Note: Text selections are drawn from both assigned readings from our anthology and novel and a few from new pieces outside our anthology to which you are asked to apply terminology/concepts from the course.

Please type your responses to each question in each question, taking care to label them in a clear way, and return this document (as .doc, .docx, .pdf) in the Canvas portal on or before Sunday, May 9th at 2 p.m.


Read carefully and reread before you post: make sure you have completed each part as directed. There are three (3) parts.

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I. Analysis Essays

This is an opportunity for you to apply your ability to think. Through the act of writing a close analysis of specific passages, demonstrate your understanding of the literal level of the text (what it says), the interpretive level (what and how it means), and the critical level (what is its value/how does it comment on the human condition/ “so what?”).

Pace yourself. Interactively read and write: I recommend you read each passage through at least twice, mark up notable details, take some brief notes to articulate important ideas, and then compose. Compose approximately 1-2 pages each.

These essays will be evaluated for how you demonstrate accurate comprehension of texts (whole selections and passages in the context of their immediate and wider surrounding texts), evidence of critical analysis and reflection, creativity/originality, sufficient grammatical clarity, and avoidance of plagiarism.

For TWO of the following texts, one at a time, in full: (2-6-12 pts./ 20 total for each) (40 for this section). Note: if you write on more than two, I will read only the first two.

CHOOSE TWO from texts A., B., and C. below and compose separate essays for each using the following guidelines:

1.Identify: What is the text or excerpt’s literary genre? (Be specific- what kind of fiction: short story, play/drama, poem, novel?)

Who is the author and what is the title? (2)

2.Describe the specific context of the text (whole piece or selected passage) briefly but thoroughly: Who is speaking to whom at this moment? Under what circumstances? About whom and what? In other words, where and how does the passage or text itself reveal its context? If the passage is a selection from a larger text, what happens just before and/or after that the passage adds to, and in what way/s? (6)

3.Finally, analyze: where and how does the passage or text develop a significant idea or ideas (a theme) about a particular topic?

oIdentify the topic and theme and tie your observations here directly to evidence from language choices (words, phrases, lines, sentences, etc.) in the text itself. Show you know the characters or speaker/s and the situation depicted in each scene

oAvoid broad generalization and tangential speculation; demonstrate your ability to understand and begin to process a text through close observation of its language (that is, analysis). (12)


“And what does Ma’s name mean?” I whisper.

“Suyuan,” he says, writing more invisible characters on the glass. “The way she write it in Chinese, it mean ‘Long-Cherished Wish.’ Quite a fancy name, not so ordinary like flower name. See this first character, it mean something like ‘Forever Never Forgotten.’ But there is another way to write ‘Suyuan.’ Sound exactly the same, but the meaning is opposite.” His finger creates the brushstrokes of another character. “The first part look the same: ‘Never Forgotten.’ But the last part add to the first part make the whole word mean ‘Long-Held Grudge.’ Your mother get angry with me, I tell her her name should be Grudge.”

My father is looking at me, moist-eyed. “See, I pretty clever, hah?”

I nod, wishing I could find some way to comfort him. “And what about my name,” I ask, “what does ‘Jing-mei’ mean?”

“Your name also special,” he says. I wonder if any name in Chinese is not something special. “’Jing’ like excellent jing. Not just good, it’s something pure, essential, the best quality. Jing is good leftover stuff when you take impurities out of something like gold, or rise, or salt. So what is left- just pure essence. And ‘Mei,’ this is common mei, as in meimei, ‘younger sister.’”


TROY: The baby? How’s the baby?

ROSE: They say it’s healthy. I wonder who’s gonna bury her.

TROY: She had family, Rose. She wasn’t living in the world by herself.

ROSE: I know she wasn’t living in the world by herself.

TROY: Next thing you gonna want to know if she had any insurance.

ROSE: Troy, you ain’t got to talk like that.

TROY: That’s the first thing that jumped out your mouth. “Who’s gonna bury her?” Like I’m fixing to take on that task for myself.

ROSE: I am your wife. Don’t push me away.

TROY: I ain’t pushing nobody away. Just give me some space. That’s all. Just give me some room to breathe.

(Rose exits into the house. Troy walks about the yard.)

(With a quiet rage that threatens to consume him) All right… Mr. Death. See now… I’m gonna tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna take and build me a fence around this yard. See? I’m gonna build me a fence around what belongs to me. And then I want you to stay on the other side. See? You stay over there until you’re ready for me. Then you come on. bring your army. Bring your sickle. Bring your wrestling clothes. I ain’t gonna fall down on my vigilance this time. You ain’t gonna sneak up on me no more. When you’re ready for me…when the top of your list say “Troy Maxson”… that’s when you come around here. You come up and knock on the front door. Ain’t nobody else got nothing to do with this. This is between you and me. Man to man. You stay on the other side of that fence until you ready for me. Then you come up and knock on the front door. Anytime you want. I’ll be ready for you.

C. (a new text)

Song on the Subway by Ocean Vuong

Rush-hour on the A train. A blind man
staggers forth, his cane tapping lightly
down the aisle. He leans against the door,

raises a violin to chin, and says I’m sorry
to bother you, folks. But please. Just listen.
And it kills me, the word sorry. As if something like music

should be forgiven. He nuzzles into the wood like a lover,
inhales, and at the first slow stroke, the crescendo
seeps through our skin like warm water, we

who have nothing but destinations, who dream of light
but descend into the mouths of tunnels, searching.
Beads of sweat fall from his brow, making dark roses

on the instrument. His head swooning to each chord
exhaled through the hollow torso. The woman beside me
has put down her book, closed her eyes, the baby

has stopped crying, the cop has sat down, and I know
this train is too fast for dreaming, that these iron jaws
will always open to swallow a smile already lost.

How insufficient the memory, to fail before death.
Who will hear these notes when the train slides
into the yard, the lights turned out, and the song

lingers with breaths rising from empty seats?
I know I am too human to praise what is fading.
But for now, I just want to listen as the train fills

completely with warm water, and we are all
swimming slowly toward the man with Mozart
flowing from his hands. I want nothing

but to put my fingers inside his mouth,
let that prayer hum through my veins.
I want crawl into the hole in his violin.

I want to sleep there
until my flesh
becomes music.

II. Short comparative analysis essay. (35 pts.)

Explore the two excerpts that follow through writing in these ways:

1.First-briefly- identify genre/kind of text each excerpt is from and each author (5 pts)

2.Then explain with reference to specific parts of each excerpt/passage: What comes across as the central topic of each text in the pair? Where and how does each text develop a significant idea or ideas (theme) about the topic? (15 pts)

3.How do these texts dialogue or “speak” with each other? Present/point out evidence, and describe: Where and how do you notice parallels or resonances in topic and theme? Differences? Tie your observations directly and explicitly to evidence from language choices (words, phrases, lines, sentences, etc.) from each excerpt and across them. (15 pts)

Excerpt/passage 1:

Then Sugar surprises me by sayin, “You know, Miss Moore, I don’t think all of us here put together eat in a year what that sailboat costs.” And Miss Moore lights up like somebody goosed her. “And?” she say, urging Sugar on. Only I’m standin on her foot so she don’t continue.

“Imagine for a minute what kind of society it is in which people can spend on a toy what it would cost to feed a family of six or seven. What do you think?”

“I think,” say Sugar pushing me off her feet like she never done before, cause I whip her ass in a minute, “that this is not much of a democracy if you ask me. Equal chance to pursue happiness means an equal crack at the dough, don’t it?”

Miss Moore is beside herself and I am disgusted with Sugar’s treachery. So I stand on her foot one more time to see if she’ll shove me. She shuts up, and Miss Moore looks at me, sorrowfully I’m thinkin. And something weird is goin on, I can feel it in my chest.

Excerpt/passage 2:

“We used to sit around in a circle to tell many stories. Nowadays in our circles, when we manage to have them, there are mostly elders and adults. There aren’t many children to receive the stories. We, the elders, our hearts cry, because we worry that we may lose our connection to the different moons to come, to the moons that have passed, and to the sun today. The sun will set without our whispers. The ears and voices of those gone will be closed to us. Our grandchildren will have weak backbones and they won’t have the ears to understand the knowledge that lies within them, that holds them firm on this earth. A simple wind of despair will easily break them. What must we do, my friends?” All the faces in the crowd became serious. “We must live in the radiance of tomorrow, as our ancestors have suggested in their tales. For what is yet to come tomorrow has possibilities, and we must think of it, the simplest glimpse of that possibility of goodness. That will be our strength. That has always been our strength. This is all I wanted to say.” She turned away from the crowd. (167)

III. Litany poem based in model (25 pts)

A litany is a kind of prayer constructed of a series that some of you are probably familiar with from church services- where it has its origins. In churches, it is commonly structured where a leader speaks or chants invocations or supplications and the congregation repeats an identical response in between each. This is a form adapted into poetry outside of churches, as well; it is often used to evoke a kind of incantatory mood around a topic.

FIRST STEP: Read this example aloud – to hear how litany structure is used by poet Mónica Gomery using specific repeated words. See how she places these at the beginnings of phrases and sentences: reverse, repeat, replace, strange, reverse- in blocks of varying proportion. Notice also how she uses the non-repeating parts to develop an idea across the entire series about “I” the speaker and “you” the addressee.)

Spring Song

Reverse the peeling apart. Reverse the hush hanging on us. Reverse the way your eyes held me in place when you whispered you’re selfish. Reverse the last time we lingered. Reverse the last time we touched.

Repeat the bright holy bridge strung between our two sets of shoulders.

Reverse shame. Reverse tired. Reverse sleepless nights. Reverse homework. Reverse panic. Reverse dehydration.

Repeat hands quilting skins. Repeat our strange language. Reverse all the ways we fell away from each other.

Reverse silhouettes. Sexism. Scraping the barrel. The times I cringed at your height. The times you spoke me into smallness. Reverse I made you feel guilty. Reverse I made you feel shame. Reverse all the busses, trains, all the highways between us.

Reverse pulp of blame. Reverse gauze of intention. Reverse what went sour and replace it with seashells. Reverse ambiguity.

Replace with some dignified memory of clear steady speech.

Repeat brother, repeat fireplace, repeat season of turning, repeat autumn, and starlight, and songs without words.

Reverse hesitations and stammering tongues. Repeat sitting on a rock and sighting a coyote together.

Strange is the synchronous. Strange is the cusp. Strange was the tilt of me toward you the instant I met you. Strange is the shape of you in front of a campfire the first time I saw you. Strange is the crackle and snap of a fire. Be safe in the fire, you said when you blessed me before I got on the plane. Strange is desire, how it disregards rules. Strange is your beard. Strange are your limbs. Strange how I thought I would never.

Reverse all the explaining. Reverse all the pride. Reverse when I told you it wasn’t enough. Reverse your wounded ego. Reverse my wounded ambivalence. Reverse all the ways I had already learned not to trust myself by the time that I met you.

Reverse the elk in the road. Reverse the sky over the road. Reverse the slamming together and the slamming apart. Repeat the light pouring out through the whites of your eyes.

Reverse me boarding a plane. Reverse you measuring soil samples. Reverse maps, distances, reverse our ambitions. Reverse all the times I expressed dissatisfaction to other people.

Reverse wounds and withholding. Reverse making excuses. Reverse all the edges of what I’m trying to say.

Reverse that I asked you for solitude and then you gave me solitude. Reverse that I told you to stop crowding me, and then you stopped crowding. Reverse when you went much farther away than I ever meant when I asked.

Reverse I was cold. Reverse you were needy. Reverse all the un-grace that is part of our story. Reverse when you asked me to guard your life through the summer. Reverse how I chose silence and now there is just silence.

By Mónica Gomery / Source: Here is the Night and the Night on the Road, Cooper Dillon Books, 2018

SECOND STEP: Now, create your own litany poem using elements of Gomery’s form.

Use these guidelines:

You may use some of Gomery’s litany words (reverse, repeat, replace, strange (the only adjective), reverse) to begin your stanzas/blocks to start off your ideas

All the non-litany (non-repeated parts) must be your own ideas and phrasing (do not merely paste Gomery’s or copy too much of her phrasing)

You may add in a few litany verbs from this list to build your poem: burn, build, break, brilliant (adjective), blaze, brighten, render, reduce, revel, risk, reveal, resplendent (adjective).

Build an original poem around a single topic – developing that idea over the course of the series.

2/ presentation PowerPoint about Management in a time of Covid 19.

The presentation should be 10 minutes and I want a PowerPoint about What should I said and a PowerPoint about what I should show to the audience because I don’t have to write everything in the slides.


In this presentation, typical of the hour-long “book talk” genre commonly held at universities and bookstores, Ishmael Beah explains various aspects of the novel, some of the history of Sierra Leone & its civil war along with his roots there, reads from parts of the novel, and responds to questions from the audience. Plan your time with care so you can listen closely.

Listen to this first thing this week; it will help you as a reader to know some context going in so you can focus more on key aspects of character, plot, theme and various particular implications about people (specific to Sierra Leone and more universally), the prices of war, resilience and hope. I will expect you to cite specific detail in your conversation here in Canvas and after in Perusall directly with parts of the text as evidence rather than merely say general things that can come from anywhere. 🙂

–> For this assignment,

1) identify two moments that surprised you in some way (need not be “big” surprise- “small” is alright, too- listen for these moments in your gut): cite some of the specific language of each moment- what Beah says- and describe how and why you were surprised.

2) Enter into discussion with at least two colleagues– read and respond to specific details from their responses – for example, Did you relate in some of the same ways or in very different ways to a particular idea Beah expresses? Did your colleague call your attention to something Beah said that you did not notice as much until you read their response? How so? (etc.)

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