Discussion Post and Reply

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  1. Select 1 passage from Act 2 or Act 3 from M. Butterfly (The words passage and quotation are used interchangeably and mean the same thing.)
  • Your passage may include an image since the images are part of the author’s writing. You may also piece together multiple passages using ellipses (…) in between.
  • Be sure to include the page number(s) after the passage, like this (17-18).
  • Write a short summary of the passage (1-2 sentences).
  • this is just to get the summary out of your system and to be able to focus on an analysis
  • Analyze the passage you have chosen (3-4 sentences).
  • What does is show you as a reader?
  • Can you apply the theoretical lenses to the passage? What does that reveal about the passage?
  • What is your interpretation of the passage?
  • remember to avoid summarizing the passage
  • remember to avoid making overgeneralizations based on the text.
  • See sample below.
  • **Evidence of reading though the discussion thread is factored into earning points.

Your post should look something like this: (Note: See the link “passage analysis” under the heading “Guidelines for Writing about Literature” in the “Course Resources” section of the course site.)

Passage: “Nan said to Tess, but projecting for the benefit of the front, ‘Truly, are we so superior as we think? I wonder little. When we first moved in at the mine, we did something at the house so stupid am still in pain. There were two pawpaw trees growing side by side by the house, one thriving with nice big pawpaws on it and the other sick-looking and leaf-less – dead looking. Well, we thought it was plain what we should do: take down the dead tree. So we hauled and pushed on the trunk of the poor tree and strained and pulled it over – uprooted it, Gareth and myself. It was his idea: we must just straight off do this, get it over. Then, with the crash, the servants come out. They had funny looks on. Dineo said, so quietly, ‘Oh, Mma, you have killed the male.’ We didn’t understand. It seems the pawpaw grow in pairs, couples, male and female. The male tree looks like a phallus – no foliage to it, really. The female needs the male in order to bear. They take years to reach the heights ours had. Then the female died. The staff had been eating pawpaws from our tree for years. It was a humiliation” ( Rush 21).

Summary: Nan is explaining to Tess how she and Gareth dug up a tree that looked like it was dead, but that they learned from the natives that they were all wrong about their interpretation of the tree. It looked dead but the other tree needed it for its survival.

Analysis: The pawpaw trees function as a symbol within the text. They symbolize the hierarchic relationship between the men and the women in the text as well as the hierarchic relationship between the whites and the blacks in the text. When Rush writes that they “uprooted” the tree, it brings to mind the appropriation of colonies and cultural upheaval.


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