Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life
by Brian Brett (Greystone Books, 2009)
Remind students to use their critical thinking and inquiry skills as they interpret the text and to support their interpretations with stated or implied evidence from the text. The following are some possible topics:
• Setting: How Brett establishes his setting and enlarges on it to create atmosphere and enhance his theme. Remind students that setting includes not only the actual geographical place and its scenery, but also the time frame of the story’s action, the society in which the characters live, and the values they hold.
• Structure of the narrative: How he fulfills his plan of using “the magic of story” to engage his readers: by association and by a walk through “an eighteen-year-long day that includes both the past, and the future of living on the land.”
• Stylistic devices: How he enhances his story by using language and figures of speech (e.g., metaphor, simile, personification) to create vivid aural and visual images.
• Point of view: The effect created by the use of a first-person narrator who is both a character in the story and the one who selects and describes his experiences and attitudes toward the natural world.
See the teaching resource for more lesson ideas.
Cross-curricular Suggestions: Geography and Social Studies
Students could study Trauma Farm to extend their understanding of human systems and the environment. Brian Brett’s story illustrates the physical and human dimensions of farming and the intricate relationship between the people on one farm in British Columbia and the environment in which they live. As students read, they will need to call into play skills of inquiry, critical thinking, analysis and interpretation, and evaluation of information.