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Black Boy: “microtheme” 1
Rationale: Writing about your reading helps you to process your reading and your thinking about your reading. Please respond to one of the following prompts in a typed composition no longer than a page in length.


  1. What role has poverty had in shaping Richard Wright’s character? Based upon the first two chapters of the book, describe the way Richard Wright responds to (deals with) the poverty in which his family lives. As you consider his “response,” think not only of Wright’s actions, but also of his emotional and intellectual reactions to his situation.




  1. As we’ve discussed a little in class, the first chapters of Black Boy show us racism through the eyes of a child. This perspective offers advantages and disadvantages. For example, a child may not fully understand everything he sees (a disadvantage), but he may possess a clarity or “purity” of vision that an adult might not share (an advantage). Do the advantages of this perspective outweigh the disadvantages? Put another way, does the child’s perspective make Richard Wright’s depiction of racism more or less effective?

You may have noticed that both of these prompts require you to DESCRIBE some aspect of the novel so far. As such, I advise that any brainstorming or prewriting that you do should follow one of the following schemata: the web or the outline. Here’s what those look like:




This is a web:

This is an outline:




I. Topic


A. Subtopic

a. example

b. explanation

c. example

d. explanation

B. Subtopic

a. example

b. explanation

c. example

d. explanation





GOLD: A microtheme in this category demonstrates clear and consistent mastery in each of the following categories:


  • Point of view: effectively and insightfully develops a single point of view on the issue and demonstrates outstanding, even surprising critical or creative thinking.

  • Reasoning: includes clearly appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position (including textual evidence, if appropriate). The writer’s reasoning is logical, as well as fully and clearly explained.

  • Organization/Focus: is well organized and clearly focused, demonstrating clear coherence and smooth progression of ideas, including effective internal transitions.

  • Grace of expression: exhibits a distinctive voice, marked by a skillful use of language and a varied, accurate, and apt vocabulary (i.e. word choice). Demonstrates meaningful variety in sentence structure.

  • Mechanics: Grammar, usage, and punctuation conform to accepted norms of Standard Written English.

______________________________________________________________________________

SILVER: A microtheme in this category demonstrates reasonably consistent mastery, which is to say that the strengths outweigh the weaknesses.


  • Point of view: develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates competent critical thinking.

  • Reasoning: includes adequate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position (including textual evidence, if appropriate). The writer’s reasoning is explained.

  • Organization: is generally organized and focused, demonstrating some coherence and progression of ideas

  • Grace of expression: exhibits adequate but inconsistent facility in the use of language, using generally appropriate vocabulary (i.e. word choice). Demonstrates some variety in sentence structure.

  • Mechanics: displays some lapses (in grammar, usage, and punctuation) from Standard Written English.

_____________________________________________________________________________

BRONZE: A microtheme in this category demonstrates developing mastery, and is marked by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses:


  • Point of view: develops a point of view on the issue, demonstrating some critical thinking, but may do so inconsistently or rely upon cliché, commonplace, or borrowed ideas.

  • Reasoning: relies upon inadequate examples, reasons, or evidence to support its position (including textual evidence, if appropriate). The writer’s reasoning may be illogical and is not explained.

  • Organization: is limited in its organization or focus, or may demonstrate some lapses in coherence or in progression of ideas.

  • Grace of expression: displays developing facility in the use of language, but vocabulary may lack maturity or may employ inappropriate word choice. Sentences lack variety or demonstrate structural problems.

  • Mechanics: contains an accumulation of distracting lapses (in grammar, usage, and punctuation) from Standard Written English.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

IRON: A microtheme in this category demonstrates very little or no mastery, and is severely flawed by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses:


  • Point of view: develops no viable point of view on the issue.

  • Reasoning: provides little or no evidence, reasons, or examples to support its position. The writer’s reasoning is not explained.

  • Organization: is disorganized or unfocused, resulting in a disjointed or incoherent essay

  • Grace of expression: displays little facility in use of language. May display inappropriate vocabulary and/or word choice and severe structural flaws.

  • Mechanics: contains pervasive lapses (in grammar, usage, or punctuation) from Standard Written English that persistently interfere with meaning





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