Memoir Academic Vocabulary Word #15 Please write the word and the date in your vocabulary book, but do NOT write anything else.
Memoir • Look at all of the examples of memoir that we’ve read, so far. • Think about what they all have in common…
“Bloodworth,” Gary Soto • Gary begins by talking about his “bobbing and weaving” in Kindergarten and elementary school. • He then discusses joining the boxing team in high school and a particular fight that he loses with an opponent named Bloodworth. • He talks about his mom’s disinterest in his boxing and then the fact that she comes to watch the fight with Bloodworth.
Black Boy, Richard Wright • Wright describes two major incidents in his early childhood and a little about his relationship with his mother. • First, he discusses how he burned half of his house down as a four year old, and how his mother almost beats him to death because of it. • He then describes how his mother forces him to get into his first fight with the neighborhood gang.
I Am Malala, MalalaYousafzai • Malala, a girl from Pakistan, describes the incidents surrounding when the Taliban forbid girls from receiving an education. • She, along with her father, spoke out against this decision, and she was shot in the face on her way home from school.
The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls • Walls discusses an incident when she was three and severely burned herself cooking hot dogs by herself. • She describes her stay and her love for the hospital. • She also tells about her father “breaking” her out of the hospital without paying.
“Us and Them,” David Sedaris • Sedaris tells about a time in his life when he becomes interested in his, what he was describe as weird, neighbors. • He describes an incident in which these neighbors come to his house on November 1, expecting Halloween candy and how he resents them and his mom for making him give up candy he received the night before.
I Know why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou • Maya Angelou discusses a time when she lived in Stamps, Arkansas and when she helped at her grandmother’s store. • She describes a number of rude, white children who live in the area and how they make fun of and are incredibly rude to her grandmother one day.
Memoir • Take three minutes to • Write down some descriptions of the word MEMOIR. These are YOUR OWN ideas, not someone else’s, so DON’T TALK about them yet. • Jot down related terms • Draw a picture/symbols that you think relates to the term (and can help you remember the term)
Now let’s Rank Them… • Take a moment and rank all of these memoirs in the order in which you liked them. Put the one you liked first, your second favorite next, and so on… (1= It was the best! 6= I hated it!) • After each ranking, write 1 sentence describing why you ranked it the way you did. (ex. I liked Black Boy because it was such an intense and exciting story. I loved his descriptions!) “Bloodworth” – I thought that it was….. Black Boy I Am Malala “Us and Them” The Glass Castle I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Now, let’s take some time to consider… What makes a “poor” or a “good” memoir?
Now, read this… The First Time I Really Remember Getting in Trouble at School I was in 6th grade, and I was sitting in Mr. Jones’s class. I don’t really remember ever getting in trouble that much before. Here’s the story about what happened. I was really bored in his class, and so I started writing notes back and forth with one of my friends. We really weren’t paying attention to the teacher. All at once, he grabbed the note from me and wrote my name on the board. He wrote, “ELIZABETH” in big letters. Then he told me to sit in the hallway. I didn’t like that he wrote out my whole name. Before I left the class, I erased the E,A,B,E,T,H from the board. He got more mad at me when I did this. I didn’t really care, but I knew my mom would be mad at me.
I know, I know…it was TERRIBLE!! WHY? What made it so bad?
Now that you’ve seen a BAD example, let’s take a look at what makes these memoir excerpts so GOOD… • Work with your table • Brainstorm a list of all of the elements common to these memoir examples. What do they share? What makes them interesting or exciting to read? • Think about things like literary devices, figurative language, description, point of view, etc… • For 4 of the items on your list, find a piece of textual evidence demonstrating your idea from the memoirs we read…
Now, you need to think about authoring YOUR OWN memoir…. Ask Yourself: “Where do I start?”
Questions for Memoirists…. • LISTEN: I will now read some questions that will help give you ideas for things to write about. • THINK: You will have 30 seconds after I read a question, before you can start writing. This is time for you to THINK/PONDER/WONDER! • WRITE: You will have 1 min and 30 seconds to write down a complete sentence describing a quick, but detailed answer to the question.
Questions for Memoirists..1. Listen 2. Think 3. Respond • What are my earliest memories? How far back can I remember (really)? • What are the most important things that have happened to me in my life so far? • What have I seen that I can’t forget? • What’s an incident that shows what my family and I are like? • What’s an incident that shows what my friends and I OR pets are like? • What’s something that’s happened to me at school that I’ll always remember?
Questions for Memoirists..1. Listen 2. Think 3. Respond 7. What’s something that’s happened to me at home that I’ll always remember? • What’s a time when I had a feeling that surprised me? • What’s an incident that changed how I think or feel about something? • What’s an incident that changed my life? • What’s a time or place that I was perfectly happy? • What’s a time or place that I laughed a lot?
Questions for Memoirists..1. Listen 2. Think 3. Respond 13. What’s a time or place when it felt as if my heart were breaking? 14. What’s a time with a parent/grandparent/brother/sister/cousin/other relative that I’ll never forget? 15. Can I remember a time I learned to do something, or did something for the first time? 16. What memories emerge when I make a time line of my life so far and note the most important things that happened to me each year?