"Drunken Fireworks” is a short story by Stephen King first published in his 2015 story collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.
The story is narrated by Alden McCausland, who is taken into custody by the Castle County police.
Alden lives with his mother. Since his father died and left them an unexpected big life insurance policy, and his mother won a big prize in the Big Maine Millions scratcher, they can afford a rich lifestyle, which consists mostly of spending the entire summer at their cabin at Lake Abenaki, drinking all day long.
The house on the other side of the lake is owned by the Italian-American Massimo family, who officially own their riches to their company, Massimo Construction, but are actually “connected” as Ma McCausland puts it. Alden and his mother don’t think much of their neighbors, and especially hate one particular boy of the Massimo family who likes to play the trumpet.
When one 4th of July Alden tries to impress the Massimo’s with his fireworks, he starts a rivalry with them that soon becomes known in Castle County as the 4th of July Arms Race. In the years that follow the McCauslands and the Massino’s try to outdo each other with bigger and bigger fireworks, with the Massino’s always coming out on top. That is until Alden, through some connections of his own, manages to get his hands on the largest, but very illegal, piece of fireworks in the world: the Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind, a.k.a. the GE4. However, when Alden fires the GE4 (after the Massino’s have just performed a large fireworks show with help of a professional crew), the wind blows it towards the Massino’s house, and since Castle County had a very dry summer the GE4 sets the pine trees around the house ablaze. This in turn causes the house itself to catch fire and burn to the ground. Alden is arrested.
Now that his story is told, Alden is informed by the police that Mr. Massimo won’t press charges against Alden or his mother, since he too was responsible for their fireworks arms race getting so out of hand. Alden is free to go. However, Massimo’s 2 sons did get some revenge by burning the McCausland’s cabin down, though they blame the fire on Alden leaving a box of fireworks too close to a burning stove. The police however urges Alden to go along with this story, let the insurance pay for the damage, and accept Massimo’s offer to forget the whole thing, which Alden eventually does. (Wikipedia)
This is teaching materials for a short story that would be considered untraditional. The assessments included vocabulary acquisition, critical thinking questions, and recall or comprehension questions on one sheet. These questions come in the form of a mixture of matching, short answer, and multiple-choice. By completing this sheet the student will demonstrate an understanding of the material on multiple levels.
The other assessment is a creative art sheet. The creative art sheet asks the student to use the details from the story and their own knowledge, experiences, and imagination to synthesize a totally new work, this is a picture that is a visual representation that recreates of a scene, character or maybe the student's use or view of an aspect of the story. Along with this picture the student will explain their work with a short explanation.
The materials provided
1 Short story worksheet
1 Creative Art Sheet
1 Answer Key
NOTE: I have decided to include the Word Documents that the PDFs are created from so that if you would like to customize the unit for your classroom you can. However, I have used formatting and custom fonts that are not standard with many versions of Microsoft office. This may mean that opening them with a different version of office or without the same fonts installed will throw the formatting off. If so it may take some work to adapt them in your class. I am including them as an extra and would ask that I am not rated on the usability of the Word Docs. Since they are not the finished product, but an extra.