Get your students to delve into diction and voice in literature by closely analyzing an excerpt from the beginning of the classic short story "By the Waters of Babylon." This annotation activity can be used after reading the story (or even after reading just the first few pages) to get students to clue in to the strong voice presented for the character of John. First, students receive some guidelines about how to "mark up" their excerpts. Then, they get started, as you model annotation along with them (using the included example) or demonstrate the first paragraph as an example. This activity makes an excellent springboard for discussion about the author's diction and voice! Lastly, an example of a writing prompt is included which requires students to write about some devices they've found and their effects on the story. This activity could easily work for small groups as well.