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Black Men And Public Spaces Essay Questions

Biographical

Here is some biographical information from PBS. This page includes notes about Staples's life, a photo, and a link to a video about the author in both RealVideo and Quicktime.

This biography is from his speaking agency, Royce Carlton. Here you'll find a photo of Staples and a book cover, as well as a biographical essay and a quote.

How about taking a look at a caricature of Staples drawn by David Levine for The New York Review of Books. How does this drawing compare to the other pictures of the author you've seen? What do you make of it?

Bibliographical

Let's take a look at more writing by Staples. Here is a review he did of the book All Souls: A Family Story From Southie. (Free registration required.)

Here's a quotation from Staples about modern historical documents from Simpson's Contemporary Quotations.

"Con Men and Conquerors" is the title of a book review Staples wrote in 1994 for V. S. Naipaul's A Way in the World. How does Staples's title relate to Naipauls' book? (Free registration required.)

Cultural

Staples has often written about intercultural communication. A pioneer in this field is Edward T. Hall. Here is a page with some information about Hall, a bibliography, and some related links.

Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White is the title of an autobiography by Staples. Read this essay about the state of memoir from Christianity Today. How does the author of the essay use Staples as an authority?

Here are some short reviews of Parallel Time from Kirkus Reviews, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chicago Tribune, and other sources. Now that you know a bit more about the book would you like to read it? Why or why not?

When my students have completed the partner work, we reconvene as a whole-group to share their results (Partner Work).  As they share, I encourage them to link and support their responses to lines from the text as much as possible.

As facilitator, I likewise look for opportunities to encourage them toward connections to the vignette "Those Who Don't" from The House on Mango Street, particularly in the way the two texts are structured and how this contributes to the voice, tone, mood, and thematic development of each. Though the Staples essay explores the practice of stereotyping in ways that are perhaps more complex than how the practice is introduced in "Those Who Don't," and while my students may struggle with understanding all aspects of essay, I am confident that the thematic connection found in it makes an otherwise complex text fundamentally more accessible.  I always try to keep this in mind when I incorporate non-fiction texts into my units, looking for larger connections to support student comprehension and skill acquisition.

The focus on purpose and audience are explored without any real follow-up instruction, as these questions were meant to simply introduce those considerations that writers make. Thus far, my students have been trained to identify voice, tone, and mood in a piece of writing, and to notice how a writer's strategies contribute to the overall success of a piece.  My intent in the weeks to come is to introduce a version of "the rhetorical square" to my students, a skill that involves a bit more complexity, and I want to lay the groundwork with texts they have successfully tackled and to which they are able to refer back, if required.

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