Response Paper #1 – Fall 2018

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Note:  This is the first of 9 Response Papers students in ENG 647 (African-American Literature) are required to submit.  Each week, I will post my submission.   More about my experience at Ball State University can be found here.

Shared Oppression:  Harper’s “The Two Offers” and Wells’s “from A Red Record”

The literature authored by African-American women in the second half of the nineteenth century generated a new platform of discourse to a undeterred, growing and audience of slaves, former slaves, and abolitionists.  Two selections from that era share one penetrating theme: that women have an obligation–one that is arguably stronger than that of men–to lift one another up from oppression. In Frances E. W. Harper’s “The Two Offers” (1859),  the advice given from one character was not heeded and was ultimately regretted by the other character, though this fictitious scenario is obviously presented as a warning to young female readers. Secondly, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, in Part One of A Red Record (1895), highlights the white women of the post-Emancipation era who offered educational services for former slaves.  Both selections expose this natural bond and instinctive desire to assist those who are clearly at a social- or educational disadvantage.  Of course, writers highlighting benevolent actions was nothing new; however, women being on both ends of this benevolence emerged as a new trope in literature and social commentary.  Both of these writers address this in a forward-looking fashion and do not dwell on past generations where men held all of the power among the land and within the home.

“The Two Offers” presents a moral dilemma for a potential bride who has two suitors that, after the first few paragraphs, feels ordinary.  However, Harper’s exquisite narrative style siphons into the past and explores how each woman in the opening scene has developed and secured her stance on this dilemma.  By presenting a deep, detailed backstory to both Laura (the “bride”) and her cousin Janette, the reader is alloted enough background to grasp the two distinguishable perspectives on the immediate conflict of having two men offer marriage.  By relinquishing key pieces of information about each of these two characters, Harper directly points to their opposing views and expresses how one’s moral compass is a direct result of her upbringing. Again, while a child’s rearing resulting in his actions of adulthood had long been a common technique in literature, focusing on a woman’s girlhood had yet to become mainstream.   

Because Janette’s mother was uneducated about her deceased husband’s business dealings, Janette’s family status plummeted after her father’s unexpected death.  Here, Harper is cleverly exhibiting the backlash of ignorance in the sudden event of a husband’s absence. After her mother passed as well, this now poverty-stricken young woman lacked anything resembling a support system and was motivated to work harder than ever to emerge in adulthood as someone whose challenges in childhood led to her “position in the literary world”.  It should also be noted that skin tone was not at all the focal point within this story. Thus, Harper’s focus is not that of just black women lifting up and advising others about love and marriage; rather, her focus seems to be for all women to see their options clearly.  As opposed to Laura, who is described as being her husband’s “prize” and “title-deed”, Janette’s bold independence becomes the pummeling, inspirational theme for female readers and an obvious stance against standard gender roles for male readers.  

As one of the foremost post-Civil War black female journalists, Ida B. Wells-Barnett fully understood that presenting inspirational material to an audience was far more beneficial than focusing solely on the horrible negatives of the era.  A Red Record includes a short passage in Part One concerning the “divine sentiment” of white Northern women to go to the South and educate ex-slaves.  This motherly gesture was, to Wells, an act of “heroism” which was essentially ignored, or at least not worthy of being “cheered”, by southern white men.  Embedded within a series of supported facts and perspectives on how America has adjusted since The Emancipation, Wells applies the three tenets of effective rhetoric: ethos, pathos, and logos.  Sharing the bravery of white women traveling to the South for the sole purpose of helping raise the educational levels of ex-slaves is presented as honorable (though she notes these women were identified by Southern whites often with unkind terms).  Asserting that anyone’s advancement in life is the direct result of one’s education–especially one’s literacy–continues and supports that sympathetic- or empathetic bond. Lastly, laying out the raw truth that the long-standing fear and subsequent false accusations of rape by black men handicapped an entire group’s progress logically results in the ongoing disparity among the races and the genders.  

Prior to this era, women’s voices and roles in society were extremely limited in the home and in print.  Each author, in her own manner, clearly desired to instill in her readers a fresh perspective of opportunity.  No longer should any woman believe that her place in life is second to that of a man. By exhibiting a character who enjoyed opportunities and a report of how no woman should believe she is literally on her own, Harper and Wells-Barnett helped solidify a new era in woman readership: the independent female.  

 

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IvyLearn F2F Training in Fort Wayne

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The IvyLearn superusers and LMS experts have begun training at multiple campuses in Region 3 (Fort Wayne)!  Candy S. recently sent invitations to many upcoming training sessions.  Faculty, adjuncts, and staff can also contact one of the superusers to set up a time to train one on one.

Go to the Superuser List (statewide) to access the superuser list for Region 3 or any other region.

Date/Time

Topics

Location

SuperUsers / LMS Experts

Tuesday

March 7

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 1: Basic Navigation, Profile Set Up, and Notification Adjustments, Syllabus Updates

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 7

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Coliseum Campus

CC2366

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 7

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Tuesday

March 7

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

Frank Garro

Thursday

March 9

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 1: Basic Navigation, Profile Set Up, and Notification Adjustments, Syllabus Updates

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 9

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Tech Center

TC1400

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 9

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Thursday

March 9

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

Phyllis Wiegmann

Date/Time

Topics

Location

Tuesday

March 21

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 1: basic navigation, how to add content, vocabulary, and basic functionality

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 21

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Tech Center

TC1480

Heather Copen

Tuesday

March 21

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level II- IvyLearn Transitioning Content/Uplifting

Coliseum Campus

CC2374

David Jones

Heather Copen

Frank Garro

Thursday

March 23

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Faculty Connection- The Grading Center

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 23

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Level II- IvyLearn Transitioning Content/Uplifting

Tech Center

TC1400

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 23

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Tech Center

TC 1480

Heather Copen

Thursday

March 23

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level I- IvyLearn Fundamentals: Basic navigation, how to add content, vocabulary, and basic functionality

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

Nicole Treesh

Phyllis Wiegmann

Date/Time

Topics

Location

Tuesday

March 28

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content:

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 28

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Faculty Connection- The Grading Center:

Coliseum Campus

CC2366

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 28

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Tuesday

March 28

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content:

Coliseum Campus

CC2374

Theo Eagleson

Heather Copen

Frank Garro

Phyllis Wiegmann

Thursday

March 30

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Steve Lively

Thursday

March 30

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Tech Center

TC1400

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Steve Lively

Thursday

March 30

12:00-1:00 PM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Thursday

March 30

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

David Jones

Theo Eagleson

Nicole Treesh

Phyllis Wiegmann

Canvas – A new LMS at Ivy Tech Community College

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This will be brief, and it’s really intended for a very specific audience out there.  I am one of about 80-100 full-time faculty members from Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana who will be asked to lead training seminars with other faculty and staff throughout the state.  We are a state-wide college with campuses in over a dozen main campuses around the state.

Our college is switching from BlackBoard to Canvas in the coming months.  If anyone out there has college/university experience with Canvas and would like to offer information that might be useful for me, my department and other colleagues, I would greatly appreciate it.

Specifically, I would like to hear what students and faculty (adjunct or full-time) like and dislike about Canvas.  Feel free to post comments below or send me an email.

Teachers: Discourage White Letters!

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Teachers: I was just reminded of something I recently learned from one of my college freshmen: Students have been (and will continue to do so) writing X amount of nonsense words at the end of an essay, then change the font color to white. This means the word count you see (grade?) will be larger than what they actually constructed.

Of course this is ridiculous, but then again, so is assigning a word-count minimum (in my opinion).

We need to stop the “easy-to-grade/penalize” mentality of counting words, correcting spelling, and writing in missing commas. Instead, work with young people to develop their thoughts in a clear and organized manner.

If you are reading this and you plan to use this in a future paper or assignment, please re-consider.  Your teacher may dock you for not meeting some arbitrary number he/she established, but you can continue in life knowing that not every one of your readers will concern himself/herself with how many words you can write.

When it comes to your words, quality will always outweigh quantity.

2017 Reading Challenge Book List

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What a great idea! I plan to create my t0-read list (2017 and beyond) from this! Thank you!

Alyce M. Thistle

A book 500 pages or longer: Outlander
A classic Romance: The Princess of Cleves
A book that became a movie: The English Patient
A book published this year:
A book with a number in the title: One Plus One
A book written by someone younger than 30: Evelina
A book with Non-human characters: The Graveyard Book
A funny book: Babbitt
A book written by a female: Mill on the Floss
A Mystery/Thriller: The Woman in Cabin 10
A book with a one world title: Plainsong
A book of short stories: Everything that rises must converge
A book set in another country:
A non-fiction book: Dead Wake
A popular author’s first book: Trainspotting
A book written by an author you love: The Ocean at the end of the lane
A recommended book: Vile Bodies
A Pulitzer prize winner: The Age of Innocence
A book based on a true story: Blonde
A…

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New Junk – jus’ ‘cuz

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I’m now going to flip to one of my notebooks and find something for writing inspiration:

Here’s what I found:

“host a dinner party—rude guest gets a bill”

“Billing William” – an impromptu poem

It was salty but it felt right

When I excused myself

From my own party

From my own table

–The one my ex picked out but my 2nd thinks I bought myself–Shh!

I tore a sheet

Out of this old notebook I keep

It was meant for story notes, or words about spring, or love

But it turned out to be random comments about the shit on TV

Or the twits at work

And one gut-punching letter I once wrote when I was a dad-to-be for a few weeks

But this time, I got super snarky.

William was invited

Though I should have known this might happen.

He sucks when he drinks–literally and street-talk-ly

He’s worse than Sober Will

No willpower powers Will

Enough, I tell myself.  Focus.

I stared at my own eyes in the upstairs bathroom

And made horizontal lines on the page.

His shit comments during dinner.  Passive aggressively telling me well done

Erases flavor, and that all cooks say it’s so.

The meal we prepared was well received by everyone else.

And Gwen didn’t seem to care that Baron lit up without asking.

But Bill and his shit comments pushed me.  High road no more.

 

The steak was about ten bucks

The veggies a little less

Let’s call it seventeen-fifty

And that’s a modest guess

I smile at the bill I’ve made for Bill and his bulbous gut,

He’s not amused, feels abused, then slams my front door shut.

 

You did what, Gwen asks, and I give her the truth

Baron smacks his knee and unknowingly ashes on the carpet

That had been installed a week earlier.

 

Dessert? I suggest, but no one’s interested.

Suddenly, the house feels eerily empty without Will’s shit comments.

Who’s the new dolt if the old one’s gone?