Thursday, September 27, 2007


Cyber Essay 2 for English 201 8-9

In English 201, 8-9 a.m. today, we looked at citing sources, in particular, the signal phrase. See Hacker pp. 403-414. We also looked at transitional words and phrases. Once again we looked at the student essay response to The Lottery to see how the writer maintained coherence in her essay without an overuse of transitional words. Essays have coherence, paragraphs have unity. (Again see Hacker.)

When students write papers they are to include a works cited page and a bibliography if there were no direct citations. All academic or scholarly writing uses research. I always suggest a minimum of two sources. In the case of the last essay on hip hop and masculinity, one source everyone could cite was Hurt's film. We practiced writing the citation together. I don't think we practiced citing a book, magazine article (Jay-Z), or newspaper article (Too Short, plus a website). We could have cited a song too, but we'll get to that Monday.

Homework is to keep reading and doing the logs. We're up to chapter 5 people, but only two students were prepared.

We developed questions to explore in Holla If Ya Hear Me. Students were to take a question and use Dyson's book to find evidence to support their claims. I wanted students to use: 1 direct quote; 1 block quote; and 1 paraphrase.Don't forget that the quote is not the claim, it agrees with the writer, similar to the way a congregation agrees with the preacher. A citation is Amen!

Imagine Dyson, saying Amen!to your analysis. The Amen! follows the claim. It is proof that someone who is an expert, a famous expert (you could be an expert too), agrees with you. This ashay or let the words have power, gives your discourse credibility. It makes your audience sit up and take notice.

In this artificial setting, you will use more citations than you would in a natural writing setting, but the goal here is to practice locating support material in a text and then incorporating it into the text smoothly, thus the signal phrase.

Your citation doesn't have to come from one chapter. Use the evidence you need wherever it is in Dyson's book. End the essay with a wroks cited. I might add more questions later. For now, go with these.

Post your essays here. Minimally, it should be three-four paragraphs. Remember, you have to write first then look for evidence. An outline will probably help you here.

Questions, choose 1:

1. What are Tupac's thoughts on American educational system? (Chapter 3)

2. What influences did Leila Steinberg have on the beginning of Tupac's career? (Chapter 3)

3. Was Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, a good role model for her son? (Chapter 2)

4. How did Tupac's mother's life as a revolutionary affect his development as a young man and as an American citizen?

5. How is black motherhood second to God?

6. Why did Tupac resent the fact that his mother was betrayed by the Black Panther Party?

7. How did Afeni Shakur, regardless of her foibles, live up to her title: Black Queen?

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What influences did Leila Steinberg have on the beginning of Tupac's career?

Leila Steinberg was very
influential to Tupac Shakur’s career because they had a lot of commonalities as it pertained to their upbringing, love for music, literature, teaching, and the arts. They learned immensely from one another, but even more importantly they assisted in each others growth. Tupac possessed certain attributes that Leila needed, and vice versa.

It was unequivocally fate that brought the two together. In her efforts to create an inner city Program for the youth, Leila often stated, “I need to find somebody who has that political connection and the social connection, but is
really ready to also move past…a world of…black and white.” (Dyson 88-89)Ironically, prior to their formally meeting, the two had a run-in the previous evening at a club, they shared a brief exchange of eye contact which ultimately led to a dance. Nothing ever came of it, no formal introduction of
names or even a goodbye. As fate would have it, the two were surprisingly reunited the next afternoon, (90) and he would soon come to be that “somebody” she had been seeking.

Tupac and Leila hit it off immediately, she took him under her wing and moved him in with her family.
(this part is the block quote) Tupac and Steinberg began to tour the schools together. She taught; he rapped. Their success forged a profound bond between the two. Tupac told her almost immediately that he was soon going to be a famous artist selling millions of records and that she was going to be his manager.(end of black quote)
Not surprisingly, all of Tupac’s then empty statements rung true. His success was nurtured by Leila’s never ending belief, compassion, commitment, and support for him. She was that constant in his life that he yearned for from an early age. I’d like to look at them as the modern day Hip-Hop Bonnie and Clyde. Not in a negative aspect, but in the sense that they were a dynamic duo, and could always count on each other.

Both Tupac and Leila shared a passion for children. Their goal was to educate, uplift, and mentor children. Coupled with the guidance they gave to the kids, their common passion for literature and reading was ultimately how Tupac’s lyrics were created for his best-selling music.

Dyson, M.E. (2001). Holler If You Hear Me
2. What influences did Leila Steinberg have on the beginning of Tupac's career?

Having a mentor or benefactor is great privilege to a youth. Especially when the youth doesn’t have parents who are the respectable role model, who encourage his possibility, or who love who he is, the role of mentor is very crucial. For these reasons, Leila’s influences on the beginning of Tupac’s career are very important.
Dyson insists the meeting between Tupac and Leila as a, “serendipitous meeting that changed both of their lives” (85). When Tupac suffered from the absence of his mother, he encountered Leila who was looking for a young black man who had ability to represent disfranchised group’s voice through rap. Through their fellowship, she became his supporter and fanned Tupac’s growing flames.
Though Dyson claims that Leila’s most important role in Tupac’s life was as literary soul mate (92), I think the most important role Leila played was that she put her trust in Tupac from his beginning to his end. Earning the trust holds one’s life firmly. This relationship gave Tupac’s life stability.
Leila’s important influences on the Tupac’s beginning of career continue through his whole life, even after his death. Dyson’s comment shows her influences eloquently:(this part is the block quoit)
She remained a crucial presence in his life. She argued with him about his ideas and career direction. She supported him through his personal and career crises. She listened to his boyish pride in his famous conquests. She provided unflagging love to an artist she saw rapidly transform from a sweet-faced teen to an internationally recognized rap superstar. But above all she believed in the mythological power of his life and career, a belief that has only enlarged since his tragic death. (92)

Dyson, Michael Eric. Holler If You Hear Me. Searching for Tupac Shakur. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2006.
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