Noughts and crosses




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NAVIGATOR


Section/ Chapter

Plot outline

Prologue

Meggie McGregor (a nought) and her employer, Jasmine Hadley (a Cross), watch their children, Callum and Sephy, play together. When Kamal Hadley unexpectedly comes home, Meggie does not realize that Jasmine needs her to tell a lie to cover for her. Telling the truth loses Meggie her job and her family must suffer.

CALLUM AND SEPHY

Pages 19–88

Chapters 1–2

Three years later, Callum and Sephy are still friends, though social divisions threaten their relationship. Callum – a nought – is about to start at Heathcroft High – the Cross school that Sephy attends. Callum’s family have mixed feelings about his new school. His brother Jude, full of hatred for Crosses, does not want him there. His Mum is doubtful, but his Dad is keen. His sister Lynette – a disturbed young woman – lives in a world of her own.

Chapter 3

Sephy overhears her dad talking with a blond-haired nought man who has a pony tail. She is shocked to overhear their anti-nought views, but pretends to have heard nothing.

Chapters
4–7


Callum prepares for his first day at Heathcroft High School, but it turns out to be disastrous. There are riots outside the school trying to stop the noughts from entering. Sephy tries to stand up for them but offends everyone, especially Callum, when she tells the rioters they are behaving like ‘blankers’.

Chapters
8–10



On the television news Kamal Hadley threatens death to the Liberation Militia (the noughts’ liberation group) and the riots at Heathcroft are reported. Callum and Sephy realize that the Hadleys and the McGregors are on two sides of the political fence.

Chapters
11–15


At Heathcroft, Sephy tries to remain friends with Callum but they soon see how difficult this will be. Callum is treated with contempt by the teachers and Sephy is beaten up by other Cross girls. Friendship between a nought and a Cross is not acceptable.

THE TURNING & THE PICNIC

Pages 91–114

Chapters
16–24


Callum is turned away from the Hadley house when he tries to visit Sephy – but, against the odds, their relationship survives in secret. Together, on the beach, they try to reconcile their differences. But while Sephy happily recalls a previous summer picnic, Callum remembers being accused of having stolen the first-class train ticket that Sephy has purchased for him. Though he resents the Crosses and a world that divides people, he cannot hate Sephy.

BREAKDOWN

Pages 117–182

Chapters
25–26


Sephy, too, realizes the social division between her and Callum, but wants to remain friends. When Callum arrives home, there is a family row – Jude is fighting with Lynette. The result is that Callum learns the truth of Lynette’s past: she had a Cross boyfriend and they were both badly beaten up as a result. Her instability and confusion about her identity have followed. Callum realizes the hatred and fear that rules relationships in his society.

Chapters
27–33


Sephy plans to invite Callum to her birthday party. He suspects her motives. In a school history lesson, Callum tries to promote past nought heroes, but Mr Jason excludes Callum, rejecting his views. Another teacher, Mrs Paxton, tells Callum that Jason is half-nought. Sephy is worried when she overhears her parents talking of divorce. She decides not to invite Callum to her party. Callum’s sister Lynette expresses extreme pessimism when she talks with him, but he does not want to accept her view of life. Meanwhile, Sephy gains some comfort from her sister, Minnie, who is more worldly wise than the naïve Sephy.

Chapters
34–42


Callum tries to defend himself when he gains low marks for his work with Mr Jason. Callum reveals that he knows Jason is half-nought, and Jason is furious. At home, Jude’s anger is mounting. Lynette goes out for a walk and later police arrive to announce she has died in a traffic accident. Meanwhile Jasmine Hadley takes an overdose and is rushed off to hospital. Callum finds that Lynette has left him a letter – he is devastated and hardened by the burden she has left him. Sephy’s mother recovers, and Sephy decides to attend Lynette’s funeral. She is not wanted, and her presence brings the relationship between the two families to crisis point. When Sephy and Callum meet on the beach, long shadows fall ominously across them and their future.

THE SPLIT

Pages 185–257

Chapters
43–50


Sephy’s mum, still in hospital, asks her daughters not to make the mistakes she has, but continues to drink. Jude and Ryan McGregor admit they are part of the Liberation Militia. Callum arranges to meet Sephy in the Dundale Shopping Centre, but senses the worst when Jude tries to stop him going there. Nevertheless, he manages to reach Sephy and take her to safety before a bomb explodes. When Callum arrives back home, the bomb is on the news. Meggie is so furious that she breaks one of her fingers slapping Ryan. Callum and Jude take Meggie to the hospital.

Chapters
51–56


Meanwhile Sephy starts to drink, like her mother. At the hospital, Callum and Jude’s details are taken to be stored on the database – they are assured they will be wiped off when Meggie’s fingers are treated. She insists that Ryan leave the family home and Jude chooses to go with him. When Callum meets Sephy, he realizes she has been drinking and tries to make her see how foolish she is being. The couple embrace – their love is still secure, despite circumstances. That night, the police raid Callum’s home and he is arrested.

Chapters
57–64


While Sephy alternates between wanting to go to boarding school and thinking of Callum, Callum is interviewed by the police. Ryan is charged with the bombing and Meggie and Callum seek legal support from Adam Stanhope. However, Ryan confesses to save Jude, and his case looks hopeless until a top Cross lawyer, Kelani Adams, takes on the case – Callum thinks Sephy must be paying for her. Kamal Hadley comes home for the trial. Callum is suspended from Heathcroft High.

THE TRIAL

Pages 261–286

Chapters
65–74


As Sephy plans to go to boarding school, Ryan’s trial begins. Sephy is called as a witness and her meeting with Callum near Dundale is questioned. Ryan has pleaded not guilty and the trial goes well with Kelani Adams’s fine work. The section ends on a cliff-hanger – what is the final verdict?

THE WAY IT IS

Pages 289–331

Chapters
75–81


Sephy is taken, without realizing it, to Ryan’s execution. She is disgusted but a last-minute stay of execution is issued. All but Ryan think there is a chance to get him out of prison. Callum, desperate to see Sephy, climbs to her balcony and into her room – they spend the night together. Though they do not make love, Callum does whisper that he loves Sephy as she sleeps beside him.

Chapters
82–88


News breaks that Ryan McGregor has been electrocuted, escaping from prison. Callum, by chance, meets Jude and is encouraged to join the LM. At the same time, Sephy decides that if Callum wants to run away with her she will go. Otherwise, she will go to Chivers boarding school. She writes him a letter asking him to make his choice. When the letter is first delivered, Callum is too busy preparing for his joining of the LM. By the time he reads it and reaches her house, Sephy has, with huge regret and distress, left for Chivers.

THE HOSTAGE

Pages 335–392

Chapters
89–103


Some years pass. Sephy copes well with school and Callum becomes a sergeant with the LM. All is well until Jude turns up as his lieutenant. A plot is hatched to kidnap none other than Sephy Hadley and Callum is used as decoy. He writes to her and asks her to meet him on their beach. She is taken hostage and ransom money is sought from Kamal to fund LM activities. Callum tries hard to be cold towards Sephy. At first he succeeds but they are fatally attracted to each other and they make love when left alone. Jude arrives to say that they have all been betrayed, and finds them together. Jude thinks that Callum has raped Sephy and realizes the awful consequences. In the confusion, Sephy runs out and Callum secretly helps her to escape. Before they part, Sephy warns Callum against Andrew Dorn – the man with the blond pony tail.

THE CONFESSION

Pages 395–421

Chapters
104–113


Kamal Hadley appears on television to talk about the kidnapping. Callum tells the cell his suspicions of Andrew Dorn. The LM cell agree to go their own ways to avoid capture. Meanwhile, Sephy finds that she is pregnant. Callum finds out about the pregnancy and risks all to see her, while Sephy’s parents plan for her to have an abortion. Callum and Sephy meet in her rose garden – but Callum is captured and arrested. Kamal Hadley guesses that Callum is the father and wants to believe he must have raped Sephy.

DECISIONS

Pages 425–432

Chapters
114–115


Kamal Hadley offers Callum his life if he’ll agree to admitting rape and thus enabling Sephy to have an abortion. He asks Sephy to choose between Callum’s death and an abortion for her baby.

LOSING MY RELIGION

Pages 435 to the end


Chapters
116–117


The choice is made and Callum is hanged. As he dies he hears Sephy calling out that she loves him, just as she hoped he would.

Epilogue

Sephy gives birth to Callie Rose.



LESSON 1


Lesson objectives

Yr 9: R6, R11

AF3, AF6, AF7
Focus: The Prologue – establishing contexts
Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:



  • Use contextual clues to anticipate the content, theme and viewpoint of a novel

  • Use textual clues to infer character and relationships


Starter

Display or write up the words ‘Noughts and Crosses’. Ask the class what these words might suggest when used as the title for a novel. Take feedback.


Distribute the novel, asking students to look only at the front cover. What does the cover, particularly the colour and design, add to their thoughts? Draw out ideas on contrast and conflict. Tell students that some editions of the novel include a quotation from Benjamin Zephaniah about the novel. He calls it ‘intelligent, emotional and imaginatively wicked’. Question his inclusion and tell them that he is a British-born West Indian writer who has written extensively on racial issues. Ask students what this knowledge adds to their speculation about the cover.
Move swiftly on to look at other external features of the book, and draw out any further available contextual features.
Ask students to make predictions about the sort of story they are going to be reading and what themes it might include. Take brief feedback.
Introduction

Distribute the Reading Guide and ask students to turn to page 4. Work through this page, addressing the questions, focusing on how a writer’s context and perspective might influence her choices in writing, and addressing other questions that may arise.


Advise the class that writers do not always do exactly what we might expect. Read the opening Prologue of the novel, asking the class to note:

  1. the clues that reveal character and relationships between the characters whom we meet in this section

  2. the evidence for thinking that relationships are going to deteriorate.

Begin by prompting inferences, e.g. Why is it rare for Jasmine Hadley to giggle? Why does Meggie McGregor call Jasmine Hadley ‘Mrs Hadley’ while Jasmine calls her ‘Meggie’? Why is Meggie worried that Sephy and Callum’s friendship might not last? ‘No barriers. No boundaries. Not yet anyway’ (p. 9). Why must Meggie ‘keep her mouth well and truly shut’ (pp. 9–10)? Why does she want a virus to wipe out every single Cross? When Kamal Hadley slaps Jasmine, what does that suggest about him? Why is Meggie patching Jude’s school trousers? Why is she so keen on his education?

Who are the Crosses? Who are the noughts?
Development

Ask the students to work in pairs to collate the evidence, using WS1a (copied onto an A3 sheet) to chart what they have learned of characters and their relationships. If necessary, complete some points together to support students. You may choose to work with a small group of lower-attaining students on this task to ensure their understanding at this early stage in the study. Use WS1b to support the guided work.


Plenary

Either allow the guided group to lead feedback to the whole class, or draw key points together with the whole class contributing.


Ask students what sort of society is being represented. How far is it like or unlike their own, and in what respects, e.g. social and class divisions, problems in relationships within families and between friends? But noughts and Crosses are unfamiliar names for social groupings. What do students think the names represent?
Briefly consider these two questions before setting homework: Where are the reader’s sympathies at this stage, and why? How might these relate to the writer’s viewpoint?
Homework

What will happen to Callum and Sephy? Ask students to make two or three predictions and justify those choices with reasons based on the opening Prologue.



Characters and relationships


Noughts

Crosses












Ryan
McGregor


Meggie McGregor

Callum McGregor

Kamal Hadley

Jasmine Hadley


Jude McGregor

Lynette McGregor

Minerva Hadley

Sephy Hadley

1 Decide on suitable words to write on each of the characters to describe briefly what you learn about them in the Prologue, including a brief explanation as to why you think this and a page reference as evidence. For example, Kamal is a powerful bully – he slaps his wife (p. 12).

2 Draw connecting lines between the characters and write down the most important quotations and page references from the text that show the nature of their relationship:

  1. ACROSS families, e.g. a line joins Sephy and Callum, with the words ‘They were good friends playing together’ (p. 9), ‘their pure joy in each other’ (p. 13).

  2. BETWEEN family members, e.g. Kamal and Jasmine Hadley: ‘Kamal Hadley gave his wife a look of such contempt and loathing’ (p. 12). Keep the quotations brief and to the point.

3 Find two quotations that provide the reader with the evidence for thinking that relationships are going to deteriorate further.


  1. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………




  1. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Guided work
Introduction

Remind students that they are only drawing on the Prologue, which they have just read.



Strategy checks

  • Check that students understand how they should complete the first part of the task. Check that they understand that they are making inferences (using what the text suggests to make judgements about character and relationships).

  • Check that they know the sort of points to include by repeating earlier suggestions: Why does Meggie McGregor call Jasmine Hadley ‘Mrs Hadley’ while Jasmine calls her ‘Meggie’? Why is Meggie worried that Sephy and Callum’s friendship might not last? (p. 9: ‘No barriers. No boundaries. Not yet anyway’).

  • Ask one student to suggest another point about character to see whether the task is understood.

  • Ask another student to suggest another point about relationships to see whether the task is understood.



Independent reading

Ask students to work in pairs and support them as they work on character and relationships.



Return to the text

Share some completed points, giving students the opportunity to talk through their thinking as they report back and extend all students’ completion of the task. Then ask them for two points that suggest that relationships are going to deteriorate further, and ask them to write down the relevant quotations.



Review

Ask the group how confident they feel about making inferences having completed this task. Check what they understand by inference and ask how useful they think this strategy will be in reading this novel.


If you wish, you may prepare the group for feeding back to the rest of the class.
LESSON 2


Lesson objectives

Yr 9: R1, R6

AF2, AF4
Focus: Pages 19–59 Viewpoint
Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:



  • Identify and evaluate narrative viewpoint

  • Determine the key points about social relations in the world of this novel


Starter

Collect students’ predictions from homework, ensuring reasons for ideas are fully explained and explored. Can they predict anything about the other characters? Will Kamal Hadley change? What might happen to Jude when he is forced out of education?


Introduction

Read from page 19 to 33 with the class, identifying the first-person narrative. While reading, analyse the effect of this choice of narrative viewpoint. Draw out the contradiction that we see things from Sephy’s viewpoint but are also drawn to question her perspective.


Also draw out what else the chapter teaches us about social relationships in the Noughts and Crosses world. Model selecting key quotations, e.g. the inferior position of the noughts, recognized in Callum’s comment on education (p. 25): ‘Until a few years ago… educated up to the age of fourteen’. There seems to be ‘a huge, great wall between’ them (p. 27). Sephy thinks nothing can come between them (p. 28). Draw attention to the description of Sephy’s home on pp. 30 and 32. What does this tell us about the Hadley family and what does it add to our ideas about social relations?
Development

Read the opening of Chapter 2 (up to ‘Mum and Dad wouldn’t part with it’ (p. 34). What happens to Sephy’s first-person narrative and why has the writer chosen to make this change? How does the content of this opening link to the last chapter? Draw out the contrasts between the nought underclass lifestyle and that of the ruling Crosses. But question whether the Hadley family or the McGregor family are the happiest, and what their reasons might be for this happiness.


Distribute the Reading Guide and read page 5 with the class. (The third and fourth bullet points can be used as a focus for their homework reading.) Then, focus on Callum’s opening description of his home and ask students to complete WS2a to make that point clearly.
Complete the chapter, drawing out differences between Callum’s and Sephy’s homes and families, and their attitudes. Pause to ask the class how they feel about Jude – the writer says that he ‘teased maliciously’ (p. 40). Why is he doing this? Is he jealous?
Plenary

Drawing on what has been learned about Sephy and Callum’s very different backgrounds, ask for a volunteer to role-play Callum. The rest of the class must ask Callum questions about his home and family, and about Sephy’s home and family. Make sure that Callum’s optimism about education is included in his responses. You may wish to model asking questions of or answering as Callum before students do so. At suitable points, refer the class back to the text to clarify feelings and ideas.


Then repeat the process with Sephy. Draw out the tension that lies at the heart of their relationship and, indeed, their whole society.
In conclusion, evaluate Malorie Blackman’s choice of the double narrative. Draw out the fact that the double narrative emphasizes the difference in perspective of Callum and Sephy, to attract attention to the damaging social divide.
Homework

Read to page 59, focusing on how Callum and Sephy both feel, a) before he arrives at Heathcroft High, and b) when he and the other noughts arrive. Why is it hard for Sephy to understand Callum’s feelings when she uses the word ‘blanker’ to condemn her fellow students?


Also ask students to notice their responses to Kamal Hadley – how do they feel about this man and why?
They should prepare to feed back on all points for the next lesson.
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