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Week 3. – Cofer , Danticat , and Komunyakaa. Cofer’s “Silent Dancing” - Language. Ortiz- Cofer uses untranslated Spanish in her essay. What is the effect on the reader? Is the effect different depending on whether the reader is a Spanish-speaker or not?

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week 3

Week 3

– Cofer, Danticat, and Komunyakaa

cofer s silent dancing language
Cofer’s “Silent Dancing” - Language
  • Ortiz-Cofer uses untranslated Spanish in her essay.
  • What is the effect on the reader? Is the effect different depending on whether the reader is a Spanish-speaker or not?
  • What is the purpose of pointing out that Cofer’s mother refused to cook with cans whose labels she couldn’t read or that she felt comfort in the barrio where people spoke a common language?
  • What is the relationship between culture and language portrayed?
  • What role does the silence of the movie play in relation to culture and language?
cofer structure
Cofer – Structure
  • Cofer’s narrative is spliced with scenes from the home movie, her dreams and memories, and present reflections.
  • How are these all connected in the essay?
  • What effect does this technique have on the reader?
cofer perspective
Cofer - Perspective
  • What does Cofer choose to focus on in her essay (like her childhood), and what does she choose to leave out?
  • We see Cofer watching other people in her movie and in her past. What effect does that produce on the relationship between reader and author?
  • Her impressionistic and subjective perspective constructs her message. What is her message?
danticat s westbury court language
Danticat’s “Westbury Court” - Language
  • Though Danticat describes what may appear to be a terrible place filled with tragedy and crime, her tone is understated, matter-of-fact.
  • What is the effect of writing about horrible events in an unaffected tone, making such events appear ordinary?
  • Do you think she is disturbed by these shocking events?
danticat structure
Danticat - Structure
  • The ending of the essay is a kind of departure from the rest of the essay’s straightforward narrative.
  • How does the ending with “Sometimes it’s too late to say ‘I shouldn’t have’” affect our understanding of the essay?
  • How would the essay be affected if the ending were not such a reflection, but only the end of the fire incident?
danticat perspective
Danticat - Perspective
  • This is a personal essay of a childhood event.
  • When is Danticat presenting the events as they appeared to her as a child?
  • When is she presenting them as the reflective, experienced adult?
  • Consider her presentation of her addiction to General Hospital and her questioning her own memory. How much of the essay is structured to echo an aftershock-like effect?
komunyakaa language
Komunyakaa - Language
  • Kumanyakaa uses poetic language in his essay. Where do you find metaphors? Descriptive phrases?
  • Consider the possibilities for the meaning of the word “Blue” in the title.
komunyakaa structure
Komunyakaa – Structure
  • The essay takes place one summer, beginning on the first day of Kumanyakaa’s work at the factory and ending with his leaving.
  • Though the structure is confined to this one time period, Komunyakaa manages to consider the nature of factory work, education, war, class, and fantasy. How does the structure limit or shape his thematic concerns.?
komunyakaa perspective
Komunyakaa - Perspective
  • Komunyakaa differs from his fellow workers in so far as he is educated, suffers from his memories of war, and aspires to do move up the academic ladder. However, he does not judge his fellow workers. Her merely reports what occurs to his mind and what he sees and hears, including dialogue. How does his presentation of “self” affect the essay?