Tag Archives: women’s history

Isabel Allende

“Isabel Allende: (1942-) Chilean novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. Touted as the first major female figure in Latin America’s book of narrative fiction, she has become one of the continent’s best known and bestselling authors, but has been dismissed by some as an epigone of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his school of Magic Realism. Born in Lima, Peru, she worked as a journalist in Chile. After President Salvador Allende, her father’s cousin, was deposed in 1973, she emigrated to Venezuela and then to the U.S. Her best-known novel is her first book, La casa de los espiritus (1982; tr The House of the Spirits, 1985); set in a nameless Latin American country, it is the story of several generations of the upper-class Trueba family. It was followed by the novels De amor y de sombra (1984; tr Of Love and Shadows, 1985) and Eva Luna (1987; tr 1988), and the short-story collection Cuentos de Eva Luna (1990; tr The Stories of Eva Luna, 1991). Later books include El plan infinito (1991; tr The Infinite Plan, 1993), the story of a Chicano lawyer in San Francisco, and Paula (1994; tr 1995), a moving account of her daughter’s illness and death.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Algonquin Wits: Alice Duer Miller

“Novelist and Round Table frequenter Alice Duer Miller once paid off a loss at cards to Aleck Woollcott, informing him: ‘You, sir, are the lowest form of life—a cribbage pimp.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Jane Addams on Democracy

“The cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.”

Jane Addams

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Catherine the Great

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Catherine the Great. To my surprise, this is the first material on the Empress I have published on this blog.

She is without question a world-historical figure, and probably of interest to a certain type of student, probably female. In any case, I’ll make a point of producing a couple of more posts about it.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Mellifluous (adj)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective mellifluous. It means “having a smooth rich flow <a mellifluous voice> and “filled with something (as honey) that sweetens.”

It’s not a word used with any real frequency in English. But when you need it–as when it’s time to express one’s feelings about, say, Nina Simone’s voice–well, nothing else will quite do, you know?

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Algonquin Wits: Dorothy Parker

“Describing a guest at one of her parties: ‘That woman speaks eighteen languages and can’t say “No” in any of them.’”

Dorothy Parker

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Cultural Literacy: Indira Gandhi

For the first day of the observation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021 at Mark’s Text Terminal, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Indira Gandhi. This blog will feature materials related to Asian culture, geography, politics, and personalities for the entire month of May.

By any measure, Americans of Asian Pacific descent have experienced a difficult year. At the beginning of 2020, on January 23 to be exact, the Museum of Chinese in America suffered a fire in its building at 70 Mulberry Street in Chinatown in Lower Manhattan. Fortunately, the original estimates of the devastation proved to be overestimated, and the Museum is on the mend. I attended a professional development day at the Museum several years ago. It was one of the best of such things, a twice-yearly obligation of employees of the New York City Department of Education, that I had the good fortune to encounter. Godspeed to the good people at MOCA in restoring the museum to its original state.

Unless you live in a cave, you are no doubt aware of the rising anti-Asian bigotry in the United States. This has prompted a long overdue public discourse on racism towards Asian-Americans. I particularly appreciate the inimitable Ronny Chieng’s takedown, from way back in 2016 but which has lately been trending on YouTube, of Fox News bro Jesse Watters, who visited Chinatown in that year to “report” for the execrable Bill O’Reilly show. The work of Asian feminists who are speaking frankly about the cultural and political history of fetishizing Asian women, another long overdue discussion, arrives at a propitious moment; maybe these thinkers will forge change in this area of our public life. I’d like to think that making an understanding of the term “Orientalist tropesde rigueur for high school students before they graduate from our secondary institutions might take us some distance toward recognizing this problem in our society.

I lay the blame for much of the rising anti-Asian violence on the last president of the United States, a man who wore his bigotry on his sleeve throughout the benighted four years he malingered in the White House. Calling a virus–and the last time I talked with my friends in the academic and professional genomics community about this, they assured me that viruses, unlike humans, have no ethnicity–the “Kung Flu” is an obvious slur, intended, it appears, to bait the kind of bigots who immediately began parroting it. Likewise, COVID, caused by a coronavirus, is not a “Chinese Virus,” though that particular lie and slur has contributed to violence against Americans of Asian descent. The president bought himself a mendacious Barbie doll who stepped up to defend him and his trashy mouth. Even NBC News, not exactly an institution of the woke left, spoke up on the president’s appalling rhetoric.

Man, I am glad he is gone. I’ll stipulate that anti-Asian racism has a long and sordid history in the United States, from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the World War II internment of the Nisei, to our current ugly moment. But for a president to rile up his or her followers with racist slurs? Well, if you can defend that, I’d like to hear why. Actually, on second thought, never mind. Everyday life offers up a smorgasbord of degrading ignorance and stupidity; I don’t need to go looking for it.

Finally, my sympathies–which I understand is more or less useless–to Americans of Asian descent everywhere. And my deepest condolences to the friends and families to the victims of the Atlanta Massacre. The perpetrator, by the way, was a professing Christian (how that works escapes me) who I don’t doubt for a minute was motivated by the racist, anti-Asian rhetoric that is clearly au courant in the United States.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Concluding Assessment Lesson on Adjectives

If you search “lesson plan on adjectives” on this blog, you will find that there are a total of 11 lesson plans dealing with this part of speech; here is the concluding assessment lesson plan.

This lesson opens in my classroom with this Everyday Edit worksheet on Lucy Cousins’ Maisy books–and if your students enjoy the satisfaction of completing these exercises in correcting grammar, style, and spelling in another person’s prose (mine generally have), you can find a yearlong supply for download at no charge from the good people at Education World. This lesson generally extends across two days, so here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on malapropisms. Finally, here is the structured worksheet that closely follows the sequence of the 11 lessons that comprise this unit and serves as their concluding assessment.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: Emily Dickinson’s Publications in Her Lifetime

“How many of Emily Dickinson’s poems were published during her lifetime? Seven. She wrote over 1,500.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Cultural Literacy: Emily Dickinson

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Emily Dickinson. I’ve never seen her taught in the public schools in which I’ve served, which for a variety of reasons has always mystified me. 

For her poems, long out of copyright, are available at no charge to readers everywhere. And her work? It is commonly regarded as among the most original of all time. It may require some effort, but I do think it is possible to arouse interest in students in reading Emily Dickinson.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.