Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
Home About Unit Index Archive Book Club Site Search
5. Masculine Heroes   

16. The Search For Identity

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

Activities: Author Activities

Toni Cade Bambara - Teaching Tips

Back Back to Toni Cade Bambara Activities
  • While some students are uncomfortable talking about sexual scenes and issues in class, it is important to address this story's "shower scenes." You may want to isolate one of these scenes and read through it with the class, focusing on how Bambara parallels the music that Sweet Pea and Larry create together with their physical intimacy. It may be useful to note that although Sweet Pea seems sexually satisfied, she nonetheless decides that she needs to leave her relationship.

  • Discuss Sweet Pea's decision to leave her relationship with regard to some of the feminist images provided in this unit and on the American Passages Web site. For example, you could analyze her statements about personal independence in light of the following images: [6182] (Woman Power poster); [6190] (I Am a Woman Giving Birth to Myself); and [6191] (Women are Happening). Ask your students to think about Sweet Pea's struggle for self-determination as part of a larger women's movement represented in the posters.

  • While the narrative only briefly mentions the Vietnam War, Sweet Pea's comment about getting "that bloodsucker off our backs" could open the door to a discussion about how and why she identifies with the conflict. Students may be familiar with Muhammad Ali's stand against the war, and you can use this knowledge as an entrée into a discussion about how and why disenfranchised people frequently sympathize with each other in opposing "the man." You may also refer interested students to Michael Bibby's Hearts and Minds: Bodies, Poetry, and Resistance in the Vietnam Era, in which he discusses identification between black nationalists and the Vietcong.

Slideshow Tool
This tool builds multimedia presentations for classrooms or assignments. Go

An online collection of 3000 artifacts for classroom use. Go

Download PDF
Download the Instructor Guide PDF for this Unit. Go


© Annenberg Foundation 2017. All rights reserved. Legal Policy