Friday, October 19, 2012

Boston Book Festival! Saturday Oct. 27

I can't believe that next Saturday is the BBF, and that I haven't scheduled out my game plan to see as many amazing authors as possible!

It's also the last chance to earn extra credit for term 1...

Here are my "must attend" events:

Fiction: The Short Story

11:00am Trinity Sanctuary 206 Clarendon Street
imageJunot Diaz, a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is a professor, writer, and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. He is the author of Drown and The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. Diaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Nancy Allen professor at MIT.

Stories on Stage

12:15pm Old South Church: Mary Norton Hall
Have you ever wanted to see your favorite picture books and fairy tales come to life? Here's your chance, thanks to the creative and enthusiastic teens who make up Hyde Square Task Force's Youth Literacy Theatre. They'll perform a series of short and funny plays based on children's books. Then it's your turn to get in on the act, with acting games and craft projects that you can take home!

Serious Satire

12:45pm Trinity Sanctuary 206 Clarendon Street
imageBaratunde Thurston is a politically-active, technology-loving comedian from the future. He co-founded the black political blog, Jack and Jill Politics, and served as Director of Digital for The Onion before launching the comedy/technology startup Cultivated Wit. He resides in Brooklyn, lives on Twitter, and has over thirty years experience being black. He writes the monthly backpage column for Fast Company, and his first book, How To Be Black, is a New York Times best-seller.

Graphic Novels: Drawing the Story

2:30pm Old South Sanctuary 645 Boylston Street
The brilliant Chris Ware will present Building Stories, described by Publishers Weekly as "the graphic novel of the season or perhaps the year...Ware takes visual storytelling to a new level of both beauty and despair." Charles Burns will show The Hive, volume two of the highly acclaimed X'd Out comic book. Legendary designer and writer Chip Kidd will present Batman: Death by Design, his architecture-themed Batman comic. And one of the brightest young stars of the genre, Gabrielle Bell, will show The Voyeurs as an opening act for the session. Hosted by writer and critic Eugenia Williamson.

Fiction: Time and Place

4:15pm Old South Sanctuary 645 Boylston Street

imageTayari Jones is the author of Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, and Silver Sparrow. Her debut novel, Leaving Atlanta, won the Huston/Wright Award for Debut Fiction, "Novel of the Year" by Atlanta Magazine, and the "Best Southern Novel of the Year" by Creative Loafing Atlanta. Her most recent novel, Silver Sparrow, was selected as among the best novels of 2011 by Library Journal, Slate, and Salon. Currently, she is an assistant professor in Rutgers-Newark University's MFA program.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Everyday Use" articles for Monday's HW

Here are 4 selections from critical readings of "Everyday Use." This is high level reading, a good introduction to the level of conversation expected at college when looking at literature.

1) read the passages
2) select one passage to work with
3) type and upload to by 10/15 @7pm
-one sentence summary of the passage
-three sentence paraphrase of the passage
-one sentence direct quote (your intro+direct quotation)

1) Mama's comparisons between animals and Maggie often seem insensitive. Without a doubt, the most shocking example of this occurs early in "Everyday Use" when Mama ponders, "Have you ever seen a lame animal, perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car, sidle up to someone ignorant enough to be kind him? That is the way my Maggie walks." Near the end of the story, Mama describes Maggie in similar terms: "I looked at her hard. She had filled up her bottom lip with checkerberry snuff and it gave her face a kind of dopey, hangdog look." It is at this moment in the story that Mama has her epiphany, realizing that her thin, scarred, daughter, deserves the quilts more than her shapely, favored, educated daughter Dee, who only wants the quilts because they are now fashionable. Acting on this flash of insight, Mama does two things that she has never done before: she hugs Maggie and she says "no" to Dee. Afterward, in the final paragraph, Maggie's face lights up with a smile that is "real […] not scared." Moreover, Mama asks her for "a dip of snuff,” and together the enlightened mother and the faithful daughter sit, enjoying their snuff and each other's company, oblivious to the "dopey, hangdog look" they presumably present to the world.
Gruesser, John. "Walker's Everyday Use." The Explicator 61.3 (2003): 183+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 30 Sep. 2011.

2) Before "rifling" through the "trunk at the foot of [Mama's] bed" and getting out the quilts, Dee has already removed all the items of everyday use that she will lay her hands on. The quilts she gets out of Mama's trunk are quite clearly in a trunk, which is to say not in everyday use. These quilts, which had been pieced by Mama's mother, and then quilted by her and her sister, had been tucked away, put in reserve, and not because they were being temporarily stored for the summer. When a horrified Dee claims that, if the quilts are given to Maggie, she would use and consequently ruin them, Mama responds," 'I reckon she would…God knows I been saving 'em for long enough with nobody using 'em'." As Patricia Mainardi notes, "'The women who made quilts knew and valued what they were doing: frequently quilts were signed and dated by the maker, listed in her will with specific instructions as to who should inherit them, and treated with all the care that a fine piece of art deserves'" (quoted in Showalter 2001). The quilts in Mama's house had been placed in reserve because they held a certain value. That Mama had promised them to Maggie "for when she marries,” as a kind of wedding present or dowry, attests to their recognized value, and this value is being protected precisely in their not being put to everyday use.
Whitsitt, Sam. "In Spite of It All: A Reading of Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use'." African American Review 34.3 (2000): 443. Expanded Academic. Web. 30 Sep. 2011.

3) Dee announces that she is no longer Dee, but "Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo." She has newly adopted an African name since, as she explains: "I couldn't bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me." Many readers point to Dee's proclamation of her new name as the turning point in the story, the point at which Dee pushes her mother too far. They point out that Dee is rejecting her family heritage and identity in this scene. Yet it seems to me that Dee and Mama are both right here. Mama's recounting of the family history of the name is accurate, but what the critics fail to point out is that Dee's assertion that the name comes from "the people who oppress" her is also accurate. While most readers see Mama and Maggie as having a "true" sense of heritage as opposed to Dee's false or shallow understanding of the past, both Mama and Dee are blind to particular aspects of heritage. Dee has much to learn about honoring her particular and individual family history, but Mama has much to learn about the history of African Americans in general, and about fighting oppression. Although each is stubborn, both Dee and Mama do make a concession to the other here. Dee tells Mama that she needn't use the new name if she doesn't want to, while Mama shows her willingness to learn and to use the name.
Farrell, Susan. "Fight vs. Flight: a re-evaluation of Dee in Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use'." Studies in Short Fiction 35.2 (1998): 179+. Expanded Academic. 30 Sep. 2011.

4) Wangero despises her sister, her mother, and the church that helped to educate her. Her quest is ultimately selfish, and Walker focuses the reader's growing dislike for the heroine in her indifference to Maggie. Maggie represents the multitude of black women who must suffer while the occasional lucky "sister" escapes the ghetto. Walker symbolizes this by the burning of the original home and Maggie who lives with the scars of this fire, a conflagration Wangero had welcomed. While Wangero did not set the fire, she delighted in its obliteration of the house that represented everything she sought to escape. This burned house represents a history of violence from slavery to the pervasive inner-city violence of subsequent decades. The fire, that is, is the African American past, is a conflagration from which assorted survivors stumble forward, and covers like Maggie with scars of the body or like Wangero with scars of the soul.
Cowart, David. "Heritage and deracination in Walker's 'Everyday Use.' (Alice Walker)." Studies in Short Fiction 33.2 (1996): 171+. Expanded Academic.. 30 Sep. 2011.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Culture Vulture Weekend!

Museum of Fine Arts 

Celebrations around the World

The Museum opens its doors for a day of celebration with free general admission for all. Enjoy family art-making activities, performances, and tours. Visit and enjoy!
10 am–4:45 pm
Free admission for all

Boston Conservatory of Music presents MuzikoMonda, 11 am and 2 pm, Remis Auditorium
Anikai Dance Theater, 11:30 am and 2:30 pm, Edward H. Linde Gallery 168
DJ Berbere, 2–4 pm, Calderwood Courtyard

2012 Roxbury Open Studios

October 4-7,  2012

All eyes on Roxbury Open Studios! This annual event is an opportunity for Roxbury's visual artists to welcome the public to view and purchase paintings, drawings, sculptures, textiles, jewelry and other studio crafts. The event also provides a means for individual creativity to play its part in the cultural and economic development of Roxbury.

All events are free and open to the public.

From garden builders and growers to services that fight food waste or turn scraps into compost, exhibitors on Oct. 7 at the third annual Boston Local Food Festival will bring to life the so-called virtuous circle of local, sustainable food. For some fun, vendors will fill that circle with goodies, including 3 Scoops ice cream of Brighton, WholeSweets of Londonderry, N.H., offering cookies, Sprouted Raw Foods of Lexington, bringing fruit-and-nut clusters, and New World Hot Sauce of Grafton, offering Sailor’s Swagger, a pineapple hot sauce. The festival this year takes place on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Root Words!

As we look ahead to the PSAT test this month, we need a way to gain even more Vocabulary Power!

For the next three weeks, we will learn Root Words. These cognates of the English language will give you the skills to break down unknown diction into smaller chunks to build an approximate meaning. For students who know French or Spanish, you will recognize many of these Roots as the English language has "borrowed" their vocabularies.

Where are the roots?

For this first Root Word quiz, please study the roots from "a" to "anti"