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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

14. Becoming Visible

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities

Paule Marshall - Author Questions

Back Back to Paule Marshall Activities
  1. Comprehension: What kinds of pressures contributed to the divorce between Reena and her husband?

  2. Comprehension: Of the stories discussed in Unit 14, "Reena," in which a writer hears about an old friend's life, covers the broadest landscape and the longest expanse of time. Does "Reena" hold together as a short story? How does the narrator create coherence in her account of Reena's adventures?

  3. Comprehension: In what ways is "Reena" a universal story about women in America, rather than an exploration of the lives of urban African American women?

  4. Context: "Reena" ends with a long overview of the modern African American experience, a sequence of paragraphs from Reena herself that read at times like an opinion piece in a newspaper. Comment on how effective you find this overview as the ending to a short story.

  5. Context: Reena and the narrator, who is also African American, speak to each other in dialect only infrequently, and only when they are being ironic. Otherwise, their exchanges are in an English more standard than that used by Malamud's or Paley's characters. Why might Marshall have these intimate friends talk to each other in this way?

  6. Exploration: Compare Marshall's style of writing in "Reena" with the styles of other African American writers, such as Hughes, Hurston, Wright, Brooks, Morrison, and Walker. What is so comfortable and familiar about the way Marshall composes her art?

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