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Prof. Myrna Monllor Jiménez English 124

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Prof. Myrna Monllor Jiménez English 124. Sapphire (Ramona Lofton). Push (1996) Meditations on the Rainbow: Poetry (1987) American Dreams (1994) Black Wings & Blind Angels: Poems (1999). Influences. Audre Lorde. The Director: Lee Daniels. Producer Monster’s Ball (2001)

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sapphire ramona lofton
Sapphire (Ramona Lofton)

Push (1996)

Meditations on the Rainbow: Poetry (1987)

American Dreams (1994)

Black Wings & Blind Angels: Poems (1999)



the director lee daniels
The Director: Lee Daniels


Monster’s Ball (2001)

The Woodsman (2004)


Shadowboxer (2006)

Precious (2009)

precious 2009
Precious 2009

Made for $10,000,000

Critically acclaimed at the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes

Nominated for 6 Oscars

Won Best Supporting Actress for Mónique, Won Best screenwriting for Geoffrey S. Fletcher

91% in the Tomato Meter

The African American community criticized its portrayal of the mother

the beginning
The Beginning

Everything is a gift from the universe. Ken Keyes Jr.

the beginning1
The Beginning

Why does the film begin with a fairy godmother giving Precious a scarf? Will this scarf be meaningful in other film scenes?

harlem 1987
Harlem 1987

The director stated that the film was called Precious because there was another film called Push? Which do you think is a better title? Does changing the title change alter the message?

claireece precious jones in the film

Who calls her Claireece?

Claireece Precious Jones in the film

What effect does Precious’ narration have upon the audience?

Where do we first see Precious?

Why is this important to the telling of the story?

What is she telling us?


The Novel’s Beginning

William Wordsworth

If thou be one whose heart the holy forms Of younger imagination have kept pure, Stranger! henceforth be warned; and know, that pride, Howe'er disguised in its own majesty, Is littleness; that he, who feels contempt For any living thing, hath faculties Which he has never used; that thought with him Is in its infancy. The man, whose eye Is ever on himself, doth look on one, The least of nature's works, one who might move The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds Unlawful, ever. O, be wiser thou! Instructed that true knowledge leads to love,

Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.”

The Talmud

the novel s beginning
The Novel’s Beginning

I was left back when I was twelve because I had a baby for my fahver. That was in 1983. I was out of school for a year. This gonna be my second baby. My daughter got Down Sinder. She’s retarded. I had got left back in the second grade too, when I was seven, cause I couldn’t read (and I still peed on myself). I should be in the eleventh grade, getting ready to go into twelf’ grade so I can gone n’ graduate. But I’m not. I’m in the ninfe grade.

how is precious different in the novel
How is Precious different in the novel?

Think of the incident with Mr. Wicherat the beginning of the novel.

How old was Precious when she had her first child?


I feels sorry for Mr. Wicher.

He do his best but he ain't got

no voice.

Everyday I tell myself something gonnahappen, like I'm gonna break through or

somebody gonna break through to me -I'm gonna learn, catch up, be normal,

sit in the front ...someday.


What does the math teacher say about requests and requirements? How is this important to the story?

mrs lichenstein
Mrs. Lichenstein

Are you pregnant? You're sixteen, still in junior high school and pregnant with your second child. Correct Claireece? Claireece are you pregnant again?

The other day I cried, felt stupid. Guess what...F… that other day. Thas why God or whoever make new days.
...The tesses paint a picture of me wifno brain. The tesses paint a picture of me 'an my muver -my whole family as less than dumb just ugly black grease to be wiped away…

In the novel, all of the girls have a story. What is it?




Jo Ann

Rita Romero

In the novel

Miz Rain say we is a nation of raped children, that the black man in America today is the product of rape.

Before, I got A minus in English and never say nuffin', never do nuffin'. But Miz Rain say we gonna read and write in our notebooks every day. Thassumthin' seeing how we can't really do none of those things and then I think maybe this ain' tha class for me.

What purpose do Ms. Rain’s comments on Precious journal have? Do the comments serve the same purpose in the novel?

Some folks got a light around them that shine for other peoples. I think maybe some of them was in a long tunnel before. And in that tunnel, maybe the only light they had was one that was inside of them and then -even long after they escaped that tunnel, they still be shining for everybody else. ThasMiz Rain to me.

…you can't stop now. You gotta fight through this. You still have to live your life and do the best you can with the hand you've been dealt. If not for yourself then for the people who love you.
her dreams2
Her Dreams

“I ain’t never had a boyfriend.

precious pictures

Pictures appear throughout the film. What meaning do they have?

One day Miz Rain ask us to write about our ideal self...I wrote that I would be light skinned and small wif wavy swing-job hair.
in the novel
In the Novel

Since I ain’no white bitch. I understand that now…I am not Janet Jackson or Madonna on the inside. I always thought I was someone different on the inside. That I was just fat and black and ugly to people on the OUTSIDE. And if they could see inside me they would see something lovely and not keep laughing at me…But I’m not different on the inside. Inside I thought was so beautiful is a black girl too. (Push p. 125)

precious and mary
Precious and Mary

How does Precious feel about her mother in the novel? How does she say she smells and looks?

precious and mary1
Precious and Mary

Why does Precious have to cook for her mother in the novel?

mary jones
Mary Jones

Why do we constantly see images of TV shows? Who do we see in these


... My muver is a like a whaleperson for the couch. She says I eat alla time, but then she always makin’ me eat... and then call me a fat mess.... She says apartment is little because of me.


Reference to Two Women (1960) with Sophia Loren


How is Mongo different in the novel? What happens to Mongo at the end of the novel?

My grandmuverToosie, brangsLittle Mongo over on days social worker come so it look like Mongo live wif us. Then my mama get the check 'n food stamps for me 'n Little Mongo. But it's my baby. Little Mongo is money for me, not her!

When? I don't know when it start. When I remember it? She still little. Yeah, around three maybe.

She made him leave. Who else is going to love me?


Miss Weiss

You know, I didn't realize what you was until this day -even after all those thangs you did. Maybe I didn't know no better or maybe I just didn't want to but I finally see you crystal clear for the first time. I forgive you too. ...but I'll never see you again.


Miss Weiss

I like you too… but you can’t handle me… you can’t handle any of this.

The film’s ending

Social worker ask me if I want to give Little Mongo and Abdul up for adoption. I could kill her. She never help before. Now she want to take my kids away? If she take Abdul, I won’t have nothing no more.

in the novel1
In the Novel

Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you:Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.It's had tacks in it,And splinters,And boards torn up,And places with no carpet on the floor—Bare.But all the time I'se been a-climbin' on,And reachin' landin's,And turnin' corners,And sometimes goin' in the darkWhere there ain't been no light.So, boy, don't you turn back.Don't you set down on the steps.'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.Don't you fall now—For I'se still goin', honey,I'se still climbin',And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

in the novel2
In the Novel

One thing I say about Farrakhan and Alice Walker they help me like being black.

Alice Walker

louis farrakhan
Louis Farrakhan
  • Who is Louis Farrakhan and how would he be important within the novel?
  • Do Precious’ views about his beliefs change?

“The white man is our mortal enemy, and we cannot accept him. I will fight to see that vicious beast go down into the late of fire prepared for him from the beginning, that he never rise again to give any innocent black man, woman or child the hell that he has delighted in pouring on us for 400 years.”

– Louis Farrakhan, City College audience in New York

what thoughts does the novel film express about the following
What thoughts does the novel/film express about the following?
  • Welfare
  • Education
  • The Establishment
  • Being black in a white world
  • Acceptance of diversity
  • Constant presence of the TV
the novel s ending
The Novel’s Ending

It’s Sunday, no school, meetings. I’m in dayroom at Advancement House, sitting on a big leather stool holdin’ Abdul. The sun is coming through the window splashing down on him, on the pages of his book. It’s caled The Black BC’s. I love to hold him on my lap, open up the world to him. When the sun shine on him like this, he is an angel child. Brown sunshine. And my heart fill. Hurt. One year? Five? Ten years? Maybe more if I take care of myself. Maybe a cure. Who knows, who is working on sh.. like that? Look his nose is so shiny, his eyes are shiny. He my shiny brown boy. In his beauty I see my own. He pulling on my earring, want me to stop daydreaming and read him a story before nap time. I do.