Saturday, January 17, 2009

Eudora Welty Meeting January 10, 2009

On January 10, 2009, we concluded our intense discussion on Eudora Welty. It was fun to discuss our thoughts and turn to experts on Eudora Welty. How could I tell we were in the presence of intellectuals? No one stormed out when we referred to the "N" word. Everyone shared their personal and professional experience with handling personal connections to stories. There was even assignments brainstormed on how to handle personal connections, which cause unwanted outbursts in the classroom.

For me, I was concerned with Eudora's usage of the "N" word. I am proud to say that my colleagues explained the paramount meaning Eudora was trying to convey. Her ability to use it in Why I Live at the P.O. further exploits the type of family being depicted during the setting of the short story. Her decision not to use it in A Worn Path is to emphasize more of the journey of life, rather than the time. I was just amazed at how we could have a discussion on race at such a time of racial sensitivity.

After we watched the movie, which Maggie has already posted, race became a big part of the discussion. However, one of the teachers pointed out that in the tale the race of the lady, whom Phoenix asked to tie her shoe, is not mentioned. We are only assuming the lady's race and assume that the movie adaptation is correct. This point lead to a discussion that we must teach our students to rely on the text and not on the movie adaptation.

This list includes other ways to teach Eudora Welty's text.
  • Discuss the baggage associated with using race-related words, like "black" and "white."
  • Before beginning a text, which can have a negative impact on the discussion, a teacher should emphasize the power of words.
  • Focus on the sense of family and compare the types of family Eudora tends to write about.
  • Look at A Worn Path, remove the aspects of "having a purpose from the story. Have students rewrite the story by creating a parable.
  • Emphasize the historical background of each text before teaching a specific text.
  • Identify a character in one of the text, like the nurse in A Worn Path. Using the character sketch created by the author, have students create a new story from that character's point of view.

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