For easy access and use, click on the button to download a PDF which contains the Pre-Reading Questions, the story, and the Postscript all in one document.

A Delicious Moment

Idea Worth Teaching: Humanity

Word Count: 525 words

Genre: historical fiction

Summary: Based upon true events, this short story provides a fictional account of one of the bloodier episodes during the Reign of Terror (French Revolution).


For each component, you can approach the work in whatever way is most convenient and/or agreeable to you.  For example, for the Pre-Reading Questions, you can download and print the PDF of the Pre-Reading questions, and then write your answers on the printed page, or you can download and view the questions on-screen and write your answers to the questions in your writing notebook.  Remember to use complete sentences.

For each story, there are several ways that you can interact with the text.  You can read the short story on your screen, or you can download and print the short story and then read the hard copy. You can also listen to each story by clicking on the Listen to the Story button.  My recommendation is to print a copy of the story so that you can underline important passages as you read and/or listen.

The Post-Reading Questions can be answered in your writing notebook, or you can copy and paste the questions into a document and write your answers therein.

You will find the Pre-Reading Questions below.  These questions are designed to help you start thinking about the idea worth teaching and the story.

Click on the button below to download a copy of the answers to the Pre-Reading Questions.  Compare your answers to mine.

Pre-Reading Questions

Idea Worth Teaching: Humanity

Directions: Read the following quote:

“At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great princess, who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, replied, ‘Let them eat cake.’ ”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from Confessions, VI.

Directions: Consider the thinking/writing prompt(s) below.  For each one, write a reasoned response.  Use complete sentences.

1. How does the above quote reflect a lack of humanity on the part of the princess?


2. This remark is usually, and mistakenly, attributed to Marie Antoinette, the queen of France.  She later lost her head by guillotine during the French Revolution.  Is simply being a king or queen a capital offense?  Why or why not?

3. Explain the following statement: Justice should be tempered with mercy. Do you agree or disagree with the statement?  Explain your reasoning.


4. What is the difference between justice and vengeance?

Now you are ready to read A Delicious Moment.  Click on the button below to download a PDF of the story.  You can print the story or read it on your screen.


The Postscript is intended to be the real work of this lesson.  This is where you will consider the story and a writing/thinking prompt.  Your goal is to write a reasoned response to the prompt.  No formal answers are given for the postscript.  You can answer the questions in your writing notebook, or download and print a PDF of the Postscript.

Directions: Consider the thinking/writing prompt(s) below.  Choose one (1), and write a reasoned response in your writing journal (or the space provided on the downloadable PDF).  Use complete sentences.

Joseph Fouché oversaw the bloodshed at Lyons. He is reported as having said, “The butchery has been good.”  Sadly, Fouché managed to survive the French Revolution without having his own head removed.


1. Are liberty, equality, and fraternity worth your humanity?  Explain your reasoning.

2. Should one’s humanity be sacrificed for a cause?  Explain your reasoning.

3. At what cost should justice be achieved?  What price is too high to pay?  Explain your reasoning.

4. In light of historical events such as those found in the reading passage, why is the 8th Amendment so important?  Explain your reasoning.  Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.