updated 7/21/16

Much of the "discussion" in this class will occur online:


connect   connect



Why Do This? This assignment encourages you to do the reading on time. The informal writing gets you in the habit of writing almost daily (like most of the great writers did), helps overcome writer’s block, and prepares you for formal writing. Your blog is also intended to demonstrate your comprehension of the reading assignment and make the ensuing class discussion more informed and meaningful.

Why the requirement that your minimum required quote or image has not already been used in the discussion? The goal is to get a sense of participation in a discussion. Hopefully, one would not try to participate in a discussion without listening to the others. Reading others' journal entries is the equivalent of listening. (Reading what your predecessors have written is also essential to writing publishable articles and books.) Reading the entries of those who contributed before you is the basic principle of civilized discussion. Finally, only by reading the whole discussion can a student become the official leader of the discussion in class the next day, and thereby meet the leadership requirement, and earn many more points.


Blog Instructions

These assignments are “blogs” that you create at the “Blog” site on our Canvas* set of course pages. The blogs are the primary method of class discussion, but sometimes they are followed up by discussion in class, sometimes organized by a student leader.

*Go to  https://utexas.instructure.com Select our course.  Select "Discussions." Select the Discussion topic for the assignment, such as Introductions or 8-28. Inside that specific Discussion, read the instructions, and then reply with your own Discussion entry.  Put in the title of your blog and then write the blog in the text editor.

When Are They Due? By 11:59 P.M. on the Sunday before the class meets, or earlier.  At midnight and after, no blog will be accepted because the instructor or student leader of the discussion needs to be able to read all the blogs and organize the discussion before class. (“Discussion” blogs can not be made up later because the discussion will be over.) If you know you are going to miss class you need to do your blogs in advance.

All blogs must include at least two images that have not been used earlier in the discussion by anyone else and at least two quotes from the assigned reading that have not been used earlier in the discussion by anyone else.

The two multimedia items (pictures, movie clips, songs with lyrics, etc.) must have captions adjacent to the multimedia, be  discussed explicitly and specifically in the text, and be connected to the topic.


REQUIRED MULTIMEDIA: Two unique quotes and two unique pictures or other multimedia are the basic, minimum requirements for all blogs. ("unique" means that the quote or image has not been used in earlier blog entries for that evening)

How to insert multimedia. Note that as you move your cursor over the symbols in the text editor you will discover all the tools. Particularly important  is the infinity sign which lets you insert a hyperlink, the mountain sign for inserting an image,  the film sign for inserting other media, and the "HTML Editor" switch which allows you to put in HTML code if you want.


INSERTING AN IMAGE FILE FROM YOUR DESKTOP: Look at the very top edge of your screen. Find your name on the right. Click on your name. On the page that appears you will see the word "Files" in the left margin. Click on that. On the resulting page in the upper right you will see the "upload" option. That will put your image file in your Canvas section. Now go back to your "Reply" Discussion page and click on the little picture of a mountain. Choose "Canvas" as your image source and then your file. Then change at least one of the "dimensions" to less than 500 pixels. Then click on "Update"


If you would rather use a site such as blogger.com, all you would put in the text editor is a LIVE hyperlink to the specific U.R.L. (the internet address that appears at the top of the browser) of that particular blog. When the instructor or your colleagues want to read your blog they will have to click on your hyperlink and go to your blog on blogger.com or wherever it is. (It is your responsibility to make sure that all they have to do is click on the hyperlink and that the hyperlink works properly.)


THE QUOTATIONS should be preceded by a number (numbered in order) and followed by [a] number of the page on which the quote was found and [b], on a separate line, a comment from you that reveals that you have read the assignment and responded to it.

You will be graded primarily on the number of quotations you cite from different sections of the assigned reading and on the bases of THE DEPTH AND QUALITY your responses.

The responses need to demonstrate knowledge of the meaning of the words of the quote in the original context. All quotations from the readings must include page numbers from the course anthology or external text (in parentheses) after the quotes, unless the quote is from the edition of a novel other than the one assigned (in that case supply chapter nos.).

All quotations must be free of errors or will receive no credit. Why? [1] The basic meaning can easily be changed by leaving out a key word or two. [2] This is a minimal sign of respect for the author. [3] This is an essential test of your proofreading skills.


BASIC GRADING: Students can earn up to twenty-eight points per blog generated primarily by the number of different quotes from different sections of the assignment and the quality of the responses.


Here is an example of the text of a blog on Kingston's Woman Warrior that earned 28 pts. (multimedia not reproduced here):


1) "Such commonplace loveliness, however, was not enough for my aunt. She dreamed of a lover for the fifteen days of New Year's, the time for families to exchange visits, money, and food. She plied her secret comb. And sure enough she cursed the year, the family, and herself" (10).

The family dynamics of Eastern cultures is quite different from the traditional family dynamic in an American family. The story of the aunt highlights this. When a close family member commits suicide the normal reaction would be to be depressed and have a funeral. However, in this family they ignored the aunt's depression and pretended that she was never born.

2) "Chairman Mao, encourages us now to give our paper replicas to the spirits of outstanding soldiers and workers, no matter whose ancestors they may be" (16).

This idea highlights the communist Chinese mentality since chairman Mao took over. No longer is there a sense of family and community- everyone is just another member of the all-powerful Chinese state. However, in recent years the Chinese sociopolitical scene is much freer.

3) "You can go pull sweet potatoes, or you can stay with us and learn how to fight barbarians and bandits" (22).

I found this quote interesting in the fact that it highlights the idea that in Kingston's household proactivity is something that is very important, and almost necessary. You must bring honor to your family no matter what.

(4) "The first thing you have to learn… is how to be quiet" (23).

I can relate to this idea due to the fact that in my family personally the idea of 'silence is golden' holds true. Children are supposed to be completely subservient and respectful of their elders, which is a good and bad thing

5) "Afterward, whenever I did not eat for long, as during famine or battle, I could stare at ordinary people and see their light and gold" (27).

The concept of 'light and gold' was interesting to me. In my interpretation it meant the happiness and hope that lay deep within the people, although I might have been reading this wrong.

6) "I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes" (29).

Knowledge is power. This idea holds true in this book as well. The author was put down for being a woman, and as a result had to make up for this through her knowledge of various subjects.

7) "Menstrual days did not interrupt my training; I was as strong as on any other day… You're now an adult…you can have children" (30).

This quote again highlights the fact that woman in this setting are viewed as weak and that their only role is to bear children for their husbands. Their maturity is characterized through their childrearing rather than their emotional development.

8) "Yes, I would be happy. How full I would be with all their love for me. I would have for a new husband my own playmate, dear since childhood, who had loved me so much he was to become a spirit bridegroom for my sake" (31).

It seems to me that through this quote Kingston seems to be falling into the backwards notion that her entire purpose in life is to do whatever her husband asks her to do. This is somewhat unsettling.

9) "The old people gave me the fifteen beads, which I was to use if I got into terrible danger. They gave me men's clothes and armor" (33).

Yet again there are evident examples of how Kingston desires to be treated equally, regardless of her gender. She strives to have everything that the men have, including their clothes.

10) "It was during this lonely time, when any high cry made the milk spill from my breast, that I got careless" (41).

What does she mean by careless? Is she insinuating that having a child makes a woman weaker and more docile? This is an interesting presumption.

11) "Girls are maggots in the rice. It is more profitable to raise geese than daughters" (43).

This quote made me irritated. Even in America, the country of freedom, diversity, and equality, there are Chinese emigrants who are continuing to oppress women and tell them that they are disgusting. This notion is completely backwards.

(12) "My American life has been such a disappointment. I got straight A's, Mama. Let me tell you a true story about a girl who saved her village" (45).

I put this quote in my blog exclusively due to the fact that I too have been raised in an environment where perfection is not good enough, there is always something more that I could do. But this environment has turned me into a resilient individual that strives to be the best that I can be.

(13) "I went away to college-Berkeley in the sixties- and I studied, and I marched to change the world, but I did not turn into a boy" (47).

Professor Bump, didn't you go to Berkeley around the same time as this? [yes, I did]

Anyways, I liked the notion that Kingston did not turn into a male in spite of the fact that she was partaking in the aforementioned events. It is good to see that she retained her individuality.

14) "It's not just the stupid racists that I have to do something about, but the tyrants who for whatever reason can deny my family food and work" (49).

Yet another unsettling realization about the world that we live in. We constantly strive to achieve equality in situations where it is obvious, but it is the subtle problems that truly affect our society today.

15) "It is confusing that my family was not the poor to be championed. They were executed like the barons in the stories, when they were not barons. It is confusing that birds tricked us" (51).

This quote symbolizes the socioeconomic status of the world. The poor are treated like they are nothing, while the rich grow even richer. However, in my opinion it is not inequality that is the problem, but rather poverty.

16) "And I have so many words- "chink" words and "gook" words too- that they do not fit on my skin" (53).

I too have experienced stereotyping, but not to the extent of the author. My work in the Multicultural Engagement Center revolves around this- how can we dispel these stereotypes?

17) "Now her eyes include the relatives in China, as they once included my father smiling in his many western outfits, a different one for each photograph that he sent from America" (59).

I just liked this quote- it represents the American dream. This country is truly one of the only countries where you can go from rags to riches through hard work and determination.

18) "The words stenciled on the box mean 'Fragile', but literally say 'Use a little heart.' The woman looks very pleased. The Revolution put an end to prostitution by giving woman what they wanted: a job and a room of their own" (62).

There were good results of the Chinese Revolution, woman were finally treated more like equals and less like property to be used. Gender equality truly is a subject that has evolved a lot in the last century, but there is work still to be done.



A few more points can be earned by responding to the blogs of others, especially if you add new quotes and images. By using the comment option for your colleagues' blogs and/or referring specifically to their blogs in your blog you earn extra points for making this a true discussion which provides the basis (and sometimes substitutes) for the class discussion.

There are two other ways to generate points:

Up to five additional points can be earned if you "Only Connect." Connected Entries are unified (coherent), fully integrating multimedia as well as text. Additional points can be earned if they also make insightful and interesting connections among [1] all or almost all the assigned texts for that day and/or [2] texts assigned in the past, and/or [3] texts assigned in other courses and/or other texts the student may have read on her own.

Students can earn up to ten additional points for research generated by the assigned readings. The research must be fully documented in the Chicago footnote style. More points will awarded for print sources not found on the internet (i.e. library sources). In other words, another possible source for additional points is quotes from sources other than the assigned ones, if [1] they are essential to your discussion, [2] the words of the author are in quotation marks, and [3] full documentation of the source is provided according to the University of Chicago footnoting system. The quotation marks and the documentation are required even in "informal" writing such as this. Quotes without the quotation marks and documentation will be result in negative points and possible charges of plagiarism.

Points For Performances. Students can earn up to seventeen points each for performing the readings alone or with others, either live during class or in a video presented in class.  However, simply reading from a printout does not constitute a performance. Points will be determined partly on the basis of how much work each individual put into the performance and partly on the basis of how effective the result is. Students must have advance permission from the instructor for performances as subtitutes for blogs.





What should I write about in the Blogs?

These are what are known as “reader-response” blogs. The goal is to record your responses as you read, including thoughts, feelings, memories, associations, guesses about what will happen next, opinions, etc. (see sample prompts below). Among your thoughts you would be well advised to consider how the text relates to the other readings assigned for that day and to all the other readings in the course and the course themes; in other words, “hammer your thoughts into unity.”

You must, however, prove that you have read the material and you must include at least two unique quotes with page nos. from the readings and you must include two unique, relevant images discussed in the text. In addition, quotes from other relevant sources would be quite valuable.



Reader’s Response Discussion Board Entry Prompts


1. Overall, what kind of a feeling did you have after reading that quote?

2. Explain why this quote is important.

3. Do any incidents, ideas, or actions in the text remind you of something that happened to you? Explain.

4. Are there any parts of this text that were confusing to you? If so, describe them and explain your confusion. You might begin response with the words, "I wonder why…."

5. Are there any parts of the text that were surprising to you? If so, cite them and explain why. You might begin the Discussion Board Entry entry with the words, "I was surprised when…."


honi soit motto

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