Before teaching Marshall, have students record an oral history. Instruct them to inconspicuously write down the topics, threads, and themes of a family conversation they overhear, or perhaps a conversation in a dorm or a lunchroom between friends. In addition, have them record the conversation at the same time that they are transcribing it and then compare what they have written to what was recorded. Have them then examine and analyze the dynamics of conversation in contrast to more formal types of communicating. Try to have them pluck out any serious themes or topics amidst all the casual conversation and remarks. Discuss how they write down colloquial or accented English when it is present.
To prepare for Marshall, have groups of students research both the history and the culture of Barbados in particular and Caribbean culture in general. Have them present their findings in class. Then, after they've read"Reena," have them discuss their research in relation to the story's use of characterization and setting.
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