no reply.” (p. 144)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

4.  The Word: fortnight

In Context: “During the fortnight following our last conversation, no incident worth recording took place.” (p.147)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

5.  The Word: labyrinth

In Context: “’…I have a guarantee against losing my way, an unbreakable thread to guide me through this labyrinth, and that is my faithful stream.’” (p.149)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

6.  The Word: haphazard (adjective)    haphazardly (adverb)

In Context: “I started dashing haphazardly through that inextricable maze, going downwards all the time, running through the earth’s crust like an inhabitant of the subterranean galleries, crying, shouting, yelling, bruising myself on the jagged rocks…” (p.153)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

7.  The Word: inextricable

In Context: “I started dashing haphazardly through that inextricable maze, going downwards all the time, running through the earth’s crust like an inhabitant of the subterranean galleries, crying, shouting, yelling, bruising myself on the jagged rocks…” (p.153)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

8.  The Word: annihilation

In Context: “I was just about to lose consciousness again, and hoping for complete annihilation, when a loud noise struck my ears.” (p.154)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

9.  The Word: hallucination

In Context: “All of a sudden my ear, which happened to be resting against the wall, appeared to catch the sounds of words…’It’s a hallucination!’ I thought…But no…somebody was speaking…” (p.154)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

10.  The Word: propagation

In Context: “There are a good many example of this propagation of sounds which cannot be heard in the intervening space.” (p.158)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________
 
 

Writing Assignment:
Axel finds himself desperately lost. He panics and believes he will surely die. Have you ever been lost? Write a paragraph describing what it feels like to be lost. Now, be careful! The assignment is NOT to write a story about being lost. It is NOT to describe where you were lost or how you were lost. The assignment is to write a paragraph telling how it FEELS to be lost. One paragraph. No more, no less. One paragraph: How it Feels to be Lost.
Chapters 29-32

Synopsis:
Axel is saved and the travelers discover an underground sea.

Vocabulary:
1.  The Word:         providential

In Context: “I then learnt that my providential fall had brought me to the end of an almost perpendicular shaft...” (p.161)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

2.  The Word: perpendicular

In Context: “I then learnt that my providential fall had brought me to the end of an almost perpendicular shaft...” (p.161)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

3.  The Word:         inexplicable

In Context: “’I can’t explain anything, because it’s inexplicable...’” (p.161)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

4.  The Word: promontory

In Context: “Some of them (the cliffs), crossing the beach with their sharp spurs, formed capes and promontories which had been eaten away by the teeth of the surf.” (p.163)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

5.  The Word: excavation

In Context: “Obviously the word ‘cavern’ cannot give any idea of the vast dimensions of this huge space…I did not know what geological theory could explain the existence of such a huge excavation.” (pp.164-165)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

6.  The Word: stupefaction

In Context: “New words were required for such new sensations. And my imagination failed to supply them. I gazed, I thought, I admired, with a stupefaction not unmixed with fear.” (p.165)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

7.  The Word: flora

In Context: “…a tall, dense forest appeared…Had they to be accorded a special place among the…flora?” (p.166)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

8.  The Word: menagerie

In Context: “’You are right, Uncle. Providence seems to have wanted to preserve in this huge hot-house the …plants…’
                          ‘As you say, my boy, it is a hot-house, but you might add that it may be a menagerie too.’” (p.167)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

9.  The Word: cataclysm

In Context: “’…these bones can’t have been brought here by a cataclysm. The animals they belonged to have lived on the shores of this subterranean sea…’” (p.168)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

10.  The Word: circumscribe

In Context: “’…if all oceans are properly speaking just lakes, since they are surrounded by land, that is all the more reason why this internal sea should be circumscribed by a mass of granite.’” (p.172)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

11.  The Word: prolific

In Context: “…some huge…seaweed came in sight, floating on the surface of the waves. I was aware of the prolific nature of these plants, which…reproduce themselves under a pressure of four hundred atmospheres, and often form shoals big enough to impede the course of a ship…” (p.176)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

12.  The Word: shoal

In Context: “…some huge…seaweed came in sight, floating on the surface of the waves. I was aware of the prolific nature of these plants, which…reproduce themselves under a pressure of four hundred atmospheres, and often form shoals big enough to impede the course of a ship…” (p.176)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________

13.  The Word: imponderable

In Context: “My body…mingled like an imponderable atom with these vast vapors tracing their flaming orbits through infinity.”  (p.180)

Guess the Meaning:________________________________________________________________

Dictionary Definition: ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Your Sentence: ________________________________________________________________________
 
 

Writing Assignment:
In chapter 32, Axel hallucinates and imagines himself living among the “great mammals of earlier times.” Write a short story in which you live among dinosaurs. Be creative and have fun!
 
 

(End Part 2)
Continue to Part 3 here
 
 

Submitted by:  © Elaine Ernst Schneider is a teacher and freelance writer who has published articles, songs, and children's work. She is the managing editor of Lesson Tutor. Elaine writes the City Songs column for www.newcolonist.com and is the author of 52 Children’s Moments, found at http://www.lessontutor.com/ltstore.html . She currently teaches and writes curriculum for several education companies. Send your feedback to Elaine
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