Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The Dixie Chicks and The Crucible? Really? Yes, they have clear and valid connections!

Dear English Kids,

If you missed class on Tuesday, January 24th, we completed the following:

1. I collected your "Character Analysis" essay! If you did not initially complete the assignment, then you are welcome to submit it on Thursday with your homework coupon!


2. We continued by reading Act 4 and completing it.

3. We then proceeded to discuss the article entitled "Not Ready to Make Nice" which was given to you last class period. The article pertains to a music video by the same title performed by the Dixie Chicks. If you missed class, then you can locate the video on-line by typing in "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks. Please note that you MUST HAVE READ THE ARTICLE FIRST, prior to viewing the video.

4. We completed questions #1 and #2 for journal entry handout that I gave you last class period. The final question, #3, pertains to The Crucible. We will answer that question when I see you on Thursday!

1. Please read the included articled entitled "The Power of a Good Name" for Thursday. Please include 7-10 annotations for the first page and 5-7 for the second page. Select TWO colors for your annotating focus.

2. Please complete the study guide questions for Act 4.
The Power of a Good Name
by Armstrong Williams

            One summer day my father sent me to buy wire and fencing for our farm in Marion County, South Carolina. At 16, I liked nothing better than getting behind the wheel of our Chevy pickup, but this time there was a damper on my spirits. My father had told me I’d have to ask for credit at the store.
            Sixteen is a prideful age, when a young man wants respect, not charity. It was 1976, an ugly shadow of racism was still a fact of life. I’d seen my friends ask for credit and then stand, head down, while a patronizing store owner questioned whether they were “good for it.” I knew black youths just like me who were watched like thieves by the store clerk each time they went to the grocery.
            My family was honest. We paid our debts. But before harvest, cash was shot. Would the store owner trust us?
At “Davis Brothers’ General Store,” Buck Davis stood behind the register, talking to a middle-aged farmer. Buck was a tall, weathered man in red hunting shirt and khaki pants, and I nodded as I passed him on my way to the hardware aisle. When I bought my purchases to the register, I said carefully, “I need to put this on credit.”
The farmer gave me an amused, cynical look. But Buck’s face didn’t change. “Sure,” he said easily. “Your daddy is always good for it.” He turned to the other man. “This here is one of James William’s sons.”
The farmer nodded in a neighborly way. I was filled with pride. James William’s son. Those three words had opened a door to an adult’s respect and trust. The day I discovered that a good name could bestow a capital of good will of immense value. The good name of my father and mother had earned brought our whole family the respect of our neighbors. Everyone knew what to expect from a William: a decent person who kept his word and respected himself too much to do wrong.
            We children-eight brothers and two sisters-could enjoy that good name, unearned, unless and until we did something to lose it. Compromising it would hurt not only the transgressor but also those we loved and those who loved us. We had a stake in one another-and in ourselves.
            A good name, and the responsibility that came, with it, forced us children to be better than we otherwise might be. We wanted to be thought of as good people, and by acting like good people for long enough, we became pretty decent citizens.
            The desire to keep the respect of a good name propelled me to become the first in our family to go to college. Eventually, it gave me the initiative to start my own successful public-relations firm in Washington, D.C.
            I thought about the power of a good name when I heard Gen. Colin Powell say that we need to restore a sense of shame in our neighborhoods. He’s right. If pride in a good name keeps families and neighborhoods straight, a sense of shame is the reverse side of that coin.
            Doing drugs, abusing alcohol, stealing, getting a young women pregnant out of wedlock today, none of these behaviors are the deep embarrassment they should be. Nearly one out of three births in America is to an unwed mother. Many of these children will grow up without the security and guidance of a caring father and mother committed to each other.
Once the social ties and mutual obligations of the family disintegrate, communities fall apart. Politicians may boast that crime is falling, but while the population has increased only 40 percent since 1960, violent crime has increased to staggering 550 percent- and we’ve become used to it. Teen drug abuse is rising again. No neighborhood is immune. In Wake County, North Carolina, police arrested 73 students from 12 high schools for dealing drugs, some of them right in the classroom.
            Cultural influences such as television and movies portray mostly a world in which respect goes to the most violent. Life is considered cheap.
            Meanwhile, the small signs of civility and respect that sustain civilization are vanishing from schools, stores and streets. Phrases like “yes, ma’am,” “no sir,” “thank you” and “please” show self-respect for others. Yet, encouraged by the pervasive profanity on television and in music, kids don’t think twice about aggressive and vulgar language.
            Many of today’s kids have failed because their sense of shame has failed. They were born into families with poor reputations, not caring about keeping a good name. Today, when I’m back home, I receive respect because of the good name passed on as my father’s patrimony and upheld to this day by me and my siblings. It is my family’s good name that paved the way for my personal and professional success.          
            Keeping a good name is rewarded not only by outsiders’ esteem but when those who know you best put their confidence in you. In the last months of his life Daddy, typically, worried more about my mother than about his illness. He wanted to spare her the grief of watching him die at home. So he came to me.
            By then I was living and working in Washington D.C. When Daddy arrived from South Carolina, I had him admitted to a nearby hospital. For two months, I spent everyday sitting by his bedside. Both us knew he had little time left.
            When he was not in too much pain to talk, he would ask about the family. He wanted to be sure he had met his responsibilities in this world. On the last day, I was there with him as he passed away.
            My daddy had never been rich or powerful. But in his dying, he gave me a last gift: his faith that I was the man he wanted me to be. By trusting me to care for him at the moment of his passing, he showed not only his love, but his pride and confidence in me.
            After all, I was James William’s son- a Williams of Marion, South Carolina-and a Williams would do right