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A Talk to Teachers

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McKenzie Powell

on 7 November 2014

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Transcript of A Talk to Teachers

James Baldwin
James Baldwin's speech delivered to group of New York City school-teachers in 1963 (height of the movement for equality of African Americans)
pg 123-125
Pg. 128-129
Explaining The Text (cont.):
6. Baldwin examines history as being grand and broad, with many sides and perspectives and many different ways it can be analyzed to teach the world different lessons about the past and the future. By using historical events, Baldwin establishes his ethos( by toughing the audiences emotions with the sad story about the child), pathos (by being knowledgeable about as well as citing sources about specific points in history) and logos (by citing information and sources).
7. In paragraph 11, he uses such a word to add feeling, emotion, and keep in the historical perspective of what he is talking about, establishing his ethos as he provokes his audiences' emotions through the use of this word, all purposes which would have been lost had he not used this word.
8. The meaning of this sentence is that what Americans see as their history that defines them is the stories told by their elders about their grand, heroic ancestors and not who they are and what they are doing today, let alone question the reality behind these heroic tales.
9. This sentence is added in to establish a point of view and a sort of thesis to be explained by the examples in the paragraphs following, as well as to add dramatic tension and make a point of what the author is trying to convey.
10. Some examples of parallelism and repetition are his examples Castro and the young boy and how the author would teach them. She continues to say "I would teach him" and similar statements at the beginning of her paragraphs, as well as repeat the structure when talking about what history is and what the present and future are.
11. Baldwin appeals to logos in his citing of the Bible, as well as his historical examples of civil rights unrest and communism.
12. The tone is, such as in the last paragraph with the repetition, or paragraph 11 with it's strong words, somewhat aggressive and persuasive.
A Talk to Teachers
Haris Bhatti, Acacia Coronado, McKenzie Powell
Example 3
Example 4
James Baldwin
one of most influential figures in American literature
sharp social critic of race relations and sexual identity
1940's, mostly lived in Turkey and France, returned to US (at times) to lecture and participate in the civil rights movement
Some of his novels:
Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni's Room, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Just Above My Head
Also wrote poetry and plays
Baldwin goes on to say about how the purpose black men were brought to North America was to be "as a source of cheap labor." Baldwin's point of view is that white men had brainwashed themselves into believing that black men are animals; they were born to be treated like this.
If a black man tries to find his past if he begins to think himself as a man then he would "attack the entire power structure."
Baldwin sees slavery not as an accident; that these well educated white folk should have seen such wrong doing way before but slavery stayed because it allowed them to gain more and give less; part of business
After Civil War African Americans did have the right to be free yet As the blacks moved out they didnt really gain anything. " We did not come to freedom. We came to the bottom of the labor market and we are still there"
The crisis at hand during this time (1960s) is that african americans are labeled as a certain "character" yet African American themselves do not seem themselves that way and so now A.A's are not acting as their character which in turn means that whites aren't what they think they are either and now everyone confused and question themselves.
Baldwin thinks that the Black population rise for better equality isnt really upsetting the country its actually that people are questioning themselves what they have done and they dont want to question themselves.
America has "tremendous reservoirs of bitterness which have never been able to find an outlet," but many find one soon.
"never knew you were alive that you had feelings."
Purpose of education=ability to look at the world for oneself, make own decisions, ask questions
No society wants this, they want rule followers: "If a society succeeds in this, that society is about to perish."
Obligation of anyone with feelings of responsibility=examine society, try to change it and fight it=only hope society has, only way societies change.
African Americans life growing up
struggles of discrimination and exposure to bad environments (pre-exposed)
Explaining the Text
1. James Baldwin directly addresses the audience and each person within it, creating a more personal connection with each member. As he discusses the society we live in, he includes himself in the matter, allowing the audience to identify with him and helping to establish his ethos. He gains credit by establishing his humanity and openly admitting to information he does not possess.
2. The paradox Baldwin identifies as "confronting us" deals with the process of education occurring within a social framework, designed to continue and preserve the goals of society. He says, "as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated." Learning to look at life and make decisions for yourself, ask questions and no let societal ways/rules take over.
As Baldwin discusses the birth of a negro (paragraph 3) under the stars and stripes of a flag he pledges to that guarantees him "liberty and justice for all," he creates a personal connection with the audience members because they can relate to this experience (visualization/imagery, as well). Intended Audience=school teachers-they know the routine of pledging to the flag.
Through the line, "But on the other hand..- his devotion to white people." (paragraph 3) Baldwin provides a contrast to the previously mentioned "liberty and justice for all" moment under the stars and stripes. He describes a situation that not only existed in the past, but continues to exist in society that audience members can relate to. He provokes emotion by portraying the disgracing of the negro by society.
Baldwin discusses a life-like situation involving the childhood experience of a negro boy on the bus and his interactions/observations of his parents (paragraph 4). He allows the audience to connect to the theme through the mini illustration of life for an innocent, ignorant, colored boy.
When Baldwin discusses the "dangers of life in the ghetto through the explanation of housing projects, he uses a real life area to better connect with the audience and engage them in him speech (paragraph 5). He appeals to pathos by blatantly stating the site a child living in the projects might witness (pimps. whores, junkies), but not understand.
4. In paragraph 6, Baldwin provides an anecdote of his first memory in New York. He emphasizes his ignorance as a child to
Park Avenue due to his childhood in the non-rich (non-white) part of the city. He discusses the differences between the park avenue he grew up on and the park avenue he experienced downtown. Through vivid and striking contrasts depicted between the two places, Baldwin emphasizes his idea of exposure to different environments, and the effect your surroundings have on how you view the world around you. Also allows audience to connect with Baldwin, appealing to pathos.
Appositive- noun, noun phrase, or noun clause found next to another noun to rename/identify it or describe it in some way
separated by commas, dashes, and brackets
1. "-the last time many students will find themselves in a roomful of people who have all read the same text and are, in theory, prepared to discuss it.
Further description/explanation/detail of High School English class (side comment)
2. ", books that teachers may themselves have read in adolescence...."
Further detail and description of topic, emphasizing longevity of the books
3. "- fiction and memoir -"
Defining genres being discussed
4. ", a first-person narrative of victimization and recovery."
Further defining the book
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

5. ",
Ordinary People
Defines summer assignment
", weeper and former bestseller by Judith Guest about a "dysfunctional" family recovering from a teenage son's suicide attempt."
Ordinary People
*6. ", the saintly Atticus Finch,"
Defines the hero, Scout's father
", a lawyer who represents everything we cherish about justice and democracy and the American Way."
Defines Atticus Finch
*7. ", a gooney recluse who becomes the occasion for yet another lesson in tolerance and compassion."
Defines Boo Radley and elaborates on topics concerning his character
", the descriptively named Boo Radley,"
Identifies the "shadow hero"
8. ", a chance to consider thorny issues of race and prejudice from a safe distance and with the comfortable certainty that the reader would never harbor the racist attitudes espoused by the lowlifes in the novel."
Defining and explaining what it i to read the novel, further detail and emphasis on "exercise in wish-fulfillment and self-congratulation"
9. "- specifically, what ethnic group or gender identity an author represents."
Defines and further clarifies question of who the author is
10. "- felicitous or accurate language, images, rhythm, wit, the satisfaction of recognizing something in fiction that seems frfesh and true -"
Defining and clarifying what was meant by "aesthetic beauty"
. The Times is a world renowned newspaper. It is delivered to my house every day.
1A. A world renowned newspaper, The Times, is delivered to my house every day.
2. Dolores Cunningham is the first mayor in our town's history to increase jobs during her four-year term. She is an advocate of the supply-side theory of economics.
2a Dolores Cunningham, an Advocate of the supply-side theory of economics, is the first mayor in our town's history to increase jobs during her four-year term.
3. A major health problem for teenagers is bulimia. Bulimia is an eating disorder
3a. Bulimia, an eating disorder, is a major health problem for teenagers.
4. My car is in the parking lot. its an old blue station wagon with a dent in the fender.
4a. My car, an old blue station wagon with a dent in the fender, is in the parking lot.
5. That call was from Bridget. She's the top student in my calculus class.
5a. Bridget, the top student in my calculus class, just called.
6. The Edwardsville Tigers are the only baseball team ever to lose a series that had led three games to none. They will forever remember for this colossal choke.
6a. The Edwardsville Tigers, forever remembered for their colossal choke, are the only baseball team ever to lose a series that had led three games to none.
7. Warren G. Harding defeated James Cox in the 1920 presidential election by 26 percentage points. This was the biggest landslide victory in the history of U.S presidential elections.
7a. By 26 percentage points,known as the biggest landslide victory in the history of U.S Elections, Warren G Harding defeated James Cox in the 1920 presidential election.
8. The service opened to the choir's rendition of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus." That performance was a smashing success.
8a. The service opened to the choir's rendition of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus", A smashing success,
Mainly for pathos and ethos, by giving us the credibility of Baldwin himself . He also sets up as a character making the reader be able to connect with the author through a character he made.
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