Archive for August, 2018

Discussion Questions for the Introduction and Chapter One

August 28, 2018


In the opening pages of the Introduction, the author relates the reactions of two different groups of boys to low flying planes over the soccer field. What do you think the author wants to communicate with this?

What do we learn about the refugees from the Introduction?

What do we learn about the town of Clarkston?

On page 6, the author gives information about his connection to the Fugees and his project in writing the book. Why do you think he waits so long? What would the effect have been had he begun the book with this part and omitted the description of the soccer game?

From reading the Introduction, what do we learn about the author’s character and values? Which passages can be used as evidence to illustrate specific character traits and/or values?

What evidence from the Introduction suggests that the author is a credible reporter?

How does the example of Zubaid, the “tiny defender from Afghanistan” (7), function in the Introduction? What does it help the author do?

When the author says, “I saw a great deal of soccer over the next few months, but the most moving moments for me—and the most instructive and insightful—came not on the sidelines but over hot cups of sugary tea, over meals of stewed cassava or beans and rice, or platters of steaming Afghan mantu, on the sofas and floors of the apartments of refugees in Clarkston” (8), what is he revealing about himself, his values, and the kind of person he is?

On page 8, St. John compares soccer to basketball, football and baseball. What are the differences between these games, according to the author? And how does St. John use soccer as a “useful framework” for trying to understand this group of refugees?

When the author uses the metaphor of a lifeboat to describe Clarkston, referring to it as a “modest little boat that the locals thought they had claimed for themselves” (10), what is he suggesting? How does he want readers to understand this metaphor?


What do we learn about Luma’s family in the first pages of Chapter One?

How is the example of Luma making her cousins and sister run while she trailed behind in a car an example of, as St. John calls it, “tough love in action” (17)? What did it teach and how?

How does what we learn about Luma’s developing coaching philosophy foreshadow one of the main themes of the book? (1st full paragraph on page 20.)

What is Luma’s experience at Smith College, the women’s school in Northampton, MA.?

What competing pressures does Luma start to grapple with as she starts to grow older and begins coaching the junior varsity girls soccer team at the American Community School?

What American qualities and/or characteristics of life is Luma attracted to even though staying in America means making a serious break with her family?

What do readers learn about Warren St. John’s professional work ethic when he says, “Brown — who soon moved to Damascus, and later to Israel with her husband and family — lost touch over the years with her star player, but she kept Luma’s [baseball] glove from one move to the next …. ‘The webbing has rotted and come out,’ Brown told me from Israel, where I tracked her down by phone” (23).

Why was Luma “shaken up” when a handyman, who sought to impress her, showed her a robe and hood once worn by his grandfather” (24)?

Why were Luma’s friends afraid that she, “a Muslim woman from Jordan, wouldn’t fit in down in Dixie” (24)?

What is the purpose of this chapter? What does it help the author achieve with his readers?

Sample MLA Essay

August 28, 2018

Below is a link to a PDF of a sample MLA essay in proper format.

Sample MLA Essay Format_MLA 8th Ed.

Assignment 1: Writing a Summary

August 28, 2018

Here are some strategies for comprehending and summarizing the book’s introduction:

1) Look over the introduction for the main idea. At this stage, avoid concentrating on details.

2) Make an outline of the introduction in your mind or on paper. What’s the logic of his organization?

3) Pay attention to topic sentences. The topic sentence is the general statement that controls the details and examples in the paragraph.

4) Don’t overlook signposts (words and phrases like but, however, nevertheless, yet, for example, the first reason, etc.). This is the author signaling to you that he’s providing support or shifting to a new point.

5) Look up unfamiliar words! Use a dictionary – if a word you don’t understanding seems important to the passage – look it up before going on.

6) If you use a highlighter to mark main points, use it sparingly. Focus on only the main points of the article, so you can use those highlighted sentences for your own summary.

This is called annotating a text – where you mark it up in various ways to increase your comprehension of the text (if you own the book!).

More useful than highlighting is marginal notes and underlining. You can go crazy with highlighting to the point that it’s no longer useful.

But if you underline a sentence or a phrase and then write a note in the margin of that paragraph, you will remember what that point the author was making.

As you annotate, you can also make notes of questions you still have after reading the text. These questions can be the basis for class discussion.

Basic Guidelines:

Start your summary with the title and the author’s full name. You should include the source title as well.


“In his Introduction to his book Outcasts United, Warren St. John explains that ___________”

“Warren St. John, in the Introduction to his book Outcasts United, describes ________”

After you have introduced the basic information about the book, the content of your summary should begin by providing the reader with the main idea or overall purpose of the text.

Ask yourself:

Why did St. John write the Introduction? What is the author’s purpose in writing the intro?

What is the main idea he wants to get across to the reader in the Introduction?

Use your own words throughout most of your summary.

Be sure to place any exact words or phrases from your text in quotation marks.

Limit your use of quotations in the summary to the author’s words or expressions that cannot be condensed or stated in your own way.

Your summary should contain only the main points of the text and avoid mentioning minor details.

Remember that a summary does not include your own opinion of the text on the issue. Save your opinion/thesis for essay writing. In a summary, you are just summarizing up what someone else has written, not writing your own opinion.

After naming the author in the opening sentence of your summary, use the author’s last name along with the words “the author” throughout the summary to remind the reader that the ideas belong to the author. Use signal phrases such as:

According to St. John
St. John also states
The author adds
The author points out that
The author asserts that

The AA-T (English for Transfer degree)

August 24, 2018

Attached below is a flyer prepared by the staff at West. Students who successfully complete the AA-T in English for Transfer degree meet the requirements for SB 1440 for Associate Degrees for Transfer. The degrees were developed to
ease the transfer processfor students to the CSUs.

Contact Dr. Katherine Boutry with any inquiries:

FINAL- Become an English Major flyer