“Riding the Bullet” is a novella by Stephen King. This work marks King's debut on the Internet. Simon & Schuster, with technology by SoftLock, first published Riding the Bullet in 2000 as the world's first mass-market e-book, available for download at $2.50. That year, the novella was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction and the International Horror Guild Award for Best Long Form. In 2002, the novella was included in King's collection Everything's Eventual.
Alan Parker is a student at the University of Maine who is trying to find himself. He gets a call from a neighbor in his hometown, Lewiston, Maine, telling him that his mother has been taken to the hospital after having a stroke. Lacking a functioning car, Parker decides to hitchhike the 120 miles (200 km) south to visit his mother.
His first ride is with an old man who continually tugs at his crotch in a car that stinks of urine. Eventually frightened and glad to escape the vehicle, Alan starts walking, thumbing his next ride. Coming upon a graveyard, he begins to explore it and notices a headstone for a stranger named George Staub (in German, Staub means dust), which reads: "Well Begun, Too Soon Done." Sure enough, the next car to pick him up is George Staub, complete with black stitches around his neck where his head had been sewn on after being severed and wearing a button saying, "I rode The Bullet at Thrill Village, Laconia."
During the ride, George talks to Alan about the amusement park ride he was too scared to ride as a kid: The Bullet in Thrill Village, Laconia, New Hampshire. George tells Alan that before they reach the lights of town, Alan must choose who goes on the death ride with George: Alan or his mother. In a moment of fright, Alan saves himself and tells him: "Take her. Take my Mother."
George shoves Alan out of the car. Alan reappears alone at the graveyard, wearing the "I Rode the Bullet at Thrill Village" button. He eventually reaches the hospital, where he learns: despite his guilt and the impending feeling that his mother is dead or will die any moment, she is fine.
Alan takes the button and treasures it as a good (or bad) luck charm. His mother returns to work and to smoking. Alan graduates and takes care of his mother for several years, and she suffers another stroke.
One day Alan, loses the button and receives a phone call; he knows what the call is about. He finds the button underneath his mother's bed, and after a final moment of sadness, guilt, and meditation, decides to carry on. (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 forms 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.