STUDY GUIDE #1:
*When analyzing/interpreting literature, learn to always support your ideas with a specific example from the literature itself as evidence.
“Marriage is a Private Affair”
1. Examine the title. What do you think Chinua Achebe meant by it?
2. There are many conflicts within the story: generational, cultural, and regional. Discuss.
3. What are the father’s beliefs? Where do they stem from? Are they sexist?
4. Do you think the rain near the end of the story is symbolic? Explain.
5. Is Achebe making any rhetorical arguments within the story?
1. Characterize the father and his behavior. What do you think is motivating him to behave as he does? Do you think the son should have said something to him about his behavior? Explain.
2. Notice the language used in the story. Examine the father’s use of dialogue. Examine the son’s use of dialogue. What does the dialogue reveal? Discuss.
3. Were you surprised by the last line of the story? Explain.
4. Can you make any connections or contrasts between “Marriage is a Private Affair” and “Reunion?” Discuss.
1. How does the contrast in the daughter and mother’s actions reflect different generations? Discuss.
2. Are there any cultural or class representation revealed in the details of the poem? Discuss.
3. Is the ending of the poem justified? What does Julia Alvarez mean by the last word used in the poem? Does this reveal the speaker’s attitude toward her mother? Explain.
“For My Father”
1. Janice Mirikitani uses setting and metaphor to express her thoughts and memory. How does setting and metaphor affect your reading of this poem? Discuss.
2. What is the tone of the poem? Happy, sad, glad, angry, hopeful, etc.? Is it justified? Explain.
3. Did you figure out what Mirikitani is writing about in this poem? Hint: do research and look up Tule Lake. Then discuss how this information affects your reading of the poem.
Can you relate to any of the literature? If so, discuss and explain.
For study guide 1 read the following and answer the questions:
“Marriage is a Private Affair” by Chinua Achebe.
“Reunion” by John Cheever
“Dusting” by Julia Alvarez
“For My Father” by Janice Mirikitani