“Teachers more than athletes”

For my found poem I used an article called “Teachers should make more than athletes” written by a Kentucky Supreme Court justice,  Bill Cunningham. He discusses the inexcusable fact that athletes, that just play a game to provide entertainment to our country, make quadruple the amount of money teachers make in a year. I used a blackout method to manipulate his article into my poem because I wanted the changes to be dramatic. I also wanted to amplify the importance of the words that were not sketched out. There is one sentence in the poem that is crossed out in a light blue color. This sentence is very hard to read but is still somewhat legible. The sentence is, “Those who teach in special education these days deserve a Purple Heart and a pension.” If the words I tried to make stand out to the reader to persuade them to see the unfairness in the wage gap, I hoped this sentence would open their minds to this concept. My overall goal of this poem was to inform to those who have no knowledge of this event and to persuade those who know of the gap, to see the impact teacher have, and how important their services to our youth really is.  Also, I wanted the reader to understand, as a society, we have to begin to recognize their worth. In doing so, we can help teachers in any way we can whether that is buying a box of tissues for the semester or making sure the child is ready to go to school on time in the morning. We need to begin to recognize how important teachers really are.


Chen Chen’s Poetry Reading of “When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities”

I attended the literary lecture on 10/30 in the Jacobus Lounge. Walking in, I had no idea what to expect. I actually had the idea that I would be quite bored; I expected the lecture to be an hour long. I was surprised at how interesting the talk was. Chen Chen read some of his poems out of his book called “When I Grow Up I want to Be a List of Further Possibilities.” His writing was very playful, sassy, and emotional all wrapped in one. One of his poems called First Light explains his memories of his home, China, and his journey to the USA. He used a lot of imagery in this poem. His mother explains to him their family’s departure from their home was a “chance at first light.” He leads us to imply that “first light” in this reference is a miracle. A chance. A chance to leave the life they had for a chance at a better one. Then later in the poem, he illustrates the experiences of hearing his grandmother had a stroke. His mother feeling sad, scared, and guilty feels bad about “not leaving here at once..” The poem ends with a deeper interpretation of the usage of here. How the imagined tone of his mother is the voice of someone who views their actions as unforgettable.  Not only did he write poems with a mood of sadness and despair, but he wrote more playful poems.

In another piece, Chen Chen writes about an experience in Starbucks. There have been some political issues regarding services provided by workers, mostly racial. A common mistake workers also make is the mispronunciation of customers names. He was called many wrong names including Chung and Chang. He was once called Che and the workers assumed it was short for Sharon.  This section of the poem is playful and easy to laugh at. Then he switches the tone and concludes with the expression, why do I feel the need to have someone like you acknowledge someone like me. This adds a twist to how the piece begins into how it ends. He separates races and makes us dive into the view Chen experienced the situation. This lecture was very interesting to listen too. Hearing Chen read his work with the tone he wished the reader would read it in, allowed me to interpret it in a different way. This was a great overall experience.

“… grabs her plant and goes out for the last time.” – Symbolism


Symbolism, the use of symbols to represent ideas, has been a common use of figurative language in writing for many years. Lorraine Hansberry uses this type of visual description throughout the play. The main example of this is the way the author uses the image of MAMA’s deprived and “feeble” plant to illustrate a deeper connection to MAMA’s dreams.

When MAMA first enters the play, the first thing she immediately does is tend to her plant in the window. The author wants the reader to understand that although the small plant is considered almost dead it is persistently attempting to grow with the little amount of sunlight that it receives (39, 52). The dream that reoccurs in the play is MAMA’s hope of moving out of the apartment, that she and Big Walter bought right after they got married, and move into a two-story house with a garden (45). Hansberry’s use of symbolism is interesting here. The lifeless plant, that is barely surviving from lack of nourishment, represents MAMA’s dream garden. MAMA didn’t have the opportunity to fulfill her dreams due to putting the needs of the family first but, she still cares for the plant every day. The plants’ purpose of representing the dream of a garden/new home is illustrated in Act 1 Scene 1. The author writes “Well I always wanted me a garden like used to see sometimes at the back of the houses down home. This plant is close as I ever got to having one … Lord, ain’t nothing as dreary as the view from this window on a dreary day is there? (53)” The last sentence in this quote has many possible meanings, but the view that strikes me is that MAMA is describing the “view” from the perspective of looking at the window not out of it. The barely living plant sitting on a windowsill, getting little to no light, and fighting to survive is a depressing sight for MAMA. The lifeless presence of the plant reminds her of the dream “deferred” or, in other words, a dream put on the shelf untouched.

When Big Walter passed MAMA made the decision to use a big portion of the insurance check for a down payment on a house, she was one step closer to achieving her and Big Walter’s dream until the rest of the money was stolen from them. The loss of the money deterred MAMA and the Younger family from moving into the new house. Hansberry describes this scene, “MAMA enters from her bedroom. She is lost, vague, trying to catch hold, to make some sense of her former command of the world, but it still eludes her… She goes to her plant, which has remained on the table, looks at it, picks it up and takes it to the windowsill and sits it outside, and she stands and looks at it a long moment. (139)” Distraught and emotionally drained from the emotional rollercoaster that is her life, MAMA puts the plant back into its usual spot. It is portrayed that by putting back the pot, MAMA is giving up on the dream once again, confident that it will likely not happen and that her life will remain the same. In the last stage direction of the play, Hansberry closes with MAMA packing up the last of the house, “MAMA stands, at last alone in the living room, her plant on the table before her as the lights start to come down … The lights dim down. The door opens and she comes back in, grabs her plant, and goes out for the last time. (151)”  MAMA grabbing the plant at the end is so important to this figurative theory behind the symbolic purpose of the plant. MAMA going back in the house to grab it and take it with her to the new Younger residence represents the conclusion of their life in the apartment and symbolizes the fulfillment of her and Big Walter’s dream.


Having read and watched A Raisin In The Sun, what purpose do you think Lorraine Hansberry had when she decided on the title of this play? What message was she trying to portray?

How can we compare the imagery of Langston Hughes’ a raisin in the sun to Hansberry’s symbol of MAMA’s beloved plant?