Home Going -Mini Lecture Writing Assignment

Mini Lecture- Home Going

As we near the end of the semester, it is time to finish Home going and begin thinking about the connections between Gyasi’s treatment of the legacy of America’s founding and the early American texts we have been reading. Our goal for this week is to pair your favorite moments of the novel with notable moments from the early American texts we have been reading in order to begin to see and articulate larger and more complex connections. How does America’s past help us understand the present? There are no easy answers, and although platitudes might be comforting, they do not work as possible answers. In this week’s writing and thinking, you will pair a question about Homegoing with your reading of an early American text to examine what connections and ideas exist between the two works.

Through the focused exercises this week, you will start to see those connections, then you will work to complicate them by thinking through the ideas in discussion. The discussion insights will then help you to express even stronger ideas. This is how analytical thinking works, in a nutshell. The questions below are based on Home going, but they could also easily be answered using one of the early works we’ve read. I have suggested early texts that would pair well with each question. Step 1: Finish the book this week. Then, review the novel by going back through and marking passages that stand out to you. Think about how your attention to the characters and their situations has changed and evolved throughout your reading. As you finish, there should be key moments that you keep coming back to that stand out as worth writing/thinking about more.

Further Description

Look closely at what you have marked, and annotate each passage closely. Notice if there are any themes in the passages that have caught your attention. Do some freewriting on the passages you have chosen–what is this passage in the text inviting readers to think? How do you know? (PRO TIP: This freewriting will be helpful BEFORE choosing a question and an early text)Step 2: Read the following questions closely and the suggested early American text pairings. Which question pairing below might yield new thinking about both texts? How does Home going allow us to view texts from the time period more productively? What dialogue do these texts suggest when passages and themes are contrasted with each other?.

Choose a question below to work with this week (I find it helpful to copy the question down somewhere I can see it throughout my reading/working time so that it stays in the front of my thinking). If you don’t understand the question at first, look up the key terms and jot down some definitions to help you sort through what the question is asking. Once you have chosen the question and the early text, repeat Step 1 with the passages you want to use from the early American text. What perspective does Home going offer on the subject of beliefs and otherness? For instance, do any of the storylines delineate between superstition and belief? Why does Ma Aku reprimand Jo after he is kicked out of church?.

Additional Information

What do the Missionary and the fetish man contribute to a dialogue on beliefs and otherness? Is there a clue to superstition and belief in the symbol of the necklace? Does Homegoing ultimately suggest the best way to confront beliefs that are foreign to us?. Why or why not? (Pairing: Douglass, Native Stories of the Beginning of the world, Columbus, Cabeza de Vaca, OR “Glooscap.”). Hint, I choose the question for you. This week’s assignment will include 2 pages. Page 1:At the top of the page, indicate which question from the mini-lecture you are answering.

If you want, you can write out the question at the top to guide you. Write down which early American text you will compare with Homegoing and make sure you include page numbers where possible for quotes. Then, either copy or type and print out key passages (from each text) that you will use to help push you towards an answer to the question. These passages should be substantial (healthy paragraphs), and there should be plenty to observe in each. Annotate these passages, using analysis strategies to notice and focus on details. Look for patterns, word usage, implications, and direct statements that can lead to nuanced answers to the question. This first page should be heavily annotated–where you are reviewing and trying out all the strategies we’ve practiced.

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