Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TEWWG Non-fiction piece

Read the following article and answer the following questions as a comment. Your answers should be detailed and in complete sentences. You may want open as you read.

  1. What is Voodoo?
  2. What is Smith's thesis?
  3. Define syncretization.
  4. Why is Voodoo an appropriate religion for Hurston to draw from in Their Eyes?
  5. What are the two classes of Voodoo loa and how are they different?
  6. How does Hurston present Voodoo as a viable religion?
  7. Who is Erzulie Freda and in what ways does Janie resemble her, physically and otherwise?
  8. According to Smith, what is the significance of the pear tree?
  9. To what Voodoo figure is teacake compared and what is the significance?
  10. Why, according to Smith, does Teacake slap Janie?
  11. What, according to Metreaux, is the Voodoo concept of God and how/why does it fit with Hurston's message?
  12. According to Smith, how has Janie changed upon her return to Eatonville?
  13. Paraphrase Janie's lesson about the "importance of self-determination."
  14. According to Smith, what is the "alternate path to selfhood" embodied by Janie?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Socratic Seminar Prep

The Socratic Seminar for Their Eyes has been moved back to tomorrow in order to give you more time to prepare. Today, you will be creating a list of 20 guiding questions for tomorrow's discussion, which feed into one overarching question. You are to post this guide as a comment on the post you are reading now. In order to do that, click on the word "comment" at the bottom of this post.

Coming up with provocative questions is not easy, but it is a lot easier with an overarching question, which should:

1) Address a central theme of the book.
2) Place that theme within the context of the world in general, either now, at the time of the book's publishing, or both.

From there you craft questions (10 of which must refer to specific passages in the book) and "feed" into the larger question. For example:

What is the message of Their Eyes Were Watching God regarding the role of women and how does Hurston communicate that message?

1. Consider the scene by the pear tree on p. 10 and 11. What might Janie's experience be symbolizing in terms of the empowerment of women and sexuality.
You may work in pairs.