Prof. Jessica Penner | OL05 | Fall 2020

Mamadou Diallo Water Dancer Critique


Creative Writing

Formal Critique

Reviewer’s Name:  Mamadou Diallo

Title of Piece: The Water Dance

Author’s Name: Ta Nehisi Coates 


The author did really good with the plot of this first chapter. I don’t know how the author continues after this but the chapter itself has a clear beginning, middle, and end. It even does a good job of building up tension, then ending with the tension resolved. 


What happened to the girl who was with the brother when they were in the water? 

Point of View

The point of view in the story was first person, the narrator telling the events as they occurred. I liked the author’s use of this point of view because things like the annoyance the narrator felt at the sound of his brother’s voice would be difficult to show otherwise. 

How would this story look from the brother’s perspective?

Setting & Context

Where exactly is this story taking place?

Voice & Style

The voice and style of this piece was entertaining for me to read. I even found certain parts of it humorous, like when the narrator brings up how his mother was the best dancer and he got none of that ability


There wasn’t really much dialogue in the story but the one time there was, when the narrator’s brother was begging for help, the significance of the dialogue was very clear to me. I liked this limited use of dialogue since it helped put more focus on the actual events occurring. 

Why did the author choose to have so little dialogue?


  1. nickay82

    hello Mamadou, a agree with you that the story would show fewer emotions if it was told from a third-person perspective. I enjoy the story and the way it was told.

  2. Dylan

    Hey Mamadou, I also really liked the voice and style used in this piece. The bit where he says that he inherited none of his mother’s dancing ability amused me, since I find that very relatable.

  3. Marina Malak

    Hi Mamadou,
    I agree with you that the author made the plot very clear and how the point of death by drowning was established during the story.

  4. Parikshit Thapa

    Hi Mamadou,
    I agree with what you said on how the author did really well with the plot of this first chapter. It was really interesting to read and the plot was really descriptive and detailed. The author really knew what he was doing and did a great job.

  5. Adama Barro

    Hello Mamadou, I agreed with your setting,the story was very entertaining, your description is very clear and explicit.
    I wonder what happen to the girl who was with the brother Maynard?

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