Monday, March 17, 2014

Exploring Hispanic Literature: Cisneros and Soto

In teaching English 111, I like to have the students analyze a variety of short stories exploring various genres and cultures.  For a sampling of Hispanic literature, I have chosen Sandra Cisneros' "The Storyteller," and Gary Soto's "One Last Time," both of which are found in our textbook, The Blair Reader.  I have students work in pairs in order to explore the following discussion questions:

  The Storyteller” by Sandra Cisneros

1. Evaluate the “hook” of this essay. Effective? Why, or why not?

2. Cisneros' father is an opinionated man. Use the text to prove this point.

3. Cisneros makes use of the senses in her writing. Use the text to prove the use of the following senses.




4. Give an example of a metaphor in the reading. Significance?

5. Cisneros discusses the importance of a conclusion. Does her conclusion fill her own requirements of an effective conclusion? Why, or why not?

6. Although Cisneros is writing largely about past events in her own life, she often uses third person and present tense. Where does she use first person? Where does she use third person? Explain the significance of these shifts in her writing.

One Last Time” by Gary Soto
1. Explain the “hook” Soto uses in his essay. Effective? Why, or why not?

2. What can you infer from, “Mother also found herself out there when she was separated from Father for three weeks” (P 2)? Significance? How do you know your inference is true? Use the text to prove your position.

3. Why does Mother drive in silence while Gary “rambled on . . .” (P 3)? Use the text to prove your position.

4. Explain the significance of the knife in this essay. Prove this significance with use of the text.

5. Find three similes in this essay. Significance?

6. How does Soto show respect for his mother? Explain.

7. Give some examples from the text where Soto judges others. Thoughts?

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