Critical Reading Assignment





Critical Reading AssignmentProvided Prereading Questions.

Read the introduction by translator Lily Meyer. Does Meyer do a good job of introducing the story? What would you do differently?

Meyer’s introduction to Ulloa Donoso’s story is just alright. She gets the story started by providing a brief description of Donoso’s cat, Kokorito, about Donoso’s blog, snippets about her life such as that Donoso went to Norway for graduate school and the importance of Donoso’s blog to her writing career. However, Meyer’s introduction does not immediately grab the reader’s attention. It does not intrigue the reader to continue reading the text. My introduction to Donoso’s work would be different in that I would engage the readers by giving a brief anecdote, a quote, a playful joke, or ask them a question.

What does the title suggest about the work?

The title, “Little Bird” is straightforward and suggests that the work will discuss a little bird, either in nature or in captivity. The subject is not entirely clear but it provides a hint that the story will discuss a little bird.

Read the sections About the Author and About the Translator at the end of the short story. How do you think Ulloa Donoso was influenced by Peru and Norway?

Claudia Ulloa Donoso is a Peruvian writer and therefore, the experience from her native country has to have had an impact on her beliefs, attitudes, and values. The attitudes and values that Peru has imparted on her, have to have some influence on her life, culture, and writings. Currently, Donoso lives in Northern Norway where she teaches languages. She went to Norway for her graduate studies, and while there, she started her blog. Donoso’s teaching experience and her interaction with Norwegians has also impacted her values and ultimately, her writing. From the “Little Bird” a reader one can tell that the author is influenced by Norway; her story is based in Norway and she speaks of Norwegian values such as taking off coats when you enter an establishment.

Personal Prereading Questions.

After skimming through the article, what can one learn about the setting?

The setting is in Norway- in a bus, then an office.

After skimming through the article, what can one learn about the characters?

The main character is caring- she does not leave the dying bird in the hallway but carries to take care of it later.

What does one think of when skimming through the article? Does the article remind you of another book?

When skimming the article, I was thinking of the skylark in P.B. Shelley’s poem “Ode to a Skylark”. The term ‘bird’ in the title reminded me of Shelley’s poem because it also discusses a bird- a skylark.


Find at least five words that you do not know the meaning of and circle each on in the story.

Armadillo, trundles, ergonomic, yellow-breasted kjøtmeis, and Pajarito.

Write short definitions for each circled word in the margins.

Armadillo- (noun). This is a New World placental mammal that has sharp claws for digging for food

Trundles- (verb). The act of moving heavily or slowly

Ergonomic-(adjective) relates to or designed for comfort or efficiency in the working environment

yellow-breasted kjøtmeis- a yellow-breasted bird that is called the Great tit

Pajarito- is a Spanish word that translates to birdie, or little bird in English

Mark the beginning of each of the following sections in the story: Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

Exposition-The introduction of the story, where we are introduced to the narrator and Kokorito and the fact that he brings the narrator dead birds as gifts.

Rising action- When the narrator finds the dead bird, wraps it in a damp paper towel, and puts the bird in her coat pocket. Then when she enters the bus and goes into the interview with her coat on, despite it being considered “bad manners not to take off your coat when you walk into the office.”

Climax-This is when she puts her hand back in the pocket and feels something move. The bird has come back to life. The bird starts beating its wings and she cannot hold it anymore and lets it fly, and it circles the office, with everyone in the office either admiring the bird or annoyed.

Falling action- After the interviewer and the narrator open the windows and the bird flies out.

Resolution- When the narrator realizes that carrying dying birds around is not a bad idea. She also states that keeping in one’s pockets and not taking off one’s coat is also good idea- do not follow all conventions always.


The story begins with the narrator providing a description of her cat, Kokorito, and the fact that he gifts her dead birds. The narrator presumes that Kokorito wants to teach her more about death. One day as she leaves for her interview, she finds one of the birds that Kokorito leaves her dying on the hallway. She does not want to leave it there to die, so she tucks the bird in a damp paper towel and puts it in her coat towel and heads to her interview. When she gets to the office, she is unable to remove her coat despite it being regarded as bad manners to keep your coat on in offices. Her interviewer does not seem to mind and they carry on with an interview that seems to go pretty well. However, in the end, the narrator puts her hand in her coat pocket and feels the bird move and it beats its wings. After a while, she is unable to hold it any longer and she takes it from her pocket and places it on her CV. She then tries to salvage the situation by telling the interviewer that she had saved the bird when she found it dying in her hallway therefore, she performs well under pressure. The bird then starts flying around the office and the other employees in their cubicles watch the bird. Some employees admire the bird while others are annoyed by this incidence. The interviewer and the narrator then open the windows and the bird flies out. On her way home, the narrator looks for the yellow-breasted kjøtmeis that accompanied her during her interview. She is grateful to the bird and she states that sometimes, it is a good idea to carry dead animals around, to keep one’s hands in their pockets, and to never take off one’s coat.

Evaluation Questions and Answers. Type the questions and the answers

What is the setting of the story?

The setting of Donoso’s story, “Little Bird,” is in Norway. The story is developed in two main settings, the narrator’s home and the offices of the Department of Culture

Who is the intended audience?

Donoso’s audience intends to engage people who may have a problem of fitting in society and following inconsequential norms. She encourages everyone that there is no problem of doing something ‘new’.

What is the author’s message to the reader?

The author’s overall message is that near-death experiences are not always negative, and one should not be afraid to sometimes break society’s conventions.

What rhetorical devices are used? How do they impact the writing? Discuss two.

Donoso uses rhetorical devices such as imagery and an anecdote in this story. Donoso appeals to the senses and deepens the reader’s understanding. For instance, she states, I’ll sit there like an armadillo, like a turtle, like a porcupine hiding its head, showing its spines as it trundles along” to show that she won’t communicate properly and be herself knowing that she has a coat on, which is unacceptable in Norway. Comparing herself to a turtle, an armadillo, or porcupine is important because all these animals have shells or spines and these prevent them from being truly expressive. Therefore, wearing her coat makes her seem like she is hiding something.

The author also uses an anecdote in her story to give a personal insight into Kokorito and his view of death. The anecdote is not simply for entertainment, but for revealing a truth about Kokorito. That he is not afraid of death. Kokorito went into the polar winter and returned after twenty days. “When he came home, he opened the window himself, drank some water, and fell asleep [on the narrator’s] bed for two days. Then he got up, meowed, and lived again.” This anecdote enables the reader to understand that Kokorito has a placid acceptance of death.

Can you personally relate to the story? Explain.

Yes. I can personally relate to this story because I have had such an experience before. I once got late for an interview because I stopped to help a dog that had been hit by a motorist who had sped away leaving the poor animal writhing in pain by the side of the road. I took the dog to a nearby vet but I arrived at the interview terribly late, bloodied, and dirty. I felt that the interview went well but the interviewer did not understand why I would stop to help a dog when I had an impending interview. I never got the job but I went home feeling fulfilled about my actions.

Works Cited

BIBLIOGRAPHY Donoso, Claudia Ulloa. The Successful Candidate Will Not Have a Dead Bird in Her Pocket: “Little Bird” by Claudia Ulloa Donoso, translated by Lily Meyer. 30 May 2018. Web. 07 March 2019.