The strongest poems in Carrying the World are the most personal ones, which deal mostly with family – especially with motherhood, and with coming to terms with family history. Demerara sugar , for example, describes a research trip through England, weaving together observations, oral histories, and chant-like invocations of place-names and the products – sugar, molasses, coffee beans – produced by slaves.
Sure, this quashes the shallow pretense of expecting undergraduates to engage in thoughtful analysis, but they have already proven that they will go to any lengths to avoid doing this. Call me a defeatist, but honestly I’d be happy if a plurality of American college students could discern even the skeletal plot of anything they were assigned. With more exams and no papers, they’ll at least have a shot at retaining, just for a short while, the basic facts of some of the greatest stories ever recorded. In that short while, they may even develop the tiniest inkling of what Martha Nussbaum calls “sympathetic imagination”—the cultivation of our own humanity, and something that unfolds when we’re touched by stories of people who are very much unlike us. And that, frankly, is more than any essay will ever do for them.
"during the school holiday, i killed a person." and i think i'm gonna turn in that essay to my teacher
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