American Literature–Exercise #3


Task #1:
Summarize: “I Done Worked” (oral history, 1981), Lottie Jackson as told to Sherry Thomas, 67-73. In 1981, about how old was Lottie Jackson? In what era does her approximate birthday place her in African-American history? In what era was she a young woman? An old woman? (See “Historical Overview,” xv-xxii).

Answer the “Discussion Questions,” 1-3, on pages 72-73. Jot down some notes, and share your findings with the class. Answer Discussion Questions. As a group, answer the discussion questions on page 79. Jot down some notes, for you will share your findings with the class. I may collect your notes after class.
Before we move on with the other tasks, we will do a “reader’s theater” reading of The African Garden excerpt, and I will ask for two volunteers.
Task #2:
Write a short passage: In the excerpt from The African Garden, Maytag Diamond Ashley says, “Some folks don’t like themselves gassed or ungassed” and “Your mind has to go natural while you straighten your soul” (78). What does he mean by theses remarks, and how do they offer important lessons for young Simon? Jot down some notes, for you will share your findings with the class.
Task #3:
Write a poem: Based on the text of the excerpt from The African Garden, write a poem, any style, called “Gassed.” Be aware that (in the play) “gassed” can offer two meanings: in the 1960's, being tear gassed during protests and riots AND/OR having one’s hair “gassed” for straightening purposes. If you are feeling especially creative, you may use both meanings in your images. Jot down some notes, for you will share your findings with the class.
Task #4:
Write a prequel: Based on the text of the excerpt from The African Garden, write a short prequel scene (an event occurring before the play scene). Remember: the scene cannot be between Ashley and Simon because they haven’t met yet. However, you can develop a scene between Simon and his mother; Simon and the Old Soldier; Ashley and another person (perhaps another landlord); OR even the Mother with her boss. Jot down some notes, for you will share your findings with the class.
Task #5:
Write a sequel: Based on the text of the excerpt from The African Garden, write a short sequel scene (an event occurring after the play scene). In plays, a change of scene usually means a change in some of the characters and/or a change in the numbers of characters, so, in your scene, you might want to develop a scene between Ashley and the mother; the mother and Simon; OR Ashley, Simon, and the mother. You could, of course, bring in some of the mentioned characters, such as The Old Soldier, etc. Jot down some notes, for you will share your findings with the class.

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