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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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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: Video Activities

Using the Video
Deepening materials for using the video with this Unit.
What is an American? How does American literature create conceptions of the American experience and identity?
Video Comprehension Questions: What is integration? What is assimilation? How are they different?
Context Questions: Why is it so important for writers to be able to build on a literary tradition? For example, in the video, Sandra Cisneros says that when she was a young writer, Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior "gave her permission" to write The House on Mango Street. What do you think she means by this? What do the two texts have in common?
Exploratory Questions: How, if at all, have these authors' personal stories changed your conception of what it means to be a woman in America?

How do place and time shape literature and our understanding of it?
Video Comprehension Questions: How many American women had entered the workforce by the mid-1970s? Why did women's writing begin to be taken more seriously in the 1970s and 1980s? How did the women's rights and women's liberation movements affect women's literature?
Context Questions: How does region affect individuals' views of the country and their own identity?
Exploratory Questions: Consider the mother's cautionary tales about female sexuality in Kingston's The Woman Warrior. How do these writers use the stories of earlier generations in their own fiction? How do the stories change in the retelling?

How are American myths created, challenged, and reimagined through these works of literature?
Context Questions: How did Kingston, Cisneros, and Feinberg use experimental styles as well as autobiography to challenge mainstream society's definition of womanhood?
Exploratory Questions: These authors asked complicated, contradictory questions about themselves in order to discover their identities. What questions did they ask? What did they discover?

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