I was in law school just after this book was published by Professor Lawson of the University of Kentucky School of Law. I read the book instead of lawI was in law school just after this book was published by Professor Lawson of the University of Kentucky School of Law. I read the book instead of law texts in criminal law and became more interested in the genre of nonfiction books about fires than law itself.
In fact, his class made me quit law school. I was one of only four women in a class where the men routinely made such pronouncements as: "Rapists should not be prosecuted. Women always ask for it." I hope such statements don't go unchallenged today, but Southern women were too frightened then to speak up. I moved to the Graduate School in the department of English and found my calling: I became a teacher instead of a lawyer.
I still read books about fires. When I was a child, my father told me about observing the Winecoff Hotel fire in Atlanta while he worked across the street at a movie theater. His experience watching first responders led him to join the Atlanta Police Department that winter. Each year my older daughter finds a book about fires I have not yet read. This book remains one of my favorites. ...more
I first read the novel in an African-American literature class at the University of Kentucky in the 1980s. I was the only white student in a class tauI first read the novel in an African-American literature class at the University of Kentucky in the 1980s. I was the only white student in a class taught by a black professor and students who had all faced racism in ways that I only viewed as a spectator.
I found the book difficult to talk about there. Most of the class I felt myself apologizing for my race and willingly taken the brunt of the criticism thrown at me as the representative of it. For more than 30 years since I was in that class, I have not wanted to return to the experience. The novel disturbed me on a deeply soulful level; the course shaped my future views about race and my responsibility to talk painful topics with my students often through the lens of a white girl growing up in a turbulent 1960s South, specifically Atlanta, as the daughter of an Atlanta city policeman and the great-great granddaughter of slave owners, shaped by an emerging sense of the indecency of segregation, of the experience of desegregation of schools in the late Sixties, of identifying myself as Scout Finch, and of having the first sleepover in my school--where both black girls and white girls were invited, but all of the white girls' mothers kept them home.
Sometimes I have been criticized for addressing controversial issues in my classroom. Stick to facts, I have been told. But I want my students to question their beliefs, the status quo. Thinking is dangerous, and it my responsibility to make them think. This year my AP students will be reading this novel. It won't be easy for them or for me, but I believe it will be worth it--especially now. ...more
The book was life changing for me. The first time I read a chapter a week and practiced the skills. Now I read and re-read and have shared the techniqThe book was life changing for me. The first time I read a chapter a week and practiced the skills. Now I read and re-read and have shared the techniques with my stressed high school students. ...more
I love this grammar text. Finally, a grammar book shows students not just the elements of grammar, but how grammar makes texts sing. One of my favoritI love this grammar text. Finally, a grammar book shows students not just the elements of grammar, but how grammar makes texts sing. One of my favorite aspects of the text is that the authors have taken care to use the techniques in their own writing: Sentences actually explain the concepts using the grammatical structures the authors are teaching. Astute readers are in on the playful syntax. It is perfect for high school students in an AP English course or a college freshman grammar course. ...more
I keep patting myself on the back for having the prescience to assign this book for summer reading in 2016 for my AP English Language and CompositionI keep patting myself on the back for having the prescience to assign this book for summer reading in 2016 for my AP English Language and Composition course. I cannot wait to hear the discussions of demagoguery in the novel, in history, and in the current presidential race. Shout out to TCM for showing the 1949 film earlier this year when the idea came to me and before the nominees were decided. The book is worth reading for anyone interested in political manipulation; rhetoric; race, class, gender, and the human condition. Warren's prose is flawless. His development of the character of Willie Stark, who is rarely in the foreground of the narrative, is still omnipresent in the book. It is as if his larger than life image dominates the story as he does the politics of the state, yet the narrator Jack Burden is, in fact, the protagonist. The novel's background as a veiled story of Huey Long and its foreshadowing of the politicians to come is brilliant. The story-within-a-story of Cass Mastern could be taught as an excerpt. ...more