Monthly Archives: January 2010

Music in The Color Purple

Today’s Writing Prompt (2-3 paragraphs)

How does Alice Walker use music in The Color Purple? Consider the different times characters sing, hum, and play music. What does music do for them, and mean to them? Use evidence, and refer to page numbers, to defend your answer.

Assignment for 1/25

You should have read up to page 171 over the weekend, which should put you in a pretty good position to answer the following question. Answer in 3-4 typed paragraphs, using specific evidence from the book to back up your answer.

On Friday, we talked about The Color Purple as a story about whether everyone really can get themselves out of bad circumstances, or if they need to have certain advantages that Celie does not have. Today, I want you to look back over the pages that cover Nettie’s letter back to Celie, and consider the book from her point of view. If the perspective of the novel were reversed, so that we were following Nettie from the beginning, not Celie, what might you say this book is about? Put more simply, what is the theme of Nettie’s story? What does it tell us about life or human nature?

Read up to page 183 for Wednesday (homework).

Another Color Purple Assignment

This one actually should have been listed before the other two. Call it “The Color Purple, Dramatic Need & Situation”

On a blank sheet of paper that they will hand in, describe the following in one paragraph apiece:

  • the dramatic situation of the book, as they understand it so far;
  • the main character’s dramatic need; and
  • the dramatic premise, and how it has been introduced.
  • be sure to write the date and period in the corner.

Short Color Purple Assignments

Number One

Carefully re-read pages 33-42. Then, on a blank sheet of paper, do the following in 1 paragraph EACH:

  • summarize the events from pages 33-42 from Celie’s perspective;
  • summarize those same events from Sophia’s perspective ; and
  • summarize the same events again, from Harpo’s perspective.

Title this “The Color Purple, pp. 33-42” and be sure to write the date and period in the corner, and hand it in.

Number Two

Who is Shug Avery? What do we know about her? When is she first mentioned in the book? What has her relationship with Mr. _______ been like in the past? Why does she act the way she does toward him, and the way she does toward Celie, when she comes to stay? How does Mr. _________ feel about her, and why do you think that is?

Answer these questions in a total of 2-3 ¶, written on a fresh sheet of paper. Title it “Shug Avery.”

Reading Reviews

So you’ve read your books, and if you did yesterday’s assignment, you’ve identified some of the main features of those books that would be used in adaptations of those books to screenplay form (if you didn’t do this, go read the previous post).

Now you should be thinking about the actual film adaptations of those novels. I’m assuming that most of you haven’t seen the films yet, but it’s okay either way. If you haven’t seen it, plan on getting ahold of it and viewing it sometime in the next week.

Today, I want everyone to go to That’s the Internet Movie Database, a very useful website when trying to find information about films. Type the name of your film into the top search bar. It’ll come up with a list of results; click on your film. Then, on the left hand column, under “Awards & Reviews” heading, click on “external reviews.” This will bring up a list of professionally written reviews of your film that were written for magazines, newspapers, and websites when that film was released.

Ready for your assignment?

1. Select three or four reviews of your film. Make sure you get each reviewer’s name, the title of the review, the publication it was written for, and the date of publication.

2. For each review, summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the film according to that reviewer in a couple of paragraphs. Be specific, quote briefly if you must, but put the arguments of each reviewer into your own words.

For those students who want to distinguish themselves from the pack and ensure a better grade on the assignment, synthesize all the reviews into one continuous, well-written overview of 4-5 good paragraphs. Students who do this well will earn an A on the assignment.

You’ve got an extra day for this one. Work on selecting and reading the reviews, and beginning to summarize them today. You’ll have more time to write on Wednesday.

Hey Folks

Had a baby over break, so I’m taking a few days of paternity leave.

Today I want you to write about the book you were supposed to have read over break. I’m laying out a few general questions that I want you to answer in as much detail as you can in the time allowed. PARAGRAPHS, PEOPLE.

  • What is the dramatic situation we are presented with at the beginning, before the main conflict of the book has begun?
  • Who is the main character? What is he/she like? What are his/her dramatic needs?
  • What is the dramatic premise? How is the conflict introduced?
  • What are some major turning points that might be considered plot points in an adaptation of this story? You don’t have to choose two yet, just narrow it down to, perhaps, between four and six.

If you need to be reminded of the definitions for any of these things, turn to your notes. Do this individually now, and don’t waste your time with online sources. It isn’t worth your time worrying about getting busted for plagiarism.

At the end of the hour, I want you to print out TWO COPIES of this document. TURN ONE IN to the sub. KEEP THE OTHER. See how I’m putting some of that in caps? I really want you to get it right.

See you soon.