1. On Wednesday (July 23) I will email you comments on your Invisible Man responses.
2. Read the comments on your Invisible Man responses and complete the following self-reflection. You will post or email your self-reflection by midnight on Sunday, July 27. The goal is to learn from the Invisible Man responses and to show improvement on the Wide Sargasso Sea responses.
Self-Reflection on Invisible Man Responses
I had trouble with
What I like about my responses:
What was most difficult for me:
What I learned from this assignment: What I will do differently on the Wide Sargasso Sea responses:
What I will do differently on the Wide Sargasso Sea responses:
3. Read the following prompts. Email or post (below) one response by midnight Sunday July 27 and the other response by midnight Friday August 1. You choose which response is due on which day.
Choose three passages from Wide Sargasso Sea (one from part one, one from part two, one from part three) in which Jean Rhys uses a literary technique (such as shifting point of view, or a symbolic image, or Biblical allusion, or motif, or any other literary technique) to reveal something about the self.
Then explain how in each passage Rhys uses the literary technique to develop a particular idea about the relationship between the self and what (or who) lies outside the self.
Choose a rich passage from Wide Sargasso Sea and another from Invisible Man in which identity is a significant issue. Read the passages carefully. Then, in a well-written response, compare and contrast the passages, analyzing the treatment of identity in each passage. In other words, compare and contrast both what the passages seem to say about identity and how the authors say it. (Hint: when discussing how think about literary techniques like point of view, characterization, motifs, symbolic imagery, etc.)
4. During Monday's session (7/21) we talked about several things that could help you answer the prompts more effectively...
re: improving responses
* Most of the AP Lit and Comp exam consists of looking closely at textual evidence to make draw inferences and make assertions. In other words make interpretations (assertions and inferences) and back it up (evidence).
* Most of your Invisible Man responses failed to make bold assertions about the text and to support these assertions with inferences based on evidence from the text.
* Here's what we can learn:
* Strong analytical responses include bold, insightful assertions about the text.
* Strong analytical responses include thoughtful inferences (interpretations) that are based upon a close reading of the text and support bold assertions . (Strong analytical responses introduce and interpret directions quotations!)
* Strong analytical responses include specific evidence from the text from which the writer draws inferences that support the bold assertions.
* For example (Mr. Cook's Monday afternoon ideas with support):
Assertion: In Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys uses the motif of name-calling to reveal that Antoinette's identity crisis is the direct result of Colonialism.
Inference #1 (that supports that assertion): Jean Rhys uses Tia's name-calling to show that Antoinette is neither a "real white" nor a native black; she has neither the power of the colonizer nor the sense of belonging held by the colonized.
Evidence #1(upon which the inference is based): Tia tells Antoinette "Real white people, they got money.... Old time white people [i.e. Creole's] nothing but white nigger now, and black nigger better than white nigger" (24). Later, Antoinette tells her husband that English women have reject her family by calling them "white niggers" (102).
Inference #2: Another name used to identity Antoinette reveals that she is of low social standing and is unwelcome in the Caribbean where she was born.
Evidence #2: Antoinette remembers that "one day a little girl followed me singing, 'Go away white cockroach, go away, go away'" (23). The term "cockroach" names her low status and the chant "go away" tells her that she is as unwelcome as any white colonizer. Later Amélie, though a servant, once again reveals Antoinette's lower than European status when she says, "'I hit you back white cockroach, I hit you back'" (100). Amélie then sings "The white cockroach she marry...The white cockroach she buy young man" (101). Antoinette feels the sting of the name; her husband, secure in his English identity, does not understand.
Inference #3: Jean Rhys has Antoinette's husband replace her Creole name with an English one to emphasize that although she is white she is not English, not European, or, as Tia, put it not "real white." Her resistance the English name shows that despite the difficulties in being Creole she is unwilling to reject her native identity, even if the new identity is more privileged. That she eventually succumbs to the English name shows that like she is ultimately controlled by her husband, just as a colony is controlled by the parent country.
Evidence: #4: When Antoinette's husband calls her "Bertha" she answers by saying "not Bertha tonight," but when he insists "on this of all nights, you must be Bertha," she acquiesces: "As you wish" (136).
(Notice that several inferences based on several parts of the text will be needed to support the assertion. Please don't plagiarize my assertions and inferences. However, you could use some of the same evidence to build your own assertions and inferences. But, really, there's so much to write about in a text as rich as WSS.)
To discuss identity and self more insightfully we paired them with other terms: identity and names, identity and race, identity and gender, identity and social class, identity and place, self and submissiveness, self and self-less love, self and nature, self and God, etc. Such pairings could be helpful in responding to the prompts.
re: literary techniques
The following are some of the literary techniques that Rhys seems to employ in relation to identity and self in Wide Sargasso Sea:: point of view (Antoinette, her husband, Daniel); Biblical allusion (snakes, cocks crowing, Eden, Judas); symbolic imagery (the color red, flowers and vegetation, animals especially birds and snakes, fire and candles, etc.), motifs (the supernatural especially obeah, saints, and God; names of people and places; songs; letters); italics; paradoxes and contrasts; and any others you might have noticed.
Email me with questions and ideas.
Our goal is for the Wide Sargasso Sea responses to be better than the Invisible Man responses.
Let's achieve our first goal.