Questions on Meaning
1. What do you take to be the author’s PURPOSE in telling this story?
2. What connection does Angelou make between the outcome of the fight and the pride of African Americans? To what degree do you think the authors view is shared by others in the store listening to the broadcast?
3. To what extent are the statements in paragraphs 16 and 17 to be taken literally? What functions do they serve in Angelou’s narrative?
4. Primo Carnera was probably not the Bronx Bomber’s opponent on the night Maya Angelou recalls. Louis fought Carnera only once, on June 25, 1935, and it was not a title match; Angelou would have been no more than seven years old at the time. Does the author’s apparent error detract from her story? Explain.
Questions on Writing Strategy
1. What details in the opening paragraphs indicate that an event of crucial importance is about to take place?
2. How does Angelou build up suspense in her account of the fight? At what point were you able to predict the winner?
3. Comment on the IRONY of Angelou’s final paragraph.
4. What effect does the author’s use of direct quotation have on her narrative?
5. Beside narration, Angelou also relies heavily on the method of DESCRIPTION. Analyze how narration depends on description in paragraph 27 alone.
Questions on Language
1. Explain what the author might mean by “string-along songs about razor blades” (par. 5).
2. Point to some examples in the essay of Angelou’s strong use of verbs.
3. How does Angelou’s use of NONSTANDARD ENGLISH (colloquial language) contribute to her narrative?
4. Be sure to know the meaning of these words:
White lightning (27)-