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Gender Roles and Rhetoric

Page history last edited by Russell 8 years, 10 months ago


Embedded in these lessons is the RESEARCH PAPER as well


Thu, Mar 31


DUE TODAY: Hard copy of research paper

HOMEWORK: Bring your most recent college app essay

FOCUS: Vocab, a brief history of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the Great Awakening


Vocab quiz!


Paper due!


Pwrpt to introduce "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress"


Wed, Mar 30



HOMEWORK: Finish up, polish off, and submit the research paper

  • Turnitin.com
  • Paper copy to Mr. Rice
  • Electronic copy emailed to Mr. Rice

FOCUS: Final revisions


Today we are in the computer lab for the last work day on the research paper. Today is about identifying what areas need work before the final product is submitted. Questions and ideas for revision are posted on the Research Project page under "Revision Info" 


NOTES: When you login to TURNITIN, don't worry if you're still in the class for last semester. I did not shift anyone from first to fifth or fifth to first, even if you physically moved from one class to the other at semester. You will find assignments for the College App Essay, the BIG RESEARCH PAPER, and under that, a "PeerMark" assignment. This new feature allows you to read papers from other students and make comments. Don't worry - your comments will not determine their grade. Your comments only help the student determine to what extent their paper is truly a finished product. I have set the system to ASSIGN YOU one random paper from the class, YOU SELECT one paper, and then you REVIEW YOUR OWN as well.




Tue, Mar 29



HOMEWORK: Research paper

FOCUS TODAY: Research questions/clarifications, an article about getting into college


Items of note from yesterday's assembly:

  • Everything posted/sent/transmitted is permanent, even when deleted
  • Check your privacy settings on social networking sites

Items of note regarding research 

  • Page length is determined by the body of your paper only, NOT including cover sheet and references
  • How do you reference an interview? Look up your answer at one of the sites covering APA
  • How do you embed a video? Try the "Help" menu in MSWord. If you can't, then provide the link AND tell the reader what time slot to view for the specific info relevant to the discussion.
  • CAUTION: No reader will watch a three minute or longer video, so don't expect it.
  • Not enough non-free-web sources? Fix it. The requirements for sources have been posted since before we began the research.
  • Formatting questions? Check the sites w/ APA help.

Article: "How to get your kid into the Ivy League" from the book "Crazy U" by Andrew Ferguson

  • Immediate reactions
  • Long-term effects and ramifications
  • Rhetorical quality 



Mon, Mar 28



HOMEWORK: Research Essay Edits/Modifications

FOCUS: Peer Review


NOTE: Today is an assembly schedule (bullying)


The peer review session in class is covered in detail on the Research Project page under "Peer Review"



Fri, Mar 25




Latest Info:

FOCUS: Writing with rhetorical strategies


Honors English 11 Prompt - 25 Minutes

You have noticed in the news a series of stories about teens behaving badly. The subjects of these stories have begun to give teens in the community a poor reputation due to their immature behavior. You decide to write an editorial for the local newspaper, with the intended audience the parents of any teen. The title of your editorial is, “How to Know Your Child Is No Longer a Child.”

Within your editorial, fulfill the promise of the title. Consider our discussions and readings the past four days.

Within your editorial, include purposeful, clear, effective use of at least a few items below:

  • Anaphora
  • Use of long or short sentences for effect
  • Symbol
  • Diction that emphasizes the connotation of a word
  • Pathos, Ethos, Logos


Thu, Mar 24


DUE TODAY: Response to yesterday's prompt

HOMEWORK: Research paper

FOCUS: Tone, milestones, childhood vs. adulthood



(A Venn Diagram is Probably Best, but a 3-Column Table Will Do)

For Men

For All

For Women

Get first job


Eagle Scout

Promotion (mgmt.)



Graduating HS

Driver License

First car






Feel part of something

Child arrival

18 – vote



Moving out

First house

A pet

First grandchild

Lose virginity

First bank account/paychk


Giving birth (first child)

Sweet Sixteen

First romance/kiss


Girl Scout Gold Medal





  • Which of these milestones demarcate the line between childhood and adulthood?
  • To what extent can the milestones you’ve chosen be “ranked?” In other words, is “moving out” more of a shift to adulthood than say, “driver license?”
  • Do any definitely indicate the shift to adulthood, or is being a true man or woman something different?


Poem in class: Lucille Clifton’s “wishes for sons”


Overview: A female narrator/speaker talks of the “wishes” she has for sons, mentioning uncomfortable and embarrassing situations and events in the life of a woman, including early and late periods, blood clots, and menopause. In the last stanza, the speaker mentions arrogance among male gynecologists.


  1. How would you characterize Clifton’s poem – sympathetic? Hostile? Identify an idea for the tone of the poem and support it w/ evidence.

Ideas: diabolical, hostile, mean, humorous, bitter, sinister

Notes: Does the speaker really want “them” in the poem to experience all the listed items? If not, then how can the poem’s tone be sinister or diabolical? Some bitterness is there, because there’s the sense that the gynecologists, who are supposed to be experts on women’s health, do not understand the challenges of women and even are arrogant about what they think they understand. Problem: The title is “wishes for sons” – why would a female speaker want her son to have these horrible experiences? Not so much the wish for her specific son. It’s a poem about misunderstanding. Men don’t understand the challenges of women, so the poet lists the things that are not normally discussed - these things that women have to put up with – things men can’t possibly relate to. So she just wishes that all young men would grow up understanding the unspoken challenges of womanhood. Conclusion: The tone can’t be sinister – it’s not serious wishing. But it is serious wishing, because how else could men really understand unless they experience these things themselves?

  1. How would you paraphrase or interpret the final lines?

let them think they have accepted

arrogance in the universe,

then bring them to gynecologists

not unlike themselves.


Possibility: “Let them believe they have learned to deal with arrogance and ego, then take them to gynecologists (who are even more arrogant) who believe they understand.”


  1. The poem, including the title, has no capital letters. But it does have periods. What other rhythms does it have?

Idea: The periods might signify periods in a woman’s life. They don’t occur in the poem with regularity, and that might parallel how many women don’t have reliable periods (cycles). Another idea is the one that women go through different periods of life at different times – like pregnancy or menopause happens at different times for different women. What about the lack of capital letters? Does the lower case “i” seem to mean anything visually? Hmmmm


Wed, Mar 23


DUE TODAY: Responses to Wright "The Man Who Was ..."


  • Up to one page: Has an event in your life pushed you into manhood or womanhood? If not, what kind of event will do it? Explain fully.

FOCUS: Symbol, the question of the difference between a man and boy


NEW VOCABULARY taken from Pollitt, Sanders, and Wright:

  1. robust
  2. prenatal
  3. cognitive
  4. hoopla
  5. differentiate
  6. innate
  7. tentative
  8. ambivalent
  9. heirarchy
  10. ideology
  11. inculcate
  12. marginal
  13. finicky
  14. savvy
  15. potent
  16. slog
  17. grievance
  18. scrimp
  19. fret (not the guitar type)
  20. baffle
  21. sprawl
  22. muster
  23. "play possum"
  24. queer (not the sexual meaning) 


DISCUSSION: Questions surrounding the character Dave in Wright's story 

  • Opener: Is Dave ever a man in the story? If so, when? If not, why not?


SYMBOL: The question of Dave's gun and a poem by Billy Collins called "The Lanyard" 


Tue, Mar 22


DUE TODAY: Bring your top ten potential sources!


  • Now that you know about how to evaluate sources, take this heavily into consideration when deciding where to rest your paper! (Not too much bias!)
  • Finish the prompts for the Richard Wright short story 

FOCUS: Computer Lab for Research!




Mon, Mar 21


DUE TODAY: n/a - have you been doing your research?


  • Continue on the Richard Wright reading 
  • Bring a list of your top ten research sources to class tomorrow - we'll "test" them
  • Google Docs account? Get it going! Then you can work easily at home or school on the rsch project

FOCUS TODAY:  Read the Richard Wright short story in the packet and begin the prompts. Feel free to work together.


Richard Wright prompts (3 from the packet, plus two additional)

  1. Why does Dave place such emphasis on owning a gun?
  2. Do you assume that at the end of hte story Dave is a man, or that he is only an immature boy who may come to a sad end? Explain.
  3. Does the title strike you as odd? Would "The Boy Who Was Almost a Man" be more appropriate?
  4. At what points in the story is Dave certainly NOT a man? Are there points when he IS?
  5. Explore the gun as a symbol. What does it symbolize for Dave? For others?


Take home the "Tests of Evidence" (.doc) handout and begin examining your sources. Decide which sources are strongest based on the tests outlined. DO NOT wind up with a "Works Cited" page that has a preponderance of author-free sources. 


Here is an extra copy (.doc) of the Test of Evidence Worksheet (with the ratings of 1, 2, 3)


Fri, Mar 18



  • Test corrections for Antigone 
  • Timed write by end of period


  • Research in earnest, compiling a list of potential sources, noting the benefits each source brings
  • Start comprehending an OUTLINE to your research paper 
  • Save Richard Wright's "The Man Who Was Almost A Man" for Monday

FOCUS: Writing about rhetorical devices


We will explore Sanders' use of rhetorical devices further, then have a timed QUIZ.


Hint: Study the purpose of anaphora and review logos, pathos, ethos 


Thu, Mar 17


DUE TODAY: Sanders responses


  • Edit Sanders responses, Pollitt responses 
  • Review Pollitt and Sanders for rhetorical devices and their purpose

FOCUS: thesis, anaphora, parallelism, anecdote, causal relationships


Review of Pollitt, per the notes from two classes ago (see below)


Discussion of Sanders - issues:


  • To what extent is the article about gender? Class? Wealth?
  • Quick exploration of Sanders prompts 


Wed, Mar 16


DUE TODAY: Top two choices for research topic


  • Finish responses to Sanders
  • Continue uncovering sources for research paper

FOCUS: Research on PROQUEST and other "pay" databases




The MAIN POINT: Don't rely on the "free web" to get reliable, objective, relevant data for your research. Use instead the databases available through the library system that have already vetted the articles and their sources.

  1. Available through the Pierce County Library System:
    • eLibrary
    • Proquest
    • Opposing Viewpoints
    • Searchasaurus
    • Student Research Center 
  2. Available through the SHS Library
    • eLibrary
    • Proquest 



Tue, Mar 15


DUE TODAY: Reading responses to Pollitt


  • Read Sanders, begin response questions DUE IN TWO DAYS
  • Make a final decision on your top two choices for RESEARCH

FOCUS: Strategies in rhetoric and composition, selecting a good research topic


Discussion on Pollitt: "Why Boys Don't Play with Dolls"


Items to notice:

  • Pollitt does not use a formal thesis statement at the start of her essay. Instead, she poses a title that begs explanation, and in her final sentence, proposes the answer to the inferred question.
    • Thesis - the sentence or group of sentences that directly expresses the author's opinion, meaning, or proposition
  • Pollitt uses purposeful repeitition and broken expectation of repetition for effect. 
    • Anaphora - repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row. This is a deliberate form of repetition and through emphasis helps make the writer's point more coherent. 
    • "Could it be ... that if their sons wanted to spend the weekend writing up their diaries, or reading, or baking, they'd find it too disturbing? Too antisocial? Too lonely? Too gay?"
      • Here, she repeats to emphasize the ascending levels of disturbing behavior in her image. No parent wants to see "disturbing" behavior in a child. The same for antisocial, lonely behavior. However, to make her overall point in this section of the essay - that even "liberal" parents are not as "free-thinking" as they would like to believe - she saves "gay" for last. "Gay" is a label that means you will still be seen as an outsider in society based on sexual preference. To many parents, this moniker brings too much "baggage." By repeating the word "Too" at the beginning, Pollitt emphasizes each condition in turn, making us consider them separately until she challenges us most at the end.
    • "Theories of innate differences in behavior are appealing. They let parents off the hook ... They allow grown-ups to take the path of least resistance ... They let families buy for their children ..."
      • By adopting the pronoun "They" Pollitt simplifies each assertion about "theories of innate differences in behavior." She does force the reader to remember to what each "They" refers, but by replacing the six words with one, she greatly streamlines her writing and moves the reader along through the examples. 
    • "A girl with a doll and a boy with a truck 'explain' why men are from Mars and women are from Venus, why wives do housework and husbands just don't understand." 
      • Parallelism - refers to the grammatical or rhetorical framing of words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs to give structural similarity 
      • Here there is an expectation of parallel structure where "wives do housework" would be followed with "husbands do ..." However, Pollitt breaks the construction for effect. She has just finished explaining why even scientific studies cannot provide simple answers to the question of gender image and gender roles. A simple statement like "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" simplifies gender even further. Then, at the end of the sentence, instead of a formal parallel structure, she breaks the structure with a stereotypical phrase heard from women "complaining" - that "husbands just don't understand." Imagine a smirk on her face, and a desire for one to be on yours as well.
  • Pollitt's anecdote about the Barbie doll given at the birthday sets up her argument that even people who consider themselves against reinforcement or outright support of "traditional" gender roles do in fact knowingly support and reinforce those roles.
    • Anecdote - a story or brief episode told by the writer or a character to illustrate a point
  • Pollitt's essay discusses possible causal relationships. She does not aim to answer exactly how gender identity is created. She proposes that is too complex to undertake, and any simple answer is just that - too simplistic. However, she does suggest that there are influences that affect gender identity.
    • Causal relationship - a writer asserts that one thing results from another. To show how one thing produces or brings about another is often relevant in establishing a logical argument. 


Discussion of the RESEARCH PROJECT


Mon, Mar 14


DUE  TODAY: Ready for the quiz?


  • Answer the reading response prompts for Pollitt: "Why Boys Don't Play with Dolls" in Reading Packet One
  • Prepare for discussion

FOCUS: Vocab study, preparation for research


Challenge vocab quiz for 100 SAT words


"Bridge" lecture taking us from "Antigone" to a quick study of rhetoric in the unit: "Gender Study: Making Men and Women"


Reading Packet One (texts only available in class, writer bios only available online):

  • Katha Pollitt: "Why Boys Don't Play With Dolls"
  • Scott Russell Sanders: "The Men We Carry in Our Minds ... and How They Differ from the Real Lives of Most Men"
  • Richard Wright: "The Man Who Was Almost a Man"


Thu, Mar 10




 FOCUS: In-class write and test


First, the in-class timed write set at 25 minutes (same as SAT) in which you will analyze the rhetorical devices in a selected speech


Then, the traditional final exam/quiz on Antigone





  • Study your SAT vocab for the challenge quiz on Monday
  • Come up with three options for the research unit that would qualify under this statement:
    • Explore an issue that will have lasting effects and implications for the community, state, nation, and/or world. In your exploration provide an overview of the history of the issue, its current state, and its likely long-term effects. You are required to use a broad range of media to support arguments and positions
    • To explore topics, go to the "Helpful Links for All Students" page and scroll down to the list of news outlets and sources


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