Class Goals: Get main ideas and rehearse response to Nelson. Reinforces and develops skills in both summary and response.
Connection to Course Goals: Further reinforcement for the need to support and illustrate one's ideas in response (and summary) within this rhetorical context.
- WTL a summary of Nelson. (They can do this as a list or a paragraph or two, depending on how much time you want to allot.) (10 min.)
- Share summaries as a class discussion. Put main points on board or OH, or you may want to delegate a student to do this to get them more involved. (You could pick someone who is reluctant to talk, or who you feel needs to be "pulled into the fold" a bit).
(See grey-edged page 55 for suggestions of main ideas.)
Father's ill-defined "number one"/definition of success reveals our cultures' conflicting definitions of success.
Metaphoric significance of idea that "father's symbol for number one was. . . the sign for `fuck you'" (para. 9) and "Sunday breakfast" as "church" (paras. 9-10)
- What do you think is the significance of the fact that Nelson's father's symbol for "number one" was a raising of the middle finger? What does this tell us about her father and his beliefs?
- Does one symbolic family's success count for much if so many others have not succeeded? (paras. 16 and 21) What does Nelson think and why?
- Why does Nelson make a point of the fact that her father never really defined what it means to be "number one"?
Have them turn to the class compilation of people who they think exemplify the American dream.
- Are there a variety of types of people?
- Are there a variety of reasons why they are successful?
- Why is this? What does it say about the definition of success?
- Who is left out? What types of people are not represented on this list?
- Is it difficult for us to define the American dream in a concrete, singular answer, even though it is supposed to be a fixed and shared definition?
- Begin to generate this response by putting on board two headings: AGREE With THEIR DECISION and DISAGREE. Solicit reactions and put them in the appropriate columns.
- Would they lead them to the same conclusions Nelson drew?
- Why or why not?
Remember to ask for support:
- What led them to these conclusions? (Refer them to their homework for their responses).
Assignment: Read Dalton and respond briefly.
If you have extra time:
Comparison of experiences. Begin comparing Nelson's to Cruz's, then theirs to Nelson's.
Nelson/Cruz: both quit lucrative jobs for issues of personal integrity; like Cruz, Nelson's parents were "allowed to make it" because of a "quota system" (para. 19); both Cruz and Nelson resist being turned against other people of color (Nelson's father reminds her "`What we have, we have because 100,000 other black people haven't made it.'")
- What do Cruz in Nelson have in common?
- Why did they quite their jobs?
- Did they quit only for their own interests?
Questions for discussion or WTL:
- Do you think what Cruz and Nelson discuss is purely a racial issue, or is it an issue of class position that can affect anyone, regardless of race?
- How are class and race positions at odds for Cruz and Nelson?
- Are they for Soto?
- Do you think Cruz and Nelson were chumps for quitting their high-paying jobs?
- What would you do? Why? Examine your own values in relation to theirs.