Final Exam drafting


Instructions for the final exam:

  1. identify the title of the text,
  2. identify the author,
  3. identify the speaker/thinker of the passage
  4. Then, in one paragraph, interpret and analyze the passage, calling attention to specific details and words in the passage.
  5. in another paragraph, apply your analysis of the passage to the argument the text as a whole is making.
  6. in another paragraph, compare how a moment/scene/event in another text deals with a similar issue or theme you identified in the argument. Be as specific as possible, including details and paraphrasing that moment since you cannot provide the passage itself.

Like our midterm exam, the final exam will be made collaboratively. Reply to this post with what you think are the most representative passages that you and your classmates will want to write about for the final exam BY END OF DAY TUESDAY. Keep in mind that you just chose a passage for your video presentation–you might post that as your choice for the final exam.

To be determined–so add your thoughts to your comment:

# of quotations on the exam

# of identifications to be completed:

# required for texts read since the midterm:

# required for texts read before the midterm:

should there be any extra credit?

Glossary Write-Up


To reflect back on the glossary entries you’ve completed this semester, to facilitate my finding all of them, and to make it easier for us to share the entire glossary with each other and anyone else interested, please write a post that includes the following information:

  • Give it a title
  • Choose the category Glossary Write-Up
  • In the post, make a list of the 15 or more words that you included in your glossary–just the words in a list.
  • Then hyperlink each word to its glossary entry post.
    • To do this, highlight the word, then click on the link icon–it’s the 10th from the left-hand side.
    • Paste in the address for the post you wrote about that word
    • Click Add Link
  • Then write a one-paragraph reflection about the glossary assignment for the semester. Think about how it affected your reading process.

In making this list, you can go through and review all 15 posts you have made for the glossary. Remember that each word needs to be in its own post, and should do the following, as per the assignment requirements :

  • Include ONLY the word in the subject line of the post
  • In the post, again provide the word and its part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, etc)
  • Include a dictionary definition–and make sure you’re using the most appropriate definition, which might not be the first one
  • Cite the source of your definition or link to it–I recommend Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, although you might need to consult a different kind of dictionary
  • Identify where you encountered the word: specify the specific page of a particular reading, date of the class discussion, title of the handout, blog post URL, etc
  • Quote the passage (or if it’s someone’s speech that you cannot quote directly, paraphrase it carefully)—this might require more than one sentence to convey the meaning of the passage
  • Explain what you understand about the passage now that you understand the word. It is not acceptable to merely write “Now I understand the passage because I understand what this word means.” If you do, you will not get credit for that entry.
  • (optional) include links, images, or other media that help your classmates understand the word or the context
  • Choose the category Glossary in the right sidebar when you write a new post, and the author’s name so we can look at all glossary entries from a given author’s writing.
  • add tags to your post that reflect the topic you wrote about. You might include a tag based on the source of the word, the part of speech, the letter it begins with (this will help alphabetize our glossary), and the number of the glossary entry it is for you to help you keep track.

To edit any of your posts, make sure you’re logged in. There are two different ways to edit it then:

When you’re looking at the post on the site:

  • look at the bottom of the post, next to where you would reply to add a comment.
  • click on the word Edit
  • you’ll go to a screen that’s like what you have to write the post.
  • make your changes
  • after you make the changes you need to make, click Update, which is where Publish used to be

When you’re on the Dashboard, looking at all of the posts:

  • you will notice that when you mouse over a post, you have the option to Edit or Quick Edit any of your own posts.
  • If you choose Edit,
    • you’ll go to a screen that’s like what you have to write the post.
    • make your changes
    • after you make the changes you need to make, click Update, which is where Publish used to be
  • If you choose Quick Edit
    • you can change the title, categories, tags, etc
    • you cannot change the body of the post from here
    • after you make the changes you need to make, click Update on the right.

Glossary Write-Ups are due by Tuesday, May 20th, at 2:30pm



Final reading responses: Cisneros, Boully, Saed


Readings: Sandra Cisneros, “Woman Hollering Creek,” 1991 (1399-1408); Jenny Boully, “A Short Essay on Being,” 2010; Zohra Saed, “What the Scar Revealed” (and the others on that page if you’re interested!)I hope you’re enjoying the final three texts we’re reading this semester. For your final response to them, write a post in which you respond to some aspect of one of these texts. For example:

What function do the telenovelas play in “Woman Hollering Creek”?

Why would Boully’s persona say “thank you” rather than correcting some of her incorrect commenters in her essay, “A Short Essay on Being”? ( a quick note: thanks to one of your classmates, the link to this story is now correct!).

What do the indications of setting (time/place) do for your experience of reading Saed’s poem, “What the Scar Revealed”?

Write a post with the category Homework Responses and the author’s name. Comment on one classmate’s post. If you have more than one idea, write about one and leave the other question or writing prompt at the end of your post for the next person to comment on.

To come shortly: a request for a post summarizing and reflecting on your glossary entries. Details to follow…

If you have questions about your video presentation, due on Friday, feel free to reply to this post to ask in an open forum, or email to ask privately. Remember, you can choose any text we read this semester, from Week One all the way through this week.

Blogging for Thursday: photos and shawls


For Thursday, please read the two story pairings:

Zadie Smith, “Scenes from the Smith Family Christmas” and photograph; Jamaica Kincaid, “Biography of a Dress” (and listen to her read the story)

and Cynthia Ozick, “The Shawl” (932-935) and Louise Erdrich, “The Shawl” (1409-1413)

Then write a post, approximately 300 words or longer, either the photobiography or the object-biography, using the categories Homework Responses and the name of the author or authors you’re imitating or drawing on.:

The Photobiography: imitating the style and themes of Smith or Kincaid, who tell their stories through careful consideration of a photograph from their pasts, write a creative close-reading of an old photograph of yourself. Include the photograph if possible. Tag your post Photobiography.

The Object-biography: considering how both Ozick and Erdrich tell these story with the object of the shawl as an important object, both physically and symbolically, write a creative close-reading about an object of significance to you or your family. Include a photograph of the object if possible. Tag your post Object-biography.

Blogging for Tuesday: Commenting on covers


Now that Project #2 posts are starting to appear, offer your classmates some feedback on their book-cover or image creations. Choose one and reply with a comment, approximately 150 words, even if you haven’t finished your own project! Reviewing what your classmates have achieved might help you finish yours if you haven’t already.

It would be great if when you post, even if you’re linking a file for the written work, to include the image for Part 2 in your post, so that it’s easy to see. It can entice us to click your link to read more about your cover.

As you complete Project #2, I’m sure you’re eagerly reading the excellent stories selected for this week. They’re in two pairs, and I’ll post a homework assignment soon for you to complete for Thursday. We’re moving into our most contemporary literature–enjoy!

An object biography

Green pants



They were green, a kind of olive-khaki. Cotton, or at least some cotton. They had snaps. To put it mildly, I didn’t like them.

As a child, I often wore hand-me-downs. Some from my sister, which was problematic only in that we often got the same articles of clothing, in the same colors even, to dissuade fighting. This meant that I wore mine until it wore out, or I outgrew it, then hers. The same outfit for years. Until our teenage years, when I not-so-secretly coveted certain garments until she tired of them and discarded them into my possession.

The rest came from the children of my parents’ friends, a few years older and with vast, varied wardrobes.



I don’t say that I wore hand-me-downs simply to mark my family’s wealth or lack, or to elicit sympathy, or to conjure a mental picture of me in somewhat tattered, slightly stained, always ill-fitting garments. Hand-me-downs were, with the exception of that occasional multiple-year span problem, a big deal. They would come in big plastic garbage bags, or my parents stored them in big plastic garbage bags, and we would have elaborate try-on sessions that lasted for what was probably hours, but that seemed to stretch out all day. I never had a sense that I shouldn’t want to wear hand-me-downs, that there was anything unpleasant about it, negative, that I should reject it. Instead, these were exciting opportunities, indulgent perhaps, when my mother, my sister, and I would sort the clothes into piles based on what would fit whom, and then my mother would rule as my sister and I tried on the clothes. If something was especially good, we might even go downstairs and show my father, who typically kept his distance during one of these marathons.



I don’t know their provenance, but those green pants, I wouldn’t wear them. I wouldn’t even try them on. In an act of will, I repelled them with all the force of electromagnetism my body could conjure. I don’t know why I chose them as the victim of my stubborn streak then, why I hated—hated—them to the point that I wouldn’t even concede to try them on. I could have, and then been rid of them by saying they didn’t feel right, or that they were itchy. Instead, I stood firm.



I can picture, actually see myself and feel the bodily memory: standing in the closet of my childhood bedroom, looking at them hanging in the section where the pants hung. The green pants.

What possessed me to try those pants on. What inexplicable dynamic of physics changed the flow of my electrons from repulsion to attraction to make me put each foot into a leg of those pants and try them on. What mystery of the universe made them, what force brought them into my life.

They were, bar-none, the softest, most delicious pair of pants a lower half could ever hope for.


That the pants became my favorite article of clothing is an understatement. If I was awake, if I was not naked, if it was not nighttime or early morning when pajamas were the thing to wear, if they were not in the hamper or washing machine or dryer, I was probably wearing my green pants. And why not—they were this great olive-khaki color. They had snaps. At my knees, they could bend. At my hips, they could hug. They wrapped me in the luxurious amenities of cotton or cotton-blend fabric. From the waist to the ankle. An example of irony, or better, a prototype of serendipity.



But the pants and I were not long for each other—quite literally. I began to outgrow the pants, having wasted months resisting them. Friction wore away their promise of a lifetime together. That narrow spectrum of time I wore them, though, was only their initiation into a permanent place in my history.

Hand-me-downs continue, even this far into adulthood, only now they’re not one-directional. My sister and I bemoan offering my mother tee-shirts when she is still wearing them years later, and I occasionally find myself asking her if those sweatpants were mine in freshman year of high school. My sister and I pass back and forth clothing depending on who wears what size when, and I still love the thrill of trying on vast piles of clothing that she has determined no longer fit her or her lifestyle or her closet. Occasionally, there’s something she thinks looks good on me that I just don’t like, and she’ll ask, green pants? Or she’ll admonish, green pants!



Green pants has become part of my family’s vernacular. Its application is far-reaching, beyond mere sartorial refusal. Haven’t taken to a particular television series? Don’t like mustard? Green pants! It’s our way of saying out loud, you should, at the same time as, sotto voce, you might as well, because I know you’ll eventually, and of course, thought with the intent of broadcasting it telepathically, you don’t know it yet, but I know you’ll regret not having done so sooner. Saying green pants is a challenge, an assertion of confidence, and a bragging certainty that borders on I told you so but that leaves open the door for you to get in before regret. Because when I couldn’t wear my green pants anymore, I learned my lesson, that being obstinate can lead to regret, loss, and ill-fitting pants.


If only I had saved those pants, made shorts out of them, cut the crotch and made a skirt, divided them into squares to use as hankies, wove belts from their shredded length, spun a web from individual green-pants fibers. If only I had thought to photograph them, to capture and memorialize my still-growing body enshrouded in the wonderment of green pants, to save that last wearing from oblivion like the fluttering of the last flame. Their shadow, their call, lives on in the mouths of those who condense the story to its moral simply by speaking its title as the most succinct cautionary advisement.


Glossary Write-Up












Even though English isn’t my first language, I don’t have the habit of looking up words in the dictionary. I guess that comes from the fact that I learned English primarily by watching TV and listening to American/European music. I always try to understand a certain sentence by getting the overall meaning of it, but I know that can be tricky and misleading. This exercise of looking up the meaning of certain words opened up my eyes to the fact that, since I’m able to understand most words in everyday-English, I should devote some time into expanding my vocabulary.


Lapis (Lapis Lazuli)

Semiprecious stone valued for its deep-blue colour caused by the presence of the mineral lazurite, which is the source of the pigment ultramarine. Lapis lazuli is not a single mineral but an intergrowth lazurite with calcite, pyroxene, and commonly small grains of pyrite. The most important mines are in Afghanistan and Chile. Much of what is sold as lapis is an artificially dyed jasper from Germany that shows colourless specks of clear, crystallized quartz and never the goldlike flecks of pyrite that are characteristic of lapis lazuli.

Source: Merriam-Webster

“Her lapis doves and tinseled mountains are misplaced and glorified behind plates of glass at museums.”

The word lapis here has the significance of color, but also goes back to the fact that one of the most important mines of this mineral is in Afghanistan, where the main character is from.



1:  an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune
2:  something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects

Source: Merriam-Webster
“In an apartment overlooking a blue-gray street, her mother’s veil hangs on the wall like a talisman.”
From: What the Scar Revealed, by Zohra Saed

The understanding of the word “talisman” is important to get the sense of the mystical that is being conveyed in the story.



1:  threads, strips, or sheets of metal, paper, or plastic used to produce a glittering and sparkling appearance in fabrics, yarns, or decorations
2:  something superficially attractive or glamorous but of little real worth <disfigured by no gaudy tinsel of rhetoric or declamation

Source: Merriam-Webster
“After suckling her mother’s fingers for days in the desert, she throws a tinseled veil up to the sky and catches lapis-colored doves.”
From: What the Scar Revealed, by Zohra Saed

The word “tinseled” brings importance to the object being described, adding depth to the story.



1: a depression in the middle of the abdomen that marks the point of former attachment of the umbilical cord or yolk stalk

2:  the central point:  middle

Source: Merriam-Webster

“A newborn’s navel is the same as any wound.”
“While the night is threaded in gold, the lost city in her navel 
unwinds itself from swirls of skin and slips over this new city like a fog.”

From: What the Scar Revealed, by Zohra Saed
The understanding of word “navel” here is important because it lets the reader get the sense of individuality and the relevance of one’s background.