Rosa M. Reyes, Ph.D.
Literature is a
noun. One of the Fine Arts. And it has different meanings too…
Encarta Dictionary says that literature is…
with artistic value: written works such as fiction, poetry,
drama, and criticism that are recognized as having important or
permanent artistic value.
It is the
body of written works: the body of written works of a culture,
language, people, or period of time.
Like the Russian
on specific subjects: the body of published work concerned with
a particular subject.
information: printed matter that gives information, in the form
of, for example, brochures or flyers.
literary works: the creation of literary work, especially as an
art or occupation.
happens all around the world, in all countries, among all races,
all languages, all over. That is why we have: English
Literature, American Literature, Literatura Española,
Litterature Francaise, Literatura Italiana, Puertorican
Literature = Literatura Puertorriqueña and many others. But all
literature has the same literary terms. And they are the same
all around the world.
Now, let’s begin with the basic terms that you should know about
– is the art or practice of writing the story of one’s own
A biography or
narrative of one’s life, written by oneself.
– a song or a poem that tells a story in short stanzas and
simple words, with repetition, refrain, etc.: most old ballads
are of unknown authorship and have been handed down orally,
usually with additions and changes.
– the histories of individual lives, considered as a branch of
literature. An account of a person’s life, written or told by
another; life story.
– originally, any play or other literary composition with a
nontragic ending. A word of literature having a theme suitable
for comedy or certain characteristics of comedy.
– a talking together; conversation. A written work in the form
of a conversation.
– a literary composition that tells a story usually of human
conflict, by means of dialogue and action.
forms of the drama are tragedy or comedy; from modifications or
combinations of these result the lyric drama or grand opera,
melodrama, tragicomedy, opera bouffe or comic opera, farce, and
– a short literary composition dealing with a single subject,
usually from a personal point of view and without attempting
– a fictious narrative intended to teach some moral truth or
precept, in which animals and sometimes inanimate objects are
represented as speakers and actors. A story or a legend
invented and developed by imagination or superstition and at one
time generally believed, but now known to be imaginary; a myth.
to conceive in the mind; to imagine.
– the act of inventing, or imagining. Any literary work
portraying imaginary characters and events, as a novel, play,
– a type of literature that has been passed orally from
generation to generation and written down some centuries later.
The authorship of folk literature, which includes epics, fables,
fairy tales and myths, is unknown.
– the quality that makes something seem funny, amusing, or
ludicrous; comicality. In literature, writing whose purpose is
to amuse or to evoke laughter. Humorous writings can be
sympathetic to human nature or can be satirical.
– a story of some wonderful event, handed down for generations
among people and popularly believed to have a historical basis,
although not verifiable: distinguished from myth. A story
handed down from the past, often associated with some period in
the history of a people.
– something unexplained, unknown, or kept secret. Any thing or
event that remains so secret or obscure as to excite curiosity;
as a murder mystery; a novel, story, or play involving such an
event. A work of fiction that contains a puzzling problem or
event not explained until the end, so as to keep the reader in
– a traditional story of unknown authorship, ostensibly with a
historical basis, but serving usually to explain some phenomenom
of nature, the origin of man, or the customs, institutions,
religious rites, etc. of a people; myths usually involve the
exploits of gods and heroes. A myth has less historical
background than a legend.
– the art or practice of relating stories or accounts. It may
be either fictional or true.
– literature about real people and events.
– a relatively long fictional prose narrative with a more or
less complex plot or pattern of events, about human beings,
their feelings, thoughts, actions, etc. A long work of prose
fiction dealing with characters, situations, and settings that
imitate those of real life. A “novelette” is a short novel.
– a type of literature that creates an emotional response by
imaginative use of words patterned to produce a desired effect
through rhythm, sound, and meaning. Poetry may contain rhyme or
– a prose narrative that is shorter than a novel and that
usually describes just one event or a tightly constructed series
– a literary composition written to be given as a public talk.
A speech may be formal or informal in style, and the topic
usually depends on the intended audience.
– a works that takes place in an unreal world and that often
concerns incredible characters. It is a kind of fantasy, that
tends to deal chiefly with events that take place in the future
or on other planets and concerns that cannot currently be
explained by science.
– drama or comedy mixed with lyrics and music specially written
for it. It is the new burlesque show.
An author is a person who produces, creates, or brings into
being. It is one who composes or writes a book. There is a
long list of authors very well known around the world, but in
the English Literature, the most famous one is William
Shakespeare. It is said that a library is complete if it has
“The Bible”, “Don Quixote” and the works of Shakespeare. But
talking about authors we must find out who wrote The Bible.
Many people did it. Don Quixote was written by Don Miguel de
Cervantes Saavedra, a Spaniard who wrote his master piece while
been imprisoned in jail. This book has been translated into all
languages of the world. And William Shakespeare born in
Stratford-upon-Avon, England has all his works translated into
all the languages of the world too. We can say that these two
authors are very well known in the literature field but none of
them ever won a prize for any of their works. Now-a-days, all
writers dream in winning a big prize. And there are many of
them to dream with. Many countries do have literary prizes.
Well known are: Juan Rulfo Award, Príncipe de Asturias Award,
American Literature Award but the most famous are the The
Pulitzer and the Nobel Awards.
Elements of Fiction
The word fiction
means “anything made up or imagined. And the two major types of
fiction are novels and short stories.
is a long work of fiction and a short story is a brief work of
fiction that can be read in one sitting.
CHARACTERS in fiction are the people who take part in the
action of the story. And the events of the story center on the
most important characters. The less important characters are
known as minor characters.
is the main idea that the author wants to share with the
reader. And the reader must find it because the author usually
doesn’t name it clearly.
of a story occur in a particular time and place. This is called
a SETTING. But a story can be set in a realistic or an
imaginary place and can occur in the past, present or future.
When making a movie we have people who are specialists in
“locations” and they are the ones who decides where the action
of the story will take place.
Now, the PLOT
usually confuses with the theme, but it is the chain of related
events that make up a story. It centers on at least one major
problem or conflict.
The plot has
five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action
and the resolution.
EXPOSITION provides the background information that the
reader needs to know. It introduces the characters, describes
the setting and may recap important events that occurred before
the action of the story. The exposition can introduce the
As the story
progresses, the chain of events becomes more complex. The
actions and feelings of the characters intensify as their
problems become more complicated. And this is known as the
RISING ACTION, which creates a desire in the reader to find out
what will happen next.
is when the intensity of the story reaches a peak, the turning
point of the action. It involves an important event, decision,
or a discovery that affects the final outcome.
ACTION describes the results of the major events as the
action winds down.
The final part
of a story tells how the story ends is called the RESOLUTION.
When you begin
reading any literary work, you will look ahead to see what the
title, art, or any other noticeable features tell you about the
selection. So you will preview the story.
As you read the
exposition of the story you will picture in your mind the
descriptions of the characters and setting. Simply look for
specific adjectives that help you imagine how the opening scene
Become an active
reader by making observations and asking questions about the
story. Ask yourself what the central problem or conflict seems
to be. Ask why the characters behave as they do.
you ask yourself about the story can also help you set purposes
for your reading. You can rephrase the questions.
Then, once you
begin to understand the problems the characters face, you can
predict what will happen next. Try to guess what the characters
will do or say in a particular situation.
Try to predict
what will happen in the climax.
As you read, you
will notice that the reasons for certain characters’ actions
become clear. Continue to clarify your understanding of the
story. Reread particular sections of the text to fully
understand what has happened or why.
experience leaves you with thoughts and feelings. When you
finish reading, take a few minutes to reflect on, or think about
your impressions. Ask yourself how you feel about the story’s
events. What is your reaction to the main characters? What
message about life does the story convey to you?
by Gary Soto
Let’s see what
In this true
story, the narrator faces pressure from his family and friends
to marry someone of his own ethnic group and social class.
How important do
you think it is to marry someone from your own background?
would your decision be to your parents or other relatives?
How important is
marrying someone of your own ethnic group?
How important is
marrying someone of your own social class?
description of a kind of person you would like to marry.
person’s personality, interests, and goals as well as his or her
physical appearance and background.
profile “My Perfect Mate.”
gave me bad advice and good advice when I was in my early
teens. For the bad advice, she said that I should become a
barber because they made good money and listened to the radio
all day. “Honey, they don’t work como burros,” she would say
every time I visited her. She made the sound of donkeys
braying. “Like that, honey!” For the good advice, she said that
I should marry a Mexican girl. “No Okies, hijo – she would say
- “Look my son. He marry one, and they fight every day about
I don’t know what.” For her, everyone who wasn’t Mexican,
black, or Asian was an Okie. The French were Okies; the
Italians in suits were Okies. When I asked about Jews, whom I
had read about, she asked for a picture. I rode home on my
bicycle and returned with a calendar depicting the important
races of the world. “Pues si, son Okies también!” she said,
nodding her head.
She waved the
calendar away, and we went to the living room where she lectured
me on the virtues of the Mexican girl: first, she could cook,
and second, she acted like a woman, not a man, in her husband’s
home. She said she would tell me about a third when I got a
I asked my
mother about it – becoming a barber and marrying a Mexican.
She was in the kitchen. Steam curled from a pot of boiling
beans; the radio was on, looking as a squat of a loaf of
bread. “Well, if you want to be a barber – they say they make
good money.” She slapped a round steak with a knife, her
glasses slipping down with each strike. She stopped and looked
up. “If you find a good Mexican girl, marry her of course.”
She returned to slapping the meat, and I went to the backyard,
where my brother and David King were sitting on the lawn….
I ignored them
and climbed the back fence to see my best friend, Scott, a
second-generation Okie. I called him, and his mother pointed to
the side of the house where his bedroom was a small aluminum
trailer, the kind you gawk at when they’re flipped over on the
freeway, wheels spinning in the air. I went around to find
Scott pitching horseshoes.
I pitched up a
set of rusty ones and joined him. While we played, we talked
about school and friends and record albums. The horseshoes
scuffed up dirt, sometimes ringing the iron that threw out a
meager shadow like a sundial. After three argued over games, we
pulled two oranges a piece from his tree and started down the
alley, still talking school and friends and record albums. We
pulled more oranges from the alley and talked about who we would
marry. “No offense, Scott,” I said with an orange lice in my
mouth, “but I would never marry and Okie.” We walked in step,
almost touching, with a sled of shadows dragging behind us.
“No offense, Gary,” Scott said, “but I would never marry a
Mexican.” I looked at him: a fang of orange slice showed from
his munching mouth. I didn’t think anything of it. He had his
girl and I had mine. But our seventh-grade vision was the
same: to marry, get jobs, buy cars and maybe a house if we had
money left over.
We talked about
our future lives until, to our surprise, we were on the downtown
mall, two miles from home. We bought a bag of popcorn at
Penney’s and sat on a bench near the fountain watching Mexican
and Okie girls pass. “That one’s mine,” I pointed with my
chin when a girl with eyebrows arched into black rainbows
ambled by. “She’s cute, “Scott said about a girl with yellow
hair and a mouthful full of gum. We dreamed aloud, our chins
busy pointing out girls. We agreed that we couldn’t wait to
become men and lift them onto our laps.
But the woman I
married was not Mexican but Japanese. It was a surprise to
me. For years, I went about wide-eyed in my search for the
brown girl in a white dress at a dance. I searched the
playground at the baseball diamond. When the girls raced for
grounders, their hair bounced like something that couldn’t be
caught. When they sat together in the lunchroom, heads pressed
together, I knew they were talking about us Mexican guys. I saw
them and dreamed them.
I threw my face
into my pillow, making up sentences that were good as in the
I was in love
and there was no looking back.
But when I was
twenty, I fell in love with this girl who worried my mother, who
had my grandmother asking once a gain to see the calendar of the
important races of the world. I told her I had thrown it away
years before. I took a much-glanced-at snapshot from my
wallet. We looked at it together, in silence. Then grandma
reclined in her chair, lit a cigarette, and said, “Es pretty.”
She blew and asked with all her worry pushed up to her
I was in love
and there was no looking back. She was the one. I told my
mother, who was slapping hamburger into patties, “Well, sure if
you want to marry her,” she said. But the more I talked, the
more concerned she became. Later I began to worry. Was it all
a mistake? “Marry a Mexican girl,” I heard my mother say in
my mind, I heard it at breakfast. I heard it over math
problems, between Western civilization and cultural geography.
But then one afternoon while I was hitchhiking home from
school, it struck me like a baseball in the back: my mother
wanted me to marry someone of my own social class – a poor
girl. I considered my fiancée, Carolyn, and she didn’t look
poor, though I knew she came from a family of farm workers and
pull-yourself-up-be-your-bootstraps ranchers. I asked my
brother, who was marrying a Mexican poor that fall, if I should
marry a poor girl. He screamed, “Yeah,” above his terrible
guitar playing in his bedroom. I considered my sister who had
married Mexican. Cousins were dating Mexican. Uncles were
remarrying poor women. I asked Scott, who was still my best
friend, and he said, “She’s too good for you, so you better
I worried about
it until Carolyn took me home to meet her parents. We drove in
her Plymouth until the houses gave way to farms and ranches
and finally her house fifty feet from the highway. When we
pulled into the drive, I panicked and begged Carolyn to make a
U-turn and go back so we could talk about it over a soda. She
pinched my cheek, calling me a “silly boy.” I felt better,
though, when I got out of the car and saw the house: the
chipped paint, a cracked window, boards for a walk to the back
rusting cars near the barn. A tractor with a net of spiderwebs
under a mulberry. A field. A bale of barbed wire like
children’s scribbling leaning against an empty chicken coop.
Carolyn took my hand and pulled me to my future mother-in-law,
who was coming out to greet us.
We had lunch:
sandwiches, potato chips, and ice tea. Carolyn and her mother
talked mostly about neighbors and the congregation at the
Japanese Methodist Church in West Fresno. Her father, who was
in khaki work clothes, excused himself with a wave that was
almost a salute and went outside. I heard a truck start, a
dog bark, and then the truck rattle away.
offered another sandwich, but I declined with a shake of my
head and a smile. I looked around when I could, when I was
not saying over and over that I was a college student, hinting
that I could take care of her daughter. I shifted my chair. I
saw newspapers piled in corners, dusty cereal boxes and vinegar
bottles in corners. The wallpaper was bubbled from rain that
had come in from a bad roof. Dust. Dust lay on lamp shades and
window sills. These people are just like Mexicans, I thought.
asked me through Carolyn if I would like a sushi. A plate of
black and white things was held in front of me. I took one,
wide-eyed, and turned it over like a foreign coin. I was biting
into one when I saw a kitten crawl up the window screen over
the sink. I chewed, and the kitten opened his mouth of terror
as she crawled higher, wanting into paw the leftovers from our
plates. I looked at Carolyn, who said that the cat was just
showing off. I looked up in time to see it fall. It crawled
up, then fell again.
We talked for an
hour and had apple pie and coffee, slowly. Finally, we got up,
with Carolyn taking my hand. Slightly embarrassed, I tried to
pull away, but her grip held me. I let her have her way as she
led me down the hallway with her mother right behind me. When I
opened the door, I was startled by a kitten clinging to the
screen door, it’s mouth screaming “cat food”, dog biscuits,
sushi…” I opened the door, and the kitten, still holding on,
whined in the language of hungry animals. When I got into
Carolyn’s car, I looked back: the cat was still clinging. I
asked Carolyn if it was possibly hungry, but she said the cat
was being silly. She started the car, waved to their mother,
and bounced us over the rain poked drive, patting my thigh for
being her lover baby. Carolyn waved again. I looked back,
waving, then gawking at a window screen where there were now
three kittens clawing and screaming to get in. Like Mexicans, I
thought. I remembered the Molinas and how the cats clung to
their screens---cats they shot down with squirt guns. On the
highway, I felt happy, pleased by it all. I patted Carolyn’s
thigh. Her people were like Mexicans, only different.
Name all the
characters in the story and describe them.
setting of the story and explain if it is the right one for the
characters and the plot.
narrator’s decision to marry Carolyn “the right choice?”
Write down your
thoughts about it.
What do you think
about the grandmother’s advice that Soto should marry a Mexican
To give your
opinion about this question think about…
your decision on
the importance of marrying in your social class.
what you wrote in
your profile of the perfect mate.
grandmother says about people who marry Okies.
reacts to her advice.
think that any of the characters in this selection are
prejudiced against other groups?
Why does Soto
ask so many people for advice on whom to marry?
Why does Soto say
that Carolyn’s relatives are just “like Mexicans”?
To answer this
question think about…
associates with being Mexican.
what he expects
to find at Carolyn’s farm.
8. The way a
writer tells a story is called the ‘point of view”. The
narrator in ”Like Mexicans” tells the story from the first
person point of view to show the narrator’s thoughts and
reactions. Could any other character have written about this
experience as effectively as Soto has? EXPLAIN.
9. Soto asks a lot
of people for advice before making his decision to marry
Carolyn. Write a letter he might have sent to a newspaper
advice columnist. The write the columnist’s advice to Soto.
10. What if Carolyn’s
house had been a mansion, complete with servants, immaculate and
richly decorated rooms, and elegant and sophisticated parents.
Would Soto have made the same decision? Explain your answer.
THE OPEN WINDOW
“A person might
think Mr. Nuttel had just seen a ghost, so quickly did he run
out the front gate.”
My aunt will be
down presently, Mr. Nuttel,” said a very self-possessed young
lady of fifteen; “in the meantime you must try and put up with
endeavoured to say the correct something which should duly
flatter the niece of the moment without unduly discounting the
aunt that was to come. Privately he doubted more than ever
whether these formal visits on a succession of total strangers
would do much toward helping the nerve cure which he was
supposed to be undergoing.
“I know how it
will be,” his sister had said when he was preparing to migrate
to this rural retreat; “you will bury yourself down there and
not speak to a living soul, and your nerves will be worse than
ever from moping. I shall just give you letters of introduction
to all the people I know there. Some of them, as far as I can
remember, were quite nice.”
whether Mrs. Sappleton, the lady to whom he was presenting one
of the letters of introduction, came into the nice division.
“Do you know
many people around here?” asked the niece, when she judged that
they had had sufficient silent communion.
“Hardly a soul,”
said Framton. “My sister was staying here, at the rectory, you
know, some four years ago, and she gave me letters of
introduction to some of the people here.”
He made the last
statement in a tone of distinct regret.
“Then you know
practically nothing about my aunt?” pursued the self-possessed
“Only her name
and address,” admitted the caller. He was wondering whether
Mrs. Sappleton was in the married or widowed state. An
indefinable something about the room seemed to suggest masculine
tragedy happened just three years ago,” said the child; “that
would be since your sister’s time.”
asked Framton; somehow in this restful country spot tragedies
seemed out of place.
“You may wonder
why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon,” said
the niece, indicating a large French window that opened on to a
“It is quite
warm for the time of the year,” said Framton; “but has that
window got anything to do with the tragedy?”
that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two
young brothers went off for their day’s shooting. They never
came back. In crossing the moor to their favorite
snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a
treacherous piece of fog. It had been that dreadful wet
summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave
way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never
recovered. That was the dreadful part of it.” Here the child’s
voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly
human. “Poor aunt always thinks hat they will come back some
day, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with
them, and walked in at that window just as they used to do.
That is why the window is kept opened every evening till it is
quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went
out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm,
and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing, “Bertie, why do you
bound?” as he always did to tease her, because she said it got
on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings
like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk
in through that window-“
She broke off
with a little shudder. It was a relief to Framton when the
aunt bustled into the room with a whirl of apologies for being
late in making her appearance.
“I hope Vera has
been amusing you?” she said. “She has been very interesting,”
said Framton. “I hope you don’t mind the open window,” said
Mrs. Sappleton briskly; “my husband and brothers will be home
directly from shooting, and they always come in this way.
They’ve been out for snipe in the marshes today, so they’ll make
a fine mess over my poor carpets. So like you menfold, isn’t
She rattled on
cheerfully about shooting and scarcity of birds, and the
prospects for duck in the winter. To Framton it was all purely
horrible. He made a desperate but only partially successful
effort to turn the talk on to a less ghastly topic; he was
conscious that his hostess was giving him only a fragment of her
attention, and her eyes were constantly straying past him to
the open window and the lawn beyond. It was certainly and
unfortunate coincidence that he should have paid his visit on
this tragic anniversary.
agree in ordering me complete rest, an absence of mental
excitement, and avoidance of anything in the nature of violent
physical exercise,” announced Framton, who laboured under the
tolerably wide-spread delusion that total strangers and chance
acquaintances are hungry for the least detail of one’s ailments
and infirmities, their cause and cure. “On the matter of diet
the yare not so much agreement,” he continued.
“No?” said Mrs.
Sappleton, in a voice which only replaced a yawn at the last
moment. Then she suddenly brightened into alert attention-but
not to what Framton was saying.
“Here they are
at last!” she cried. “Just in time for tea, and don’t they look
as if they were muddy up to the eyes!”
slightly and turned towards the niece with a look intended to
convey sympathetic comprehension. The child was staring out
through the open window with dazed horror in her eyes. In a
chill shock of nameless fear Framton swung in his seat and
looked in the same direction.
In the deeping
twilight three figures were walking across the lawn towards the
window; they all carried guns under their arms, and one of them
was additionally burdened with a white coat hung over his
shoulders. A tired brown spaniel kept close at their heels.
Noiselessly they neared the house, and then a hoarse young voice
chanted out of the dusk: “I said, Bertie, why do you bound?”
wildly at his stick and hat; the hall-door, the gravel-drive,
and the front gate were dimly noted stages in his headlong
retreat. A cyclist coming along the road had to run into the
hedge to avoid imminent collision.
“Here we are, my
dear,” said the bearer of the white mackintosh, coming in
through the window; “fairly muddy, but most of it’s dry. Who
was that who bolted out as we came up?”
extraordinary man, a Mr. Nuttel,” said Mrs. Sappleton; “could
only talk about his illness, and dashed off without a word of
goodbye or apology when you arrived. One would think he had
seen a ghost.”
“I expect it was
the spaniel,” said the niece calmly; “he told me he had a horror
of dogs. He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the
banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend
the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and
grinning and foaming just above him. Enough to make any one
lose their nerve.”
Romance at short
notice was her specialty.
Explain why Mr.
Nuttel has moved to the countryside.
Why did Framton’s
sister give him “letters of introduction” to persons she knew
when she lived in the area?
Vera, her aunt is still in shock from what tragedy?
Why is the large
French window leading to the lawn wide open?
How does Framton
interpret Mrs. Sappleton’s talk about her husband and brothers
coming home soon from hunting?
Why does Framton
“bolt” out the hall door at the sight and sounds of the
Sappleton’s reaction to Framton’s sudden departure.
What is the
meaning of the last line of the story?
When is Vera’s
second romance and how does it let the reader know the truth
about Vera before the last line is read?
the story. How does Saki’s characterization of Vera fool the
Are there any clues to Vera’s true nature?
is the ordinary language of men in speaking or writing. It is a
literary medium distinguished from poetry especially by its
greater irregularity and variety of rhythm and its closer
correspondence to the patterns of everyday speech.
REFLECTIONS OF A SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD
Sylvia Plath was
born in Boston and completed her education at Cambridge
University in England. She wrote collections of poetry and a
novel, “The Bell Jar.” A prolific writer, she kept many
journals. Plath took her own life at the age of thirty one.
Seventeen-year-old Sylvia Plath, who was to become a noted
American poet, records her turbulent feelings in this entry from
As of today I
have decided to keep a diary again – just a place where I can
write my thoughts and opinions when I have a moment. Somehow I
have to keep and hold the rapture of being seventeen. Every day
is so precious I feel infinitely sad at the thought of all this
time melting farther and farther away from me as I grow older.
Now, now is the perfect time of my life.
back upon these last sixteen years, I can see tragedies and
happiness, all relative – all unimportant now – fit only to
smile upon a bit mistily.
I still do not
know myself. Perhaps I never will. But I feel free – unbound
by responsibility, I still can come up to my own private room,
with my drawings hanging on the walls. . . and pictures pinned
up over my bureau. It is a room suited to me – tailored,
uncluttered and peaceful . . . I love the quiet lines of the
furniture, the two bookcases filled with poetry books and fairy
tales saved from childhood.
At the present
moment I am very happy, sitting at my desk, looking out at the
bare trees around the house across the street . . . Always I
want to be an observer. I want to be affected by life deeply,
but never so blinded that I cannot see my share of existence in
a wry, humorous light and mock myself as I mock others.
I am afraid of
getting older. I am afraid of getting married. Spare me from
cooking three meals a day – spare me from the relentless cage of
routine and rote. I want to be free – free to know people and
their backgrounds – free to move to different parts of the
world, so I may learn that there are other morals and standards
besides my own. I want, I think, to be omniscient . . . I think
I would like to call myself “The girl who wanted to be God.”
Yet if I were not in this body, where would I be? Perhaps I am
destined to be classified and qualified. But, oh, I cry out
against it. I am – I am powerful – but to what extent? I am
Sometimes I try
to put myself in another’s place, and I am frightened when I
find I am almost succeeding. How awful to be anyone but I. I
have a terrible egotism. I love my flesh, my face, my limbs,
with overwhelming devotion. I know that I am “too tall” and
have a fat nose, and yet I pose and prink before the mirror,
seeing more and more how lively I am . . . . I have erected in
my mind an image of myself – idealistic and beautiful. Is not
that image, free from blemish, the true self – the true
perfection? Am I wrong when this image insinuates itself
between me and the merciless mirror? (Oh, even now I glance
back on what I have just written – how foolish it sounds, how
never will I reach the perfection I long for with all my soul –
my paintings, my poems, my stories – all poor, poor reflections
. . . for I have been too thoroughly conditioned to the
conventional surroundings of this community … my vanity desires
luxuries which I can never have . .
I am continually
more aware of the power which change plays in my life. . . .
There will come a time when I must face myself at last. Even
now I dread the big choices which loom up in my life – what
college? What career? I am afraid. I feel uncertain. What is
best for me? What do I want? I do not know. I love freedom.
I deplore constrictions and limitations. . . . I am not as wise
as I have thought. I can see, as from a valley, the roads
lying open for me, but I cannot see the end - the
Oh, I love now,
with all my fears and forebodings, for now I still am not
completely molded. My life is still just beginning. I am
strong. I long for a cause to devote my energies too. . . .
Think and discussion . .
What was Sylvia’s
purpose in keeping a diary again?
Sylvia, what is the perfect time of her life?
As Sylvia sits
at her desk, what does she say she always wants to be?
that suggests Sylvia was happy, fearful, and vain.
makes a number of comments about being free of desiring
freedom seem to mean to her?
Write about freedom…
Assume that you
have a pen pal same age who comes from a country where the
people have less freedom than you do. Write a three or
four-paragraph letter in which you describe individual freedoms
you have experienced.
HAVE A DREAM. . .
Martin Luther King, Jr.
A clergyman and
civil rights leader, Dr. King was born in Atlanta in 1929 and
educated at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and
Boston University. He achieved national prominence in 1955
when he led a nonviolent boycott of a bus line in Montgomery,
Alabama. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference and, in recognition of these efforts in defense of
the rights of blacks in the United States, he was awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. While planning a Poor People’s
March on the nation’s capital in 19968, he was assassinated in
On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr. addressed over
200,000 people who had marched on Washington, D.C. for “Jobs and
Five score years
ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed
the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a
great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had
been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a
joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred
years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is
still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro
is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the
chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro
lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean
of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is
still languished in the corners of American Society and finds
himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to
dramatize an appalling condition.
In a sense we
have come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the
architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the
of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which
every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that
all men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious
today that America has defaulted on this promissory note in so
far as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring
this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad
check; a check which has come back marked “insufficient
funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is
bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient
funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
So we have come
to cash this check – a check that will give us upon demand the
riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also
come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce
urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of
cooling off or to take the tranquillizing drug of gradualism.
Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy. Now is
the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of
segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the
time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children.
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial
injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be
fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and
to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This
sweltering summer of the negro’s legitimate discontent will
not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and
equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a
beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off
steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the
nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest
nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his
citizenship rights. The whirlwinds off revolt will continue to
shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of
But there is
something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm
threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the
process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of
wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for
freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We
must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity
and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to
degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise
to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul
force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro
community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people,
for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence
here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up
with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our
We cannot walk
And as we walk,
we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot
turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil
rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied
as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of
We can never be
satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of
travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and
the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the
Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger
one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in
Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has
nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied, and we
will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and
righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not
unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials
and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail
cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for
freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and
staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the
veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith
that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to
Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go
back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and
ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this
situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the
valley of despair.
I say to you
today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and
frustrations of the moment I still have a dream. It is a dream
deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream
that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be
self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream
that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former
slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit
down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream
that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state
sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be
transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream
that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judge by the color of their skin but by
the content of their character.
I have a dream
I have a dream
that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are
presently dripping with the words of interposition and
nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little
black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with
little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters
I have a dream.
I have a dream
that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and
mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made
plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the
glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it
This is our
hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With
this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of
despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to
transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful
symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to
work together, to go to jail together, to pray together, to
stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one
This will be
the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new
‘tis of thee,
thee I sing:
my fathers died,
Land of the
And if America
is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom
ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom
ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring
from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring
from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring
from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only
that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring
from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every
mountain side, let freedom ring.
When we let
freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every
hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to
speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and
white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be
able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro
spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we
are free at last!
What is the
“tragic fact” to which Dr. King alludes?
the “great American” to whom Dr. King refers in the first
proclamation did he signed?
If black people
were legally emancipated one hundred years before Dr. King
spoke, why then does he call for action?
King speaks of
“meeting physical force with soul force” and of “creative
suffering.” What do you think he means by these terms? How
might these be used to attain his dream?
Dr. King states
that the marchers have come to Washington, D.C. to “cash a
check.” In your own words, explain the meaning of this
statement. Do you think this metaphor is well chose? Why or
Which is the
dream of Dr. King?
agree with his dream?
have a dream like Dr. King?
Assume that you
have a sister or brother younger than you. She/he observes you
reading “I Have a Dream…” and asks you to tell her/him what it
is about. Summarize the selection in language appropriate to
your audience and your purpose so that she/he can understand you
and Dr. King.
Do you think that
the Puerto Ricans should have a dream too? Which one would it
be and defend your hypothesis.
is a special way of using a language. The poets present ideas,
feelings and even stories. They do use sound and rhythm to
emphasize their ideas and appeal to the emotions of the
readers. It is said that poetry creates experiences to be
enjoyed and remembered. This is why we do know by heart some
poems that we never forget.
To understand poetry we must study some terms that will help us
to enjoy the poems.
written in lines. The lines are grouped together in stanzas
instead of paragraphs. Sometimes the poet uses the lengths of
lines and the placements of words to create a shape on the
page. The shape can add meaning or emphasis.
on the sounds as well as the meanings of words. The sound of a
word can help create feeling and reinforce meaning. It can also
give a musical quality to a work.
There are some techniques that poets use to create different
repetition of a consonant sound at the beginnings of words:
and let live
repetition of a vowel sound within words.
and shine, down and out.
Is the use of
words that imitate sounds.
creak, clunk, quack
repetition of sounds at the end of words as in trod and plot.
Rhyming words usually come at the ends of lines of poetry.
In a poem refers
to the pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in a line.
Some poems have a steady, regular rhythm or beat.
In other poems,
the rhythm resembles the patterns of everyday speech. This type
of rhythm is called free verse.
Are the words that poets choose to help the readers to see,
hear, feel, taste and smell the things being described.
Is the one that
describes things in a fresh new way. Poets often use figurative
language to create word pictures. They include the following
dissimilar things by using “like” or as”.
Is a direct
comparison of unlike things. The words “like” or “as” are not
used in the comparison.
courage was a small coal that you kept swallowing.
Is another type
of comparison. It gives human qualities to an object, animal or
basketball…”A hook shot kisses the rim and hangs there,
helplessly, but doesn’t drop.
poetry, do the following to understand it easier.
Read the poem
aloud. Listen carefully in order to enjoy the sounds and rhythm
of the words. Pay attention to the punctuation. Read to a
period, comma, or question mark rather than stopping at the end
of each line.
Close your eyes
and try to visualize any images in the poem.
source of the voice you hear in the poem. Is the speaker a
person, an animal or an object? Is the speaker male or female,
young or old, rich or poor? Does the speaker sound happy or
sad, silly or serious?
Think about the
words the poet has chosen. Remember always that in poetry every
word is important; every word counts.
What is the theme
(the message) of the poem. What did you learn from it.
Paraphrase, or put in your own words the meaning or purpose of
how the poem makes you feel.
Luis Palés Matos
Luis Palés Matos
(1898-1959) is considered one of the greatest poets Puerto Rico
has ever produced. His description in”Hurricane” gives you the
feeling of being part of the event
fierce accordion of winds,
tip of its toes,
dancer, it sweeps whirling
carpeted surface of the sea
scattered branches of the palm.
To what does the
poet compare the winds of the hurricane?.
poem make a hurricane seem frightening?
Why or why not?
ever lived the experience of having a hurricane passing by
your home, your country, your island?
Is there any
metaphor or simile in this poem? Show it and explain it.
Do you know any
other poem written by Luis Palés Matos? If yes, give the title
and say the theme of it.
This is the
literature about real people. And we must understand that the
world is made up with real people. But not everybody is the
same. Some has handicaps, some others have lived different
experiences and so on. This shows that even though we are all
different from each other, we are important, we do have he same
opportunities and that we can succeed in whatever we want if we
work for it. This is the case of Christy Brown.
was born in 1932 in Dublin, Ireland. And he was born with
cerebral palsy. This is a medical condition caused by disease
or injury to a baby’s brain before or during birth or in early
infancy. Cerebral palsy’s major symptom is a lack of muscle
control. In some cases the condition is mild and barely
noticeable, but in others there may be constant jerking motions,
an inability to walk or use the hands and arms, and great
difficulty in speaking. Cerebral palsy may also damage sight,
hearing, and intelligence, though many people with the condition
have average or above –average intelligence. No cure exists for
cerebral palsy, but physical therapists can teach patients to
move with greater ease.
raised in a slum as one of twenty-two children. He was unable
to walk or talk and needed help to eat and drink. With the help
of his family, he learned to read and write. Using just his
left little toe, he typed a novel over a period of fifteen
years. Brown developed into a poet and artist as well as the
author of seven published books. He has been ranked with the
outstanding writers of his generation. Christy died in 1981.
MY LEFT FOOT
I was born in
the Rotunda Hospital on June 5th, 1932. There were
nine children before me and twelve after me, so I myself belong
to the middle group. Out of this total of twenty two,
seventeen lived, but four died in infancy, leaving thirteen
still to hold the family fort.
Mine was a
difficult birth, I am told. Both mother and son almost died. A
whole army of relations queued outside the hospital until the
small hours of the morning, waiting for news and praying
furiously that it would be good.
After my birth,
Mother was sent to recuperate for some weeks, and I was kept in
the hospital while she was away. I remained there for some
time, without name, for I wasn’t baptized until my mother was
well enough to bring me to church.
It was Mother
who first saw that there was something wrong with me. I was
about four months old at the time. She noticed that my head had
a habit of falling backward whenever she tried to feed me. She
attempted to correct this by placing her hand on the back of my
neck to keep it steady. But when she took it away, back it
would drop again. That was the first warning sign. Then she
became aware of other defects as I got older. She saw that my
hands were clenched nearly all the time and were inclined to
twine behind my back., my mouth couldn’t grasp the teat of the
bottle because even at that early age my jaws would either lock
together tightly, so that it was impossible for her to open them
, or they would suddenly become limp and fall loose, dragging my
whole mouth to one side. At six months I could not sit up
without having a mountain of pillows around me. At twelve
months it was the same.
Very worried by
this, Mother told my father her fears, and they decided to seek
medical advice without any further delay. I was a little over a
year old when they began to take me to hospitals and clinics,
convinced that there was something definitely wrong with me,
something which they could not understand or name, but which was
very real and disturbing.
doctor who saw and examined me labeled me a very interesting but
also a hopeless case. Many told Mother very gently that I was
mentally defective and would remain so. That was a hard blow to
a young mother who had already reared five healthy children.
The doctors were so very sure of themselves that Mother’s faith
in me seemed almost an impertinence. They assured her that
nothing could be done for me.
She refused to
accept this truth, the inevitable truth – as it then seemed –
that I was beyond cure, beyond saving, even beyond hope. She
could not and would not believe that I was an imbecile, as the
doctors told her. She had nothing in the world to go by, not a
scrap of evidence to support her conviction that, though my
body was crippled, my mind was not. In spite of all the doctors
and specialists told her, she would not agree. I don’t believe
she knew why – she just knew, without feeling the smallest shade
Finding that the
doctors could not help in any way beyond telling her not to
place her trust in me, or, in other words, to forget I was a
human creature, rather to regard me as just something to be fed
and washed and then put away again, Mother decided there and
then to take matters into her own hands. I was her child, and
therefore part of the family. No matter how dull and incapable
I might grow up to be, she was determined to treat me on the
same plane as the others, and not as the ‘queer one’ in the back
room who was never spoken of when there were visitors present.
That was a
momentous decision as far as my future life was concerned. It
meant that I would always have my mother on my side to help me
fight all the battles that were to come, and to inspire me with
new strength when I was almost beaten. But it wasn’t easy for
her because now the relatives and friends had decided
otherwise. They contended that I should be taken kindly,
sympathetically, but not seriously. That would be a mistake.
“For your own sake,” they told her, “don’t look to this boy as
you would to the others; it would only break your heart in the
end.” Luckily for me, Mother and Father held out against the
lot of them. But Mother wasn’t content just to say that I was
not an idiot: she set out to prove it, not because of any
rigid sense of duty, but out of love. That is why she was so
At this time she
had the five other children to look after besides the “difficult
one,” though as yet it was not by any means a full house. They
were my brothers, Jim, Tony, and Paddy, and my two sisters, Lily
and Mona, all of them very young, just a year or so between each
of them, so that they were almost exactly like steps of stairs.
rolled by, and I was now five, and still as helpless as a newly
born baby. While my father was out at bricklaying, earning our
bread and butter for us, Mother was slowly, patiently pulling
down the wall, brick by brick, that seemed to thrust itself
between me and the other children, slowly, patiently penetrating
beyond the thick curtain that hung over my mind, separating it
from theirs. It was hard, heart-breaking work, for often all
she got from me in return was a vague smile and perhaps a faint
gurgle. I could not speak or even mumble, nor could I sit up
without support on my own, let alone take steps. But I wasn’t
inert or motionless.
indeed, to be convulsed with movement, wild, stiff, snakelike
movement that never left me, except in sleep. My fingers
twisted and twitched continually, my arms twined backwards and
would often shoot out suddenly this was and that, and my head
lolled and sagged sideways. I was a queer, crooked little
Mother tells me
how one day she had been sitting with me for hours in an
upstairs room, showing me pictures out of a great big storybook
that I had got from Santa Claus last Christmas and telling me
the names of different animals and flowers that were in them,
trying without success that were in them. This had gone on
for hours while she talked and laughed with me. Then at the
end of it she leaned over me and said gently into my ear:
“Did you like
it, Chris? Did you like the bears and the monkeys and all the
Nod your head
for yes, like a good boy.”
But I could make
no sign that I had understood her. Her face was bent over mine
involuntarily, my queer hand reached up and grasped
one of the dark
curls that fell in a thick cluster about her neck. Gently she
loosened the clenched fingers, though some dark strands were
still clutched between them.
Then she turned
away from my curious stare and left the room, crying. The door
closed behind her. It all seemed hopeless. It looked as
though there was some justification for my relatives’ contention
that I was an idiot and beyond help.
The now spoke of
“Never!” said my
mother almost fiercely, when this was suggested to her. “I know
my boy is not an idiot. It is his body that is shattered, not
his mind. I’m sure of that.
inwardly, she prayed God would give her some proof of her
faith. She knew it was one thing to believe but quite another
thing to prove.
I was now five,
and still I showed no real sign of intelligence. I showed no
apparent interest in things except with my toes --- more
especially those of my left foot. Although my natural habits
were clean, I could not aid myself, but in this respect my
father took care of me. I used to lie on my back all the time
in the kitchen or, on bright warm days, out in the garden, a
little bundle of crooked muscles and twisted nerves, surrounded
by a family that loved me and hoped for me and that made me
part of their own warmth and humanity.
I was lonely,
imprisoned in a world of my own, unable to communicate with
others, cut off separated from them as though a glass wall stood
between my existence and theirs, thrusting me beyond the sphere
of their lives and activities. I longed to run about and play
with the rest, but I was unable to break loose from my bondage.
it happened! In a moment everything was changed, my future life
molded into a definite shape, my mother’s faith in me rewarded
and her secret fear changed into open triumph..
It happened so
quickly, so simply after all the years of waiting and
uncertainty, that I can see and feel the whole scene as if it
had happened last week. It was the afternoon of a cold gray
December day. The streets outside glistened with snow, the
white sparkling flakes stuck and melted on the window panes and
hung on the boughs of the trees like molten silver. The wind
howled dismally, whipping up little whirling columns of snow
that rose and fell at every fresh gust. And over all, the dull,
murky sky stretched like a dark canopy, a vast infinity of
grayness. Inside, all the family were gathered round the big
kitchen fire that lit up the little room with a warm glow and
made giant shadows dance on the walls and ceiling.
In a corner Mona
and Paddy were sitting, huddled together, a few torn school
primers before them. They were writing down little sums onto an
old chipped slate, using a bright piece of yellow chalk. I was
close to them, propped up by a few pillows against the wall,
It was the chalk
that attracted me so much. It was a long, slender stick of
vivid yellow. I had never seen anything like it before, and it
showed up so well against the black surface of the slate that I
was fascinated by it as much as if it had been a stick of gold.
wanted desperately to do what my sister was doing. Then ---
without thinking or knowing exactly what I was doing, I reached
out and took the stick of chalk out of my sister’s hand ---
with my left foot.
I do not know
why I used my left foot to do this. It is a puzzle to many
people as well as to myself, for, although I had displayed a
curious interest in my toes at an early age, I had never
attempted before this to use either of my feet in any way. They
could have been as useless to me as were my hands. That day,
however, my left foot, apparently by its own volition, reached
out and very impolitely took the chalk out of my sister’s hand.
I held it
tightly between my toes, and, acting on an impulse, made a wild
sort of scribble with it on the slate. Next moment I stopped, a
bit dazed, surprised, looking down at the stick of yellow chalk
stuck between my toe, not knowing what to do with it next,
hardly knowing how it got there. Then I looked up and became
aware that everyone had stopped talking and was staring at me
silently. Nobody stirred. Mona, her black curls framing her
chubby little face, stared at me with great big eyes and open
mouth. Across the open heart
, his face lit
by flames, sat my father, leaning forward, hands outspread on
his knees, his shoulders tense. I felt the sweat out on my
My mother came
in from the pantry with a steaming pot in her hand. She
stopped midway between the table and the fire, feeling the
tension flowing through the room. She followed their stare and
saw me in the corner. Her eyes looked from my face down to my
foot, with the chalk gripped between my toes. She put down the
Then she crossed
over to me and knelt down beside me, as she had done so many
“I’ll show you
what to do with it, Chris,” she said, very slowly and in a
queer, choked way, her face flushed as if with some inner
“Copy that,” she
said, looking steadily at me. “Copy it, Christy.”I couldn’t.
I looked about
me, looked around at the faces that were turned toward me,
tense, excited faces that were at that moment frozen, immobile,
eager, waiting for a miracle in their midst.
was profound. The room was full of flame and shadow that danced
before my eyes and lulled my taut nerves into a sort of waking
sleep. I could hear the sound of the water tap dripping in the
pantry, the loud ticking of the clock on the mantelshelf, and
the soft hiss and crackle of the logs on the open hearth.
I tried again.
I put out my foot and made a wild jerking stab with the chalk
which produced a very crooked line and nothing more. Mother
held the slate steady for me.
Chris,” she whispered in my ear.
I did. I
stiffened my body and put my left foot out again, for the
third time. I drew one side of the letter. I drew half the
other side. Then the stick of chalk broke and I was left with
a stump. I wanted to fling it away and give up. Then I felt my
mother’s hand on my shoulder. I tried once more. Out went my
foot. I shook, I sweated and strained every muscle. My hands
were so tightly clenched that my fingernails bit into the
flesh. I set my teeth so hard that I nearly pierced my lower
lip. Everything in the room swam till the faces around me were
mere patches of white. But --- I drew it --- the letter “A”.
There it was on the floor before me. Shaky, with awkward,
wobbly sides and a very uneven center line. But it was the
letter “A.” I looked up. I saw my mother’s face for a moment,
tears on her cheeks. Then my father stooped and hoisted me on
to his shoulder.
I had done it!
It had started --- the thing that was to give my mind its chance
of expressing itself. True, I couldn’t speak with my lips. But
now I would speak through something more lasting than spoken
words --- written words.
That one letter,
scrawled on the floor with a broken bit of yellow chalk gripped
between my toes, was my road to a new world, my key to mental
freedom. It was to provide a source of relaxation to the tense,
taut thing that was I, which panted for expression behind a
several words that express you feelings as Christy slowly draws
the letter “A”.
What do you think
of Christy Brown’s mother?
Why is writing
the letter “A” such a momentous event in Christy Brown’s life?
What do you think
Christy Brown’s purpose was in writing this account of his life?
Write a speech to
nominate Christy’s mother for “Mother of the Year.”
You know the
first letter Christy wrote. If you were Christy, what would
your first sentence be? Write the sentence; then explain why
this would be your first message.
Explain the theme
of “My Left Foot.”
characters in the story and explain who are they.
Where does the
action of “My Left Foot” takes place ?
consider that your left or right foot is important to you?
yourself the best you can.
A monologue is a dramatic soliloquy. A dramatic sketch
performed by one actor. It is also a long speech monopolizing a
piece of literature is the famous monologue that William
Shakespeare wrote for the play Julius Caesar. Antony is the
character who say it while in the Roman Senate.
Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to
bury Caesar, not to praise him.
that men do lives after them;
is oft interred with their bones.
So let it
be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
you Caesar was ambitious.
were so, it was a grievous fault,
grievously hath Caesar answered it.
under leave of Brutus and the rest
Brutus is an honorable man;
they all, all honorable men),
Come I to
speak in Caesar’s funeral.
brought many captives home to Rome,
ransoms did the general coffers fill.
in Caesar seem ambitious?
the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;
should be made of sterner stuff.
Brutus says he was ambitious;
Brutus is an honorable man.
did see that on the Lupercal
presented him a kingly crown,
did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
Brutus says he was ambitious;
he is an honorable man.
not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
I am to speak what I do know.
did love him once, not without cause.
cause witholds you then to mourn for him?
judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
have lost their reason! Bear with me,
is in the coffin there with Caesar,
must pause till it come back to me.
STEPS TOWARD THE
Now, you will
select one of the characters that are to be analyzed and will
represent him/her in front of your class saying a monologue
that will be written by you. Talk to your English teacher and
find out the characters. This is a project that has a value of
five (5) grades.
You pick out
the character that appeals the most to you and do a research
about the life of the character. Learn the most you can about
him/her. You will copy all the information you can find from no
less than three different books, or authors. Present in a
nice project to your English teacher and that will be the first
grade you will receive on this work.
You are supposed
to know your character and you are going to select a part of
his/her life that appeals the most to you. And you are going to
write a monologue about that part of his/her life but…saying
what you think that he/she said or must have said. This is not
the biography of your character. It is something that are you
going to invent. You are going to create, to fantasize.
Present it like a project to your English teacher and this is
your second grade in this work.
Study how your
character used to live and dressed. And you are going to dress
like he/she to come and present your monologue. Don’t go and
rent a costume, You will have more points if you invent your
costume from scratch or old rags. This is your third grade on
All actors do
need a scenery, so you are going to build up one. It can be
from a poster to a set, curtains, furniture, props, what ever
you think it is the best for you presentation. And you will be
graded for this too. This is your fourth grade.
You are supposed
to memorize the monologue you wrote and come to the classroom
and present your monologue by memory, all dressed up like your
character and with your setting to place your presentation.
This is the fifth grade. And you are done. But if you read
your monologue, you will loose a lot of points that might make
you flunk this project that you must do to be graduated from the