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I Know Why The Caged Bird Cannot Read

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by

Kim Dela Cruz

on 24 October 2015

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Transcript of I Know Why The Caged Bird Cannot Read

SOAPSTone
Speaker: Francine Prose
Occasion: Reading lists distributed at her sons' schools were not high enough.
Audience: Other parents, middle aged adults, teenage students
Purpose: Show how much low the standards are; students are lacking and only being basic rather than proficient and advanced.
Subject: The levels of literacy that exist in schools, and how students are being taught.
Tone: Critical, harsh, strong point of view.
Rhetorical Appeals
"...for decades now, critics have decried our plummeting scholastic standards and mourned the death of cultural literacy without having done one appreciable thing to raise the educational bar or revive our moribund culture"(90).

"Neither[of my sons] has heard a teacher suggest that he read Kafka,though one might suppose that teenagers might enjoy the transformative science-fiction aspects of
The Metamorphosis...
No instructor has ever asked my sons to read Alice Munro"(91)...
Rhetorical Devices
I Know Why The Caged Bird Cannot Read
Focus and Relations
Francine Prose
-author of more than 20 books
-finalist for the National Book Award
-National best seller author
-received numerous grants and awards, including Guggenheim and Fullbright fellowships
-book reviewer for magazines including New York Times Book review
-reporter, essayist, critic, and editor
-mother of two sons
To teach students subjects that appeal to them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Education"
"The joy of our childhood in hearing beautiful stories from some skillful aunt who loves to tell them, must be repeated in youth."
Society's standards should change over time
Ken Robinson's TED Talk
"Our education system is predicated on the idea of academic ability. And there's a reason. Around the world, there were no public systems of education, really, before the 19th century. They all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism. So the hierarchy is rooted on two ideas."

"Yet in other genres- fiction and memoir- the news is far more upsetting. On the lists sampled, Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and Maya Angelou's 'I know Why the caged Bird Sings' are among the tittles that appear most often, a grisly fact that in itself should inspire us to examine the works that dominate our children's literary education." (91)
"The narrator of the Cage bird is good, her rapist is bad;'
Scout and Atticus Finch are good, their bigoted neighbors are bad."
(97)
Full transcript