Category: Literature

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History and Education in Alice Walker’s “The Third Life of Grange Copeland”

Today, I’m going to finish the discussion I began last week on history and the ways that we construct meaning. In the last post, I looked at Ernest J. Gaines’ The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971). For this post, I will focus on one more scene from Gaines’ novel then move on to look at a section from Alice Walker’s The Third Life … Read More History and Education in Alice Walker’s “The Third Life of Grange Copeland”

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“Miss Jane is not in them”: Voices in Historical Narratives

Over the past couple of posts, I have written about the role of history and literature in countering prevailing myths about the past and the present. Today, I want to continue that discussion by looking at a couple of scene from Ernest J. Gaines’ The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971). On Thursday, I will finish this series by looking at a section from … Read More “Miss Jane is not in them”: Voices in Historical Narratives

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Dirt in Lillian E. Smith’s “Strange Fruit”

Lillian E. Smith’s Strange Fruit (1944) has been on my shelf for a few years now. Right now, it sits back in the United States, untouched and locked away in a box in a storage room. When I purchased it, at a book sale, it was one of those books that I had heard about and that looked relevant to my research. I bought … Read More Dirt in Lillian E. Smith’s “Strange Fruit”

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Education and Poverty in Junot Díaz’s “Drown”

Reading Junot Díaz’s “Drown,” my mind constantly kept going back to texts such as Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and James Baldwin who said, “Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.” Along with these items, I also thought about the power structures that keep Yunior de Las Casas in subjugation and essentially strip … Read More Education and Poverty in Junot Díaz’s “Drown”

Big Walter in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun”

Throughout Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, one character hovers over the entire play as a specter of the past. This character is Big Walter, Lena’s husband and Benetha and Walter Lee’s father. Even though he does not appear on stage in the script, he exists as an important part of the narrative. His death, which we do not see, causes the action … Read More Big Walter in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun”

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Republican Motherhood and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper”

A few items stuck out as I prepared to teach Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper” this semester. The first aspect of the short story that caught my attention was the multiple uses of specific words or forms of specific words: creep (20), sun (8), crawl (4), and skulk (1). Each of these words, except for sun, has a connotation of hiding or concealment. … Read More Republican Motherhood and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper”

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Internalized Ideas of Beauty in Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s “Perfect in Parts”

If you enjoy what you read here at Interminable Rambling, think about making a contribution on our Patreon page.  Recently, I had the chance to read Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s new collection of short stories, The Beautiful Ones are Not Yet Born (UL Press 2018). One story that immediately caught my attention was “Perfect in Parts,” a piece that, like Claude McKay’s Banana Bottom and Frank … Read More Internalized Ideas of Beauty in Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s “Perfect in Parts”

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Things I Learned at ASANOR 2018

If you enjoy what you read here at Interminable Rambling, think about making a contribution on our Patreon page.  This past week, I attended the American Studies Association of Norway (ASANOR) conference on the past and future of cosmopolitanism in Kristiansand, Norway. While there, I learned a lot, as hopefully usual for conferences. Today, I want to take the time to briefly write about … Read More Things I Learned at ASANOR 2018

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Charles Chesnutt’s “Paul Marchand” and the Social Construction of Race: Part II

If you enjoy what you read here at Interminable Rambling, think about making a contribution on our Patreon page.  In the last post, I spoke some about the “legal fictions” that Charles Chesnutt highlights in Paul Marchand, F.M.C., specifically with the relationship between Paul and Julie and with the terms that the narrator deploys throughout the novel. Today, I want to continue this discussion … Read More Charles Chesnutt’s “Paul Marchand” and the Social Construction of Race: Part II

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Charles Chesnutt’s “Paul Marchand” and the Social Construction of Race: Part I

If you enjoy what you read here at Interminable Rambling, think about making a contribution on our Patreon page.  Charles Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, F.M.C. highlights the legal fictions constructing race in America and the absolute absurdity of such constructions. Today, I want to look at some of the ways that Chesnutt illuminates the construction of race through legal fictions in the novel. Chesnutt explores … Read More Charles Chesnutt’s “Paul Marchand” and the Social Construction of Race: Part I

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Reflections on the End of the Semester

The end of each academic year brings fatigue, a one or two week break, then a return to the classroom for the summer session. This has been my schedule for a large part of my academic career, mainly out of necessity. I’ve written about the struggles and problems with contingent faculty before, and I do not want to dredge up that discussion here. Rather, … Read More Reflections on the End of the Semester

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Memos in the Literature Classroom

For my literature courses this semester, I am tweaking a previous assignment and starting a new practice that will hopefully assist students in learning the material throughout the semester. Today, I want to briefly cover the ways I plan to change my discussion board and my incorporation of post-class memos after each class.