But all they want to do/ is tie the poem to a chair with rope/ and torture a
confession out of it….
From “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins

Hanging Fire by Audre Lorde
I am fourteen
and my skin has betrayed me
the boy I cannot live without
still sucks his thumb
in secret
how come my knees are
always so ashy
what if I die
before the morning comes
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.

I have to learn how to dance
in time for the next party
my room is too small for me
suppose I die before graduation
they will sing sad melodies
but finally
tell the truth about me
There is nothing I want to do
and too much
that has to be done
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.

Nobody even stops to think
about my side of it
I should have been on Math Team
my marks were better than his
why do I have to be
the one
wearing braces
I have nothing to wear tomorrow
will I live long enough
to grow up
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.

Will you please tell me:
Who is speaking in the poem?
The poem is being spoken by a young girl.
How are they speaking to the reader?
The girl is speaking to the reader in first person because, in parts of the poem she says things like “I”.
What do you think this poem is about?
I think this poem is about a young teenage girl and her insecurities. She talks about how people don’t even stop to listen to what its like for her. She speaks about that in there. (What is “that in there?”)
What is the speaker worried about?
She is worried about not being able to dance at the next party, or having new clothes. She is worried about her appearance. (Can you describe this worry in a general way, rather than giving examples?  What do all of the examples together mean?)
What else can you figure out about the state of mind of the writer?
She is very cautious. She worries a lot about what people think of her, and is always trying to change herself. (Change herself for what reason?)
Why does the poet repeat “and momma’s in the bedroom with the door closed?”
I think it means that while everything is going on in her life, she feels that her mother is closing her off, and she has no one to talk to about it. (Give me one word to describe her emotions.)
What do you think you know about the poet after reading this poem? What
specifically in the poem reveals their character/emotions/fears?
Maybe her life growing up wasn’t that great, that she had some hard times. She feared what people thought of her, and wanted to be almost like a perfect person.
Do you ever feel like the writer of this poem?
I feel like her sometimes. When i feel like i need to newest clothes to look good, or i feel like i should have gotten something that i didn’t. (Is a small i the way this pronoun written?  We are not texting in this assignment.)
Where does the poet use language in surprising ways?
I did not see any language used in surprising ways.
Is the poet complaining? Why or why not?
In a way she is complaining, but in a way she isn’t. She talks about how no one listens to her side, and how she should have been on the math team instead of him. That sounds like complaining, but in a way she is just telling her story.
Is there conflict in this poem? Is it internal or external? How do we know?
There is conflict in this poem. Its is internal conflict. She is basically in conflict with herself. Fighting about how she should look, how she should act and be. (Where do these “shoulds” come from?)
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I just finished reading a book called “Swan Town” by Michael J. Ortiz. It is a book written in the point of view of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna.

I think the author wrote this book because he wanted something new and different out there. I don’t think there are many books written from his daughters point of view. You always here about Shakespeare and what a great writer he was, but you don’t really hear or learn anything about his family, or how they lived while he was away in London working. The theme of the book, I think, is really telling what it might be like to be Shakespeare’s daughter. It tells about the way life for her and her family was, about how her little brother died, and the sacrifice her uncle made. Although it may not be exactly correct of how she lived, its a good way to get a feel of it.

Mom says, let’s read Ann Rinaldi’s story based on the legend of Tempe Wick.

The Revolutionary War is raging. General Wayne’s soldiers are freezing, underpaid, and resentful. Whispers of mutiny abound.   A stone’s throw from the restless camp, Tempe Wick wages her own battle for survival. Despite her efforts, she fears she won’t be able to feed her family, care for her ailing mother, or maintain her farm for long.  As the whispers get louder, the soldiers get bolder. Mutiny is imminent. And Tempe faces a gut-wrenching decision: Should she join the revolt? (review by goodreads)

And answer these questions in a different color.  Entire sentences and correct spelling (does dribbling count in basketball?)

1.  Civil wars divide families.  How has it divided the families in this story?

2.  Abraham tells Mary that compromise is a necessary commodity, but not all the characters agree.  How do Mary, Tempe, and General Wayne feel about compromise?  How do you feel about it?  When should you compromise, and when should you stand firm?

3.  What does Mary mean when she says that everyone is part and parcel of the whole of their life experiences?  In what ways have your life experiences determined who you are now?

4.  Mary tells Henry, “Sometimes it helps to air old ills in the sunlight.”  What does she mean?

5.  Tempe believes that a persons”s motives do not matter as much as their actions.  Do you think one is more important than the other?  Why?

6.  In what ways might Henry’s living as a lunatic make his life easier?  Harder?

7.  Abraham advises Mary that “those closest to the problem cannot see the solution.”  Do you think this is true?  Who can you turn to when you have a problem?

8.  In his letter to Mary, Abraham says,”I choose to look at the past fondly and to the future with hope.”  Why might he choose to see things this way?  How should he handle his unhappy memories?