Read the two essays attached to this assignment: Cofer’s “A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood” and Angelou’s “Sister Flowers.” In a post of approximately 300 words, identify what each piece’s thesis is using the skills that we discussed in Week 1. Please note that we are not identifying the TOPIC; that was identified for you in the introduction to this week and we aren’t discussing what happens in the essay or what it’s about. Rather, you should identify the point that each essay is making about its topic. In addition to boiling down the thesis of each piece, you should cite specific phrases or examples from each to demonstrate how each author uses powerful descriptive language or imagery to flesh out the thesis. Remember to also avoid using personal anecdote or opinion to support your claims; stick to the text to analyze what makes it “work.” Also keep in mind what you read in Chapter 4 of the Argument Today text concerning effective reading strategies. Post your observations by Wednesday at 11:59 PM.
Then, respond to two peers by Sunday night at 11:59 PM. In your responses, you should not only say, “Hey, I agree!” or “I’m not sure that I agree.” Use specific examples from the text to either support your classmate’s observations or offer counter-examples that might disprove/refine your classmate’s thoughts.
Here’s two attachments you need to read for this writing:
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“A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood” by Judith Ortiz Cofer details one child’s conscious hunger to find out who she is due to a constant feeling that her identity slips through the cracks of her culture. The author uses rich details to express the importance she places on her relationship with the other females in her family (“Mama’s matriarchal power to command”) and the warnings told through the tales of the men in theirs and others’ lives (“Hombres with the devil in their flesh”). She goes on to state the lengths that she would go to, allowing her Mama, or grandmother, to braid her hair despite the “little jerks that made my eyes water,” because of “the spell she cast when telling a story.” The biggest proof of the author’s thesis is when she is explaining her and her cousin Sara’s roles in the womanly get-togethers, stating that they were “Collaborators in search of answers,” and that they hung on every word to “fit it all together like a puzzle that, once assembled, would reveal life’s mysteries to us.” Through this searching for her own truth, the author subconsciously found her own voice and the gift of telling stories, refusing to succumb to the “infectious joke” that was Maria La Loca’s elderly life.
On the contrary, “Sister Flowers” by Maya Angelou, details a child’s unconscious need for direction and the older woman who boosted her confidence and helped her to see that eloquence and thoughtful wording can get someone farther than could be imagined in life. The author uses narrative to emphasize the importance of language and speech throughout her essay, whether it is in the lack of speaking when Mrs. Flowers states that Marguerite’s teachers “’have trouble getting you to talk in class,’” or the “clarity” with which Mrs. Flowers spoke so that “a foreigner who didn’t understand English could have understood her.” One point that proves the author’s thesis is when Mrs. Flowers explains to Marguerite that simply reading words is not enough because it is a person’s duty “to infuse them with the shades of deeper meaning.” Mrs. Flowers’ grace and way of life gave Marguerite an early insight into what can be achieved by taking pride in one’s own abilities, but it also showed her that empathy is important, too, when she advised her that she “must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.” Mrs. Flowers proved her point by having Marguerite read books from many perspectives and many different ways of life. Through these romps “into the private lives of strangers,” Marguerite found the voice that was always in her, and she was “liked” for it.