|English 10H Name: _______________________
The Stranger/ Eistentialism
Self-Image: Reading Comprehension and Text Analysis Response
Directions: Read the passages on the following pages (a poem, “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy, and an excerpt from “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self,” a personal essay by Alice Walker). Answer the multiple choice questions. Then complete the text response assignment that follows.
By Marge Piercy
This girlchild was born as usual
and presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:
You have a great big nose and fat legs.
She was healthy, tested intelligent,
possessed strong arms and back,
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.
She was advised to play coy,
exhorted to come on hearty,
exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.
Her good nature wore out
like a fan belt.
So she cut off her nose and her legs
and offered them up.
In the casket displayed on satin she lay
with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on,
a turned-up putty nose,
dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn't she look pretty? everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.
An Excerpt from “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self”
By Alice Walker
I am twenty-seven, and my baby daughter is almost three. Since the birth I have worried about her discovery that her mother’s eyes are different from other people’s. Will she be embarrassed? I think. What will she say? Every day she watches a television program called “Big Blue Marble.” It begins with a picture of the earth as it appears from the moon. It is bluish, a little battered-looking, but full of light, with whitish clouds swirling around it. Every time I see it I weep with love, as if it is a picture of Grandma’s house. One day when I am putting Rebecca down for her nap, she suddenly focuses on my eye. Something inside me cringes, gets ready to try to protect myself. All children are cruel about physical differences, I know from experience, and that they don’t always mean to be is another matter. I assume Rebecca will be the same.
But no-o-o-o. She studies my face intently as we stand, her inside and me outside her crib. She even holds my face maternally between her dimpled little hands. Then, looking every bit as serious and lawyerlike as her father, she says, as if it may just possibly have slipped my attention: Mommy, there’s a world in your eye.” (As in, “Don’t be alarmed, or do anything crazy.”) And then, gently, but with great interest: “Mommy, where did you get that world in your eye?”
For the most part, the pain left then. (So what, if my brothers grew up to buy even more powerful pellet guns for their sons and to carry real guns themselves. So what, if a young “Morehouse man”1 once nearly fell off the steps of Trevor Arnett Library because he thought my eyes were blue.) Crying and laughing I ran to the bathroom, while Rebecca mumbled and sang herself to sleep. Yes indeed, I realized, looking into the mirror. There was a world in my eye. And I saw that it was possible to love it: that in fact, for all it had taught me of shame and anger and inner vision, I did love it. Even to see it drifting out of orbit in boredom, or rolling up out of fatigue, not to mention floating back at attention in excitement (bearing witness, a friend has called it), deeply suitable to my personality, and even characteristic of me.
That night I dream I am dancing to Stevie Wonder’s song “Always” (the name of the song is really “As,” but I hear it as “Always”). As I dance, whirling and joyous, happier than I’ve ever been in my life, another bright-faced dancer joins me. We dance and kiss each other and hold each other through the night. The other dancer has obviously come through all right, as I have done. She is beautiful, whole, and free. And she is also me.
Reading Comprehension Questions
Questions 1-5 refer to Passage 1
1.. The title of the poem, “Barbie Doll” is significant because:
a. the girl’s name was probably Barbie
b. the girl was a perfect beauty, as is a Barbie doll
c. society expects nothing less than a Barbie doll exterior
d. the girl always wanted to be a Barbie doll
2. Why did the girl go “to and fro apologizing” (line 10) ?
a. because she was told she had to
b. because she did not see herself as acceptable in the eyes of society
c. because she disappointed her family
d. because she lacked intelligence
3. Lines 15-16, “Her good nature wore out/Like a fan belt” includes:
a. a metaphor
b. a simile
4. The girl fit society’s image of the Barbie doll
a. when she married
b. when she entered puberty
c. when she became a mother
d. when she died
5. The tone of the last line in the poem is one of
Questions 6-10 refer to Passage 2
6. The narrator’s self image is weakened because:
a. she does not like the color of her brown eyes
b. she cannot dance very well
c. her eyes are different from other people’s
d. she does not like her dimpled hands
7. The narrator weeps with love whenever she watches “Big Blue Marble” because
a.. the images remind her of her eyes
b. the images remind her of her grandma’s house
c. the images remind her of daughter’s beautiful blue eyes
d. the images remind her of a peaceful world that is out of her reach
8. The narrator realizes the beauty of her eye after
a. her daughter sees “a world” in her eye
b. she remembers how much stronger she is than her brothers and their sons
c. she meets a young “Morehouse man”
d. she watches a television program called, “Big Blue Marble” for the first time
9. Throughout her life, the narrator’s eye has taught her
c. inner vision
d. all of the above
10. In the final paragraph, the narrator’s dream is symbolic of
a. her total acceptance and love of herself
b. her total acceptance and love of her daughter
c. her love of the song, “Always”
d. her new love of dancing
Regents Text Analysis Response
Your Task: Closely read Passage II An Excerpt from “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self”
By Alice Walker and write a well-developed, text-based response of two to three paragraphs. In your response, identify a central idea in the text and analyze how the author’s use of one writing strategy (literary element or literary technique or rhetorical device) develops this central idea. Use strong and thorough evidence from the text to support your analysis. Do not simply summarize the text. You may use the margins to take notes as you read and scrap paper to plan your response. Please type your response.
Be sure to:
• Identify a central idea in the text
• Analyze how the author’s use of one writing strategy (literary element or literary technique or rhetorical device) develops this central idea. Examples include: characterization, conflict, denotation/connotation, metaphor, simile, irony, language use, point-of-view, setting, structure, symbolism, theme, tone, etc.
• Use strong and thorough evidence from the text to support your analysis
• Organize your ideas in a cohesive and coherent manner
• Maintain a formal style of writing
• Follow the conventions of standard written English