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The Washwoman

Narrative Essay by Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Dalia Al-Barougy

on 23 September 2012

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Transcript of The Washwoman

th Anticipation Guide Form The type of work a person does reveals his or her character.
Working hard is its own reward.
People contribute less to society as they age.
A person can become wealthy if he or she works hard enough. Watch the Get Connected Video.
Then, respond to the prompt. The Washwoman
Isaac Bashevis Singer Literary Analysis: Narrative Essay A narrative essay is a short piece of nonfiction that tells a story about a real person or event. In a narrative essay, the author chooses to include significant details that help move the story forward or that help to make his or her point about the subject. For example, if an author writing about a famous singer wants to stress that the singer comes from a musical family, the essay might mention that the singer’s father plays guitar. The essay probably wouldn’t mention that the singer’s father collects stamps. As you read, notice how the author’s choice of significant details influences your impressions of the people and events he or she describes. The Background Video A prediction is an informed idea about what might happen later in a narrative. Predictions are based on details in the text and your own experience. When you verify predictions, you read on to see if the prediction is correct. Reading Skill : Make Prediction forebears n. ancestors. His forebears started the family business.
rancor n. bitter hate The rivals fumed with rancor for each other.
atonement n. act of making up for a wrongdoing or injury. He volunteered at a nursing home as atonement for his misbehavior.
obstinacy n. stubbornness (p. 30) The child refused to clean up, and she was punished for her obstinacy. New Vocabulary

It is not certain when the first Jewish people arrived in Poland, but many came during the 1300s when anti-Semitism was especially strong across much of Europe. Poland, in contrast, offered Jewish people refuge and legal rights that were unusual for the time period. By 1500, more than half of the world’s Jewish population lived in Poland—a percentage that remained more or less constant until World War II. Although their legal rights and privileges varied over the centuries, Polish Jews often enjoyed security and freedom that was difficult to find in other countries. Background:Jews in Poland 2.How does the depiction of laundry in the picture compare to Singer’s description of it in “The Washwoman”?

In the picture, the laundry is hung outside to dry. Singer says this could not be done in his community because the laundry would be stolen. How the previous details affect their feelings about the narrator, his mother, and the washwoman. Do the characters see more sympathetic? More understandable?

the details deepen understanding and sympathy for the characters. What do you think it would be like to wash clothes using a washboard and tub like these?

This chore would be time-consuming and physically exhausting. Critical Viewing Was your earlier prediction about the old woman accurate? Why or why not?

The prediction was not accurate; the old woman did not die. Reading Skill: Making and Verifying
Predictions What prediction do you make based on these details about the cold and the washwoman’s absence?
Singer includes these details to impress upon the reader the harsh conditions that the washwoman has to endure. The washwoman’s health will probably make it difficult for her to survive such extreme weather. Reading Skill: Making and Verifying Prediction Why does the washwoman do other people’s laundry?

She does laundry to make a living. Reading Check How much time has passed between the two incidents?

About ten years has passed between the two incidents.

Compare and contrast how the washwoman is portrayed in the two passages.

The washwoman seems weaker in the second passage. She is still small and thin, but now her health is declining. Critical Thinking
Compare and Contrast 1. What does the painting suggest about the Jewish people who lived in such neighborhoods in Poland?

They were hardworking but poor. They lived
close together, so they knew their neighbors well. Humanities In the Jewish Quarter Kazimierz in Cracow, artist unknown.

For centuries, generations of Jewish families called the Kazimierz district in Cracow, Poland, home. The community was nearly destroyed during the Holocaust, but today it has become a monument to Jewish culture and history. Humanities How does this depiction of a neighborhood in Poland compare with Singer’s description of his community?

The neighborhoods seem similar. As in the washwoman’s neighborhood, the picture shows that water comes from an outside well, people live in large apartment buildings, and women carry heavy loads. Critical Viewing Why are these details significant.

The details show the uncertainty of life. They suggest that the washwoman may have had a similar relationship with her son when he was young but that the future is unknown; the same fate could fall to any mother. Literary Analysis
Narrative Essay What point is the author making about his mother by including these significant details?

She is a loving mother; she is superstitious and assumes nothing about the future, including the love and faithfulness of her children. Literary Analysis
Narrative Essay According to Singer, what is the washwoman’s physical appearance?

The washwoman is an old and wrinkled, small and thin, but strong. Reading Check
Which detail in this paragraph helps you identify this as a narrative essay?

The author says that he is telling a story about a washwoman. Literary Analysis
Narrative Essay Why does Singer begin the story with details about the janitor?
The details help make the point that the narrator and his family had little contact with Gentiles, so readers know that the essay is about an unusual woman. This information creates interest and sets the plot in motion. Literary Analysis
Narrative Essay The Oldest Inhabitant, 1876, byJulian Alden Weir How would you describe the painter’s attitude toward his subject? The dignity of her pose and the soft lighting suggest that the painter respected and admired the woman. The second important thing about a narrative essay is that the story should have a point.

In the final paragraph, the author should come to an important conclusion about the experience that has just been described. The first important thing to remember about a narrative essay is that it tells a story.

The author may write about an experience or event from his or her past a recent or an ongoing experience or event something that happened to somebody else, such as a parent or a grandparent. Writing the Essay The narrative essay
is told from a particular point of view
makes and supports a point
is filled with precise detail
uses vivid verbs and modifiers
uses conflict and sequence as does any story
may use dialogue

Narratives are generally written in the first person, using I. However, third person can also be used. Narrative Essay A narrative essay represents important changes, contrasts or conflicts and also creates tension.
It focuses on connections between past events, people, and places and present events, people or places.
A narrative essay represents the author's point of view. Qualities Cont. A good narrative essay has these qualities:
A good narrative essay involves the reader in the story.
It is more interesting to create an incident for readers than to simply tell about it.
Tells the story in sequence.
The scenes are set at actual time and places.
It also includes details observations of people, places and events. Qualities narrative offers the opportunity to think and write about ourselves, to explain how our experiences lead to some important realization or conclusion about our lives or about the world, in general.
The author's purpose is not merely to tell an interesting story but to illustrate to readers the importance and influence the experience has had on him.
This experience may be used as a springboard for reflection or change. Narrative Essay Elements of a Narrative Essay Let's practice Making Predictions
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