About Magical Realism

(1) Answer questions and write a “summative haiku” for “The Book of Sand”
(2) Write one (or two) original “magically realistic” haiku (a summative haiku for a story you have not yet written)

The Book of Sand discussion questions:

1. Borges writes that to proceed “more geometrico” is not the right way to begin, but nonetheless he leaves this as the beginning of the story? Why might he do this?

Those geometrico analogies can help the reader comprehend the following plot: there exists a book with countless pages.

2. What surprised the narrator most when he first examined the Book of Sand?

(1). the book has no beginning nor ending; (2). the characters in the book are unreadable.

3. Why couldn’t the narrator find the first and last pages of the Book of Sand?

Because there are always pages between the cover and his fingers.

4. Why doesn’t the bible seller haggle about the price of the Book of Sand?

Because his real purpose is to get rid of the book.

5. Why does the narrator stop going out of the house?

Because (1). he is absorbed in the book, (2). he fears that the book will be stolen.

6. Why does the narrator come to regard the Book of Sand as monstrous?

(1). the book prevents him from going outdoors and engage in social activities. (2) the book destroys his sleep.

7. Why does the narrator decide to “lose” the Book of Sand in the library?

Because he wants to get rid of it, and he hope no one can find it ever.

8. What sort of theme(s) does Borges explore in the story?

Mortals should not ask too much about the mysterious world.

9. What might the book of sand symbolize? Could it be a metaphor or analogy? For what?

Supernatural phenomena. Metaphor.


haiku on The Book of Sand:

The man disguised in grey

Comes with a shadow of seduction

Craze and terror


Another haiku:

On a sandy road

I drift like a ghostly balloon

Trucks flash by, rumbling

Comment on Hopeful Monster: Exploring an ELit Frankenstein of Hypertext & Kinetic Poetry~ by Cog.Dog

Fret not, the project for this class will not be as large as developing the original Elit pieces you have done (and reviewed so well), but more about conceptualizing *if* you were to use Elit to make a piece about a a concept or issue we have talked about in this class, what would it look like? It will be more of a design/thought concept paper with maybe a prototype then the full work.


Out of Our Experience: Useful Theory by Sheila Clawson, Marion S. MacLean, Marian M. Mohr, Mary Ann Nocerino, Courtney Rogers, and Betsy Sanford

“Because all six of us are white, native English-speaking, and women, we had long worked, us teachers, to become better informed about the diversity of our students and colleagues. We knew that social and cultural influences were always present in our research as well as our classrooms” (Clawson).


I wanted to continue with the idea of the teacher-learning and student-learning articles that have discussed pedagogies. This particular article has a very strong voice coming from a teacher. Multiple teachers give their ideas, thoughts, and research methods when it came down to using theory in the classroom. By the article being broken down into different sections, it was clear to see various views coming from these teachers.

As I mentioned before, I appreciated the fact that there were multiple authors who worked together for this article. What I found interesting was that they were all white women and actually wanted to learn how to apply diversity to their teachings. As a female student of color, I thought this was a step forward. Even if someone can’t relate to me, it is appreciated to teach lessons that can relate to me or my peers. They offered a new insight and new terms that I thought was interesting. “Betsy Sanford calls it an ‘organizing principle’, a framework from which to try our new practices and collect new data” (Clawson). There needs to be room for learning for teachers as well, not only the students. If that were the case, teachers would be out of a job and students would teach themselves.

If I had teachers growing up who were willing to learning as much as these authors and teachers, then I feel as if my education experience would have been completely different. They actually wanted to connect what they were learning and apply it into the classroom and the lessons they were teaching. This almost reminds me of the previous article that we read about “Bring the Funk” by Heather Bastian. Learning how to be creative and trying something new in the classroom can impact students. “Respect for our learner in a teaching-learning situation is complicated, and we were aware that our lives and the lives of our students and colleagues were different in many ways” (Sandford). This was absolutely amazing to me because one of the first step into understanding someone else is being aware that they are different from you and that they had and will go through things in their lives that are completely different from yours. These teachers, in fact, did apply theories to their experience and research. That made it easier for me to believe. “Because of the experiences we have already described and the theorists and researchers we have mentioned, the research in our schools leaned heavily toward adaptations of qualitative and ethnographic methodology” (Clawson). Once a teacher not only understands that but is aware of that, then there can be a different complex in the classroom.

Reprinted from Teacher Researchers for Better Schools. (New York/Berkeley: Teachers College Press and the National Writing Project, copyright 2004 by Teachers College, Columbia University. All rights reserved.), pp. 9-22.

Student Affective Responses to “Bringing the Funk” in the First-Year Writing Classroom by Heather Bastian

“This desire has been and remains productive for writing studies, allowing diverse voices and genres to permeate our classrooms and scholarship, exposing limitations of academic tradition and convention, and inviting students and teachers to flex our rhetorical acuity within public and private spheres” (Bastian, pg 7).


This article, written by Heather Bastian, talks about the goal of having a more diverse way of students write in the classroom and how teachers use more than one method in order to teach various topics. This was very interesting because the article described how thoughts and emotions go hand in hand. They are actually connected to one another. Not only emotions but other things as well. “Currently, writing studies has limited data on student affect-defined by Susan McLeod as noncognitive phenomena, including emotions but also intuitions-because, as many scholars have already observed, the field primarily focuses on the cognitive rather than the affective domain (Brand; Fulkerson; McLeod; Micciche; Richards) (Bastain, pg 9). The reason why I wanted to look further into this section of the article is that if we understand that writing comes in more than one way and in different genres, then there can be process when it comes to first-year writing students in higher education.

The term that was used throughout the article, “bringing the funk”, is something that should be used more in the classroom. My junior year of undergraduate school, Professor Hone told the class, “If school isn’t fun, then what is the point?”. The reason why I relate what my professor said to this article is because he understood that education goes beyond simply having something to write about, handing it in, and then receiving a grade back. More importantly, it is about what did you learn and take away by completing the assignment. However, I do understand that not everyone is like that.

Bastian also talked about how certain students were not comfortable with the atypical way of doing the assignment that was given to them. It all comes down to preference. “Other students found the freedom to move away from academic convention allowed them to express hidden talents…not all students, however, expressed comfort with the freedom granted by this assignment but, instead, found comfort in safety” (Bastian, pg 21). There were some students who preferred typical and some who wanted to the assignment in an atypical way. The point is to try something new and different. Connecting thoughts and emotions and bringing it into the classroom, I believe will truly make a difference.

When it comes to the teachers, I think they should have an open mind when it comes to changing methods of education in the classroom. “As such, writing teachers should be prepared for and not be discouraged or disappointed by the range of effective responses students may have as they move from what they perceive as familiar into unfamiliar genres (Bastian, pg 27). There needs to be room for not only students but teachers as well to be uncomfortable with changing their methods in order to make progress.




Bastian, Heather. “Capturing Individual Uptake: Toward a Disruptive Research Methodology.” Composition Forum, vol. 31, Spring 2015, composition forum.com/issue/31/individual-uptake.php.

If H. naledi buried their dead, would this constitute social symbolic behavior? Why or why not?

Yes, this would constitute social symbolic behavior. Several guesses: 

  1. Death was viewed as a certain kind of reborn. Buried dead could make their way to the underworld. 
  2. Maybe the buried dead was enemies of another group of Homo naledi. They were thrown into the cave so that their ghosts will be trapped in that cave and would never return for revenge. 
  3. Maybe the Homo naledi was afraid of the revival of the dead so they buried them to avoid terror. 

The Dialogic Function of Composition Pedagogy: Negotiating between Critical Theory and Public Values by Rebecca Moore Howard

This article was a more complicated reading for me personally compared to the previous articles we have read in class. The article discusses the problems of teaching and learning composition pedagogy and how literature is broken down for students to understand. “The arguments of literature scholars can also be traced in the college catalogs that list advanced offerings in literature but only required normative courses in composition. Composition, so goes this reasoning is different from literature and should be measured by its own standards” (Howard, 51). What I believe Howard is trying to argue here is that the topics of composition and literature have both similarities and differences that could be used when teaching. The problem is having the students fully comprehend it.

Howard continues on to say, “In this essay, however, I am urging that composition pedagogy be measured by its own standards-which, I am proposing, include a dialogic function” (pg 52). This essay does explain Howard’s proposal in introducing this a new way of understanding composition. However, throughout the article I found myself to be lost in translation. There were many times while reading this essay I could grasp the point she was trying to make; which made it more difficult to understand the overall point she was trying to make in this essay. One example of this would be when she gave the example of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk and how that relates to the differences in composition pedagogy and literature.

“I find myself taking an argumentative tack paralleling that of W.E.B. DuBois in The Souls of Black Folk:

Nineteenth-century African Americans suffered from a racial “double consciousness” in which they could fully appraise themselves neither by their own standards nor by those of white people” (pg 52). She mentions that the relationship between the two is not because of identity but rather in the subject of English itself. “Composition studies labors in a state of intellectual double consciousness, trying to demonstrate its value by asserting its identity with literary studies” (Howard, 52). This was a problem for me when trying to finish the rest of the essay because I was trying to understand if she was relating DuBois’s literature to having its own standard like composition and literature studies should; Or was she making the point that African Americans’ struggles of dealing with “double consciousness” relates to simply a subject of composition pedagogy.

Another issue that I had while reading this essay was how it related to research itself. A lot of the wording and material that was brought in this essay could have been said in a simpler way and I believe could have been constructed better. There was one idea that was brought to my attention that I thought was enlightening. The term “patchwriting” is something I have never heard before. “Patchwriting, according to composition theory and critical theory, is at the very least a necessary stage in learning new ideas. By many accounts, it is how all of us write all of the time” (Howard, 58). A term such as “patchwriting” is something that was new and I could take away from this essay and apply it to my own studies. Overall, the argument she was trying to make was good with some flaws. Unfortunately, for a growing student myself, it was just something I could not grasp fully.