Language and Style in Buck

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1 Common Core Standards Concept: Language and Style Primary Subject Area: English Secondary Subject Areas: N/A Common Core Standards Addressed: Grades 9-10 Grades Key Ideas and Details: Key Ideas and Details: o Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; o cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. o Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; o summarize the key supporting details and ideas. o Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Craft and Structure: o Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. o Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. o Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. o Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; o cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. o Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; o summarize the key supporting details and ideas. o Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Craft and Structure: o Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. o Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole. o Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Common Core Standards 1

2 Lesson Plan Overview: Materials: In this lesson, students will discuss the primary styles of writing Asante employs in Buck. These include the hip-hop inspired writing of the main text (sparse and lyrical), the "normal" prose of his mother's diary, the use of song lyrics, and quotations from major writers. Students will also discuss the book's informal tone and assess its pros and cons for accessibility for readers. Copies of Buck Notebook/paper Other Resources: Supplementary Materials Chart Objectives: Students will be able to: Think critically about poeticism and tempo of prose sentences and paragraphs. Define and understand the difference between Poetry and Prose, and articulate the ways in which literature can sometimes complicate these definitions. Identify tone within a piece of writing Discuss the ways in which Asante s memoir uses an informal tone. Warm-Up Activity: Begin the lesson by showing Asante s book trailer. (The link is in the Supplementary Materials Chart.) Note how it includes the first three sentences of the book, read to a hip-hop beat. Note how the first sentences is an incomplete sentence ("The fall in Killadelphia.") After watching the video, ask the following questions: Does it feel natural and appropriate to hear Asante's prose words as opposed to his lyrics read to a beat? Would the opening sentence be more or less effective if Asante used complete/proper ones? What is the effect of including the word "The" in the first sentence? Lesson Plan 2

3 Lesson Plan Short Lecture & Partner Activities: Divide the class into small groups of three to five students. Each student should take a turn reading a random sample of Asante's first-person prose (as opposed to his song lyrics) aloud. The group should determine whether it could be read with or without a hiphop rhythm. Try reading it aloud with rhythm. Other students can beatbox or drum on desks. Repeat with a random sample or two of Amina's diary. Repeat with random samples of author quotations on pages Compare. Repeat with the two paragraphs of Asante's first-person prose on page 245 between the lyrics of "Buck" (pages ) and the excerpted lyrics on page 245. Compare. Discussion Wrap-Up: Bring the class back together after the students have completed the activity and share some details about what the experience was like for them and what insights they derived. Have them discuss the following questions: In light of Asante's poetic language, where do you think the dividing line is between poetry and prose? Is there a clear dividing line? Comparing the use of metaphors in song lyrics and prose: Does Asante's use of metaphors that fit within the sentence work for you? This is common to song lyrics, but can it be too limiting in prose? How does the style (including diction and tone) change between the various points of view (Malo, Amina, letter from sister, letter from Uzi, famous authors)? Does Asante's tone and style make his memoir more or less relatable to you? Does relatability matter to you? Lesson Plan 3

4 Lesson Plan Writing Activities/Evaluations: Analytical: MK Asante s memoir is written in a lyrical and poetic way. Have you felt a similar sense of immediacy in other writing that is less lyrical or poetic or musical? How have other autobiographical stories you have read compare? Did you find that you needed the regular prose in Amina's journals to serve as a break in order to keep reading the frenetic pace of Asante's story and style? ( words) Creative: Write something very intense and immediate that you have experienced in your life. It doesn t have to be a major event or anything traumatic, just something that was intense and dramatic in the moment you experienced it preferably an event from which you drew an insight or insights about yourself or the world around you, or which caused you to grow as a person. Write the event in the present tense in the most immediate way you can. Experiment with using short sentences and lyrical sentences. When you are finished, go back through and mark where you have included details that seemed relevant to the moment as you drafted it but are not, upon further review, relevant to the arc of the story. Try deleting them. ( words) Lesson Plan 4

5 Discussion & Comprehension Questions Questions for Discussion Do you like Asante s writing style? Do you wish that more books were as lyrical as his? Can you think of other lyrical books? Does the style of Asante's lyricism make you connect to the book more or less? Does the casual tone and diction of the book help you relate to the book? Did it cause you to enjoy the book more or less? Did it ever offend you? Does the casual tone and diction of the book give you the impression it was written quickly or do you think it was the product of multiple drafts and copious editing? Discussion & Comprehension Questions 5

6 Class Handout Name: Prose Written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure. (file://localhost/google/ https/::www.google.com:webhp%3fsourceid=chrome- instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=utf- 8 - q=definition+prose) Word: Definition: Memoir A written account of one s memory of certain events or people. A memoir is not an informal daily record of events in a person s life (like a journal or diary) but is instead a work for which publication is the ultimate goal. Poetry Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm. (Google: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chromeinstant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=utf-8 - q=definition+poetry) Lyrics The words of a song; or a poem that expresses deep personal feelings in a way that is like a song (a lyric poem). Tone Aside from individual word choice, the overall tone, or attitude, of a piece of writing should be appropriate to the audience and purpose. The tone may be objective or subjective, logical or emotional, intimate or distant, serious or humorous. It can consist mostly of long, intricate sentences, of short, simple ones, or of something in between. (Good writers frequently vary the length of their sentences.) Tone-and-Voice Style Style is the way in which something is written, as opposed to the meaning of what is written. In writing, however, the two are very closely linked. As the package for the meaning of the text, style influences the reader s impression of the information itself. Style includes diction and tone. Tone-and-Voice Diction Diction is word choice. When writing, use vocabulary suited for the type of assignment. Words that have almost the same denotation (dictionary meaning) can have very different connotations (implied meanings). Resources/Style-Diction-Tone-and-Voice Class Handout

7 Supplementary Materials Chart Category of Resource Artwork Description of Resource The bottom of this page features original artwork that is presumably being used in the development of the film version of Buck. Potential Educational Uses of Resource This is an interesting resource that may help students visualize the text and also serve as a starting point for a discussion of the ways in which Asante takes his memoir beyond the page. Link to Resource Music Buck: The Original Book Soundtrack This is the complementary soundtrack to Asante s memoir, a useful and interesting resource for students. Video Book Trailer for Buck This book trailer will be used at the beginning of this lesson plan as an entryway to the discussion of memoir. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= draa5-kj3be Video Music video for MK Asante s song, Young Bucks This song features a great deal of content from Asante s memoir but is also deeply rooted in current events, which is worth spending time discussing in class. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3 IVDOfYM_mI Video MK Asante at the Hill Center with PEN/Faulkner and Politics & Prose This interview and question-and-answer session with MK Asante is of particular interest to students as he discusses all aspects of his memoir, Buck. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= KJfE4r74gIc

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