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Study Questions: Brady, Cofer, & Gates

Exercise 1

After completing the "Everything You Know or Think You Know" exercise, remain in your group and discuss one of the three readings by Judy Brady, Judith Ortiz Cofer, or Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  (One will be assigned to your group.) Try to analyze the work using the same process of fact an inference you used in the exercise:
  1. Start with the title of the work and talk about what it represents by topic, theme, tone, impression, etc.  What idea of the writing to come does it suggest to readers before they actually start reading?
  2. Discuss what the point of the work is.  Rather than look for a thesis statement, paraphrase it in your own words:  what is the main "cause" or purpose of this piece?  What is the author's motive to write it, to publish it?  Etc.
  3. Look for the facts and inferences you draw from the content of this writing that reinforces your response(s) to the previous task.  What quotes, references, etc. help to illustrate or otherwise substantiate your claims about why the piece is written, and about what it's trying to say.

  


  

Exercise 2

Divide into groups of four or five (approximately six groups total) and wait further instructions about one of the three authors assigned for this week, each of which focuses on a stereotype:

  • In Judy Brady's “I Want a Wife,” she satirizes the social role or myth of "a wife."
  • In Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s "What's In a Name?," he addresses the racial and gender role ascribed by the name "George."
  • In Judith Ortiz Cofer's "Myth of the Latin Woman," she questions the cultural role of "Latina."

Sometimes the author clearly describes what that role is, and other times she or he lets readers infer what it is.  As a group, try to catalogue the ways in which your assigned author effectively characterizes the role referenced (or implied) in his or her essay.  Then, complete the following:

Judy Brady
Judy Brady
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
 Judith Ortiz Cofer
Judith Ortiz Cofer
  1. Group these characteristics into three stereotypes or myths about the role addressed in your assigned author's work; label and identify each. For example, "Myth #1: A wife is an unconditional nurturer" or "Myth #3: A Latin woman has loose morals."
  2. Select one of these myths to discuss in detail, then debunk it.  What's inaccurate or unfair about it?  Why does the myth exist?  What historical facts support the myth?  What cultural factors might contribute to it? What social mores probably reinforce it?  What realities do (or should) contradict it?
  3. What assumptions does the author make about the people who promote the myth discussed in their text?  What stereotypes and myth-making is your assigned author guilty of in writing this work?  Look at your author's issues from the other side.  For example, what would an essay by Brady called "I Want an Uncle" be like?  What would Cofer write about in "My Boyfriend's Back: The Myth of the White Biker"?  Or, what sort of personal narrative by Gates would be simply titled "White Boss"?
  4. What is the "thesis" of your assigned author's essay?  Why, in your opinion, did the author write it?  How and why does it compare or contrast to the theses of the other two authors assigned for tonight?  What's similar or different about the agendas of your assigned author with the agendas of the others?  (Be as specific as possible.)

  

Vocabulary

Cofer

casas: houses; cottages
bodega: a wine shop or cellar
Mario Thomas: probably a misprint, intended to be "Marlo Thomas"; this reference has been edited altogether from the version in Patterns For College Writing.

Gates
moonlighted: worked a second job in the evening
rent curtain: torn curtain
Sugar Ray or Jackie Robinson: famous athletes (Ray, a boxer; Robinson, a baseball player)
Last Updated: 02/10/2016

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