Discussion Question 5

  • Angelou, M. (1988). I know why the caged bird sings. London, UK: Hutchinson Education.
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Angelou, Maya. Copyright 1969 by Nelson Thornes Ltd. Reprinted by permission of Nelson Thornes Ltd. via the Copyright Clearance Center.

    This excerpt provides an autobiographical perspective on education and its impact on individual and community. This piece is examined in this week’s Application Assignment.

  • Shange, N. (1997). For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf. New York, NY: Scribner.
    Reprinted by the permission of Russell & Volkening as agents for the author. Copyright 1993 by Ntozake Shange.

    These poems are part of Ntozake Shange’s award-winning “choreopoem,” for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. The choreopoem is performed by seven women identified only by the colors they wear. Below you will find five of the poems (more are in Week 6).

    Note: All of the poems listed above are also included as audiocasts located under Media in this week’s Learning Resources.

  • Walker, A. (1994). Everyday use. In B. T. Christian (Ed.), Women writers texts and contexts (pp. 23–35). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
    Everyday Use by Walker, A. Copyright 1994 by Rutgers University Press. Reprinted by permission of Rutgers University Press via the Copyright Clearance Center.

    This excerpt addresses women and education and its impact on family and community. This piece is examined in this week’s Application Assignment.
  • Walden University. (2015b). APA style: Overview. Retrieved from http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/apa
  • Walden University. (2015e). Writing center. Retrieved from http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/home
  • Document: Glossary of Terms and Techniques for Literature and Creative Writing (PDF)

    This resource provides support in analyzing various forms of literature. Use this resource to identify elements of style and apply literary terms to assignments.


  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2015). Women’s voices and social change [Interactive media]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

    With this week’s content on women and education in mind, review the timeline information on Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Ntozake Shange.

The following audiocasts are readings of excerpts from Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Hearing poetry read aloud lends depth to the experience of the reader/listener and may increase comprehension and connection to the meaning behind the words. To enhance your interaction with the work, consider listening to these audiocasts as you read the assigned poems. Note: Be sure to access closed captioning as needed to follow along with the dialog.

  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2010b). Graduation nite [Audio file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

    Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 5 minutes.

  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2010d). I’m a poet who [Audio file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

    Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 1 minute.

  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2010e). Latent rapists [Audio file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

    Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 2 minutes.

  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2010f). One [Audio file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

    Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 6 minutes.

  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2010c). I used to live in the world [Audio file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

    Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 3 minutes.

Optional Resources


  • Poetry: Characters and Styles

Poetry is a language translated by the reader. Discernable sentiments and messages rise to the top as you may consider and reconsider the more obscure or “hidden” meanings surrounding the words on the page. You have the opportunity in this week’s Discussion to deconstruct the complexity of Shange’s work through the exploration of a character from her poem while exploring qualities and styles of poetry.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Read and listen to each of the Shange poems linked in this week’s Learning Resources. Listen carefully to the voices and words of the different characters. Choose one of the female characters from the five included poems. For these poems, the characters include: Lady in Yellow, Lady in Orange, Lady in Blue, Lady in Red, and Lady in Purple.
  • What aspects of the character you chose are readily apparent? What are you most curious about regarding this character that is not directly apparent?
  • Consider references to formal and/or non-formal education that you identify in association with the character you chose and/or other characters in these five poems? For example, how does Shange communicate a character’s sense of knowledge of herself or an issue? In what ways do the women educate one another?
  • Review examples of poetry from this course to get a sense of the range of styles of poetry. For example, consider the style of Rita Dove’s poem from Week 4 and review a sample of poems from websites provided in this week’s Optional Resources.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post a 2- to 3-paragraph description of the character you selected from Shange’s poem, including her emotional and physical self. Explain how this character represents the concepts of expression, perspective, and social change. How is the style of poetry in Shange’s work different from other styles of poetry?

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