Title: Characteristics of the genre:Historical fiction reconstructs past

Title: The Invention of WingsAuthor: Sue Monk KiddDate of Publication: Jan 07, 2014Genre: Historical fiction Biographical information about the author:Sue Monk Kidd was born in Sylvester, Georgia. She graduated from the Texas Christian University in 1970, she later took creative writing courses at Emory University and Anderson college. The invention of wings was her third published novel and debuted in the New York Times bestseller list as #1 for 9 months. The novel has won several literary awards, including the Florida Book of Year Award and the SIBA Book Award.  It was also nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award and was chosen for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.Historical Information about the period of publication: (2 to 3 sentences)In the early 1800’s (specifically in the south) the enslavement of African Americans was still very prominent and the lack of women’s rights was very apparent. During this time Cotton was the south’s most lucrative export and was heavily dependent on slave labor. Very few people recognized the inhumanity of these actions.  Characteristics of the genre:Historical fiction reconstructs past events in fictional stories. The inclusion of historical events or historical people paired with invented scenes and dialogue are used to convey an authentic and believable story.Plot summary (4 – 5 sentences MAX)The novel begins with Handful (Hetty) retelling African legend of people who could fly but lost their wings once they were taken to America that she heard from her mom (mauma) when she was ten. She is aware that it is simply a story but is fascinated by the concept. Originally she had been given the “job” of aiding her mother as a seamstress but on Sarah Grimke’s she is gifted as a maid. However, Sarah is not comfortable with the idea of enslavement and protest accepting the gift. She feels very helpless after she is forced to accept the gift by her mother who takes her request as an insult and decides to take to “legal action”. One night she sneaks into her father’s office/library and finds out that she has the ability to free a slave as a legal right, she writes a formal document freeing Hetty but the next morning wakes up to the letter ripped in front of her door. On Easter Sunday as Sarah sits in church she begins to understand how the bible is manipulated to fit the agenda of the slave owners. As an act of defiance, she decides to teach the enslaved children the alphabet that Sunday but is reminded of the fact that teaching a slave to read is illegal. This encourages Sarah to begin teaching Hetty how to write but eventually, Hetty is caught practicing her newly acquired skill. She is given the punishment of one whip lash while Sarah is banished from reading literature considered unfit for a woman which leads to her giving up her dreams of being a jurist. Six years later Sarah still dreads her expected roles in society however she is more receptive to doing them regardless. During this time she meets her first love, Burke Williams but after discovering his ill intentions she decides she’ll never marry and that her life will be dedicated to the cause of abolition. Describe the author’s style:  Sue Monk Kidd’s writing style could be categorized as descriptive narrative. An example that demonstrates the style:”He stood propped in the doorway behind her with his arms folded on his chest like he’s God watching the world go by” (Kidd 175).”My breath clutched at my ribs like grabbing hands. I closed my eyes, tired of the sorry world” (Kidd 280).THREE MEMORABLE QUOTES:QUOTATION(Quote only what is necessary to communicate a particular meaning and paraphrasing the rest and include proper MLA parenthetical citation)SIGNIFICANCE(In your explanation, provide context – what is happening/has happened before the quote – and why it is important – what happens as a result/how it affects  a character, future events, the novel’s  conflict,  and/or the novel’s meaning)”We’re all yearning for a wedge of sky, aren’t we? I suspect God plants these yearnings in us so we’ll at least try and change the course of things. We must try, that’s all” (Kidd 275).” I saw then what I hadn’t seen before, that I was very good at despising slavery in the abstract, in the removed and anonymous masses, but in the concrete, intimate flesh of the girl beside me, I’d lost the ability to be repulsed by it. I’d grown comfortable with the particulars  of evil. There’s a frightful muteness that dwells at the center of all unspeakable things, and I had found my way into it” (Kidd 115).”All things pass in the end, even the worst melancholy. I opened my dresser and pulled out the lava box that held my button. My eyes glazed at the sight of it, and this time I felt my spirit rise up and meet my will. I would not give up. I would err on the side of audacity. That was what I’d always done”(Kidd 78). Lucretia had brought in a letter to Sarah from Handful. It informed her that mauma was back and had brought “Sky” (Handfuls sister). Upon reading the letter, Sarah found herself overcome with emotions. She began imagining how life had been for Handful and her family since she had left to the North. This eventually led to her asking the rhetorical question “Why would God plant such deep yearnings in us… if they only come to nothing?” although she didn’t expect an answer Lucretia reminded her that God plants yearnings in people that go against the grain of the world. These desires usually come to nothing but despite life being arranged against us it’s important to remember it’s even worse for those who are enslaved. Even with the little influence we do possess it’s essential that those who can at least try to facilitate change. Sarah had walked in on Handful bathing in her tub which obviously wasn’t an accepted behavior. In an act of defiance, handful remained confident in the decision she had made and Sarah began to realize she was becoming upset as her mother would have if put in the same situation. She realized the hypocrisy that lied in her ability to recognize the inhumanity of slavery in a general sense but when faced a direct situation she found herself more comfortable with the evils she had been caught to confide in as a child.  Sarah had found herself somewhat discouraged after being banished from reading any literature that would further her education. Her mother, worried that she had been isolated for too long decided to summon their family psychian who diagnosed her with severe melancholy and hysteria. In addition to this she had come to the realization that her brother would soon be leaving to pursue his career as a jurist; this is something that would only remain a fantasy to her. She began sobbing until she was able to come to the conclusion that this discontentment would soon pass and wouldn’t cause her to give up on her dreams but simply reconsider them. CHARACTERS (This should include the protagonist, the antagonist and at least three minor characters who are important to the novel.NameRole in the StorySignificanceAdjectives to describe the characterHetty Grimke (Handful) / 1st protagonist Sarah Grimke/ 2nd protagonist              Angelina     (Nina) Grimke            Charlotte    Grimke (Mauma)     Mary Grimke (Mother/ Missus)/ 1st antagonist John Grimke (Father)/ 2nd antagonistShe is a slave in the Grimke household that is given to Sarah as a maid on her eleventh birthday. Based on a historical figure that lived from 1792-1873. She’s the daughter of a wealthy land-owning family in Charleston who supports the abolishment of slavery. Sarah’s younger sister as well as a historical figure that shared Sarah’s desire to abolish slavery.Handful’s mother and the main seamstress in the Grimke house. She is seeking freedom for herself as well as her daughter and is determined that handful knows her self-worth. The mother of the Grimke children. She is unaware of the problem with slavery and treats the household slaves very poorly. A higher positioned judge in the Charleston area who despite his recognition of the horrors of slavery doesn’t admit to this awareness until he is on his death-bed. As Hetty and Sarah begin to spend more time with each other they find themselves becoming closer. Sarah begins teaching her to read which is very appreciated by Hetty who has a somewhat rebellious spirit like her mother. Another similarity begins to arise as she becomes older and that is her desire for freedom. At a young age Sarah starts to recognize the atrocity that is slavery. She begins her rebellion with secretly teaching Hetty to read and promises her that she’ll seek a way for her to find freedom. Eventually she leaves to the north to become a Quaker with strong ties to the abolitionist movement. Nina, a more outspoken version of her sister shares Sarah’s desire to speak against slavery. She travels to the North as well to pursue the same goals. She has a very rebellious spirit and shows this in multiple attempts to push against what is acceptable. One of her only desires is to ensure that Handful knows that she has value outside of being enslaved. She is attempting to save the money necessary to free herself as well as her daughter. At one point she disappears and later returns with her newest daughter “Sky” who she had with Denmark Vesey. She never officially gained freedom but she leaves Handful with enough drive and money to allow both of her daughters to travel to the north. She is horrified by the abolitionist movement and is unable to comprehend why her daughters want to be part of it. Although Sarah and Nina attempt to encourage her to shift her mindset, she is unfazed by their efforts. After his career is terminated by a multitude of accusations of having bias in his sentences he is left with very few options. He becomes ill and travels north to receive health care. When Sarah travels to see him, he admits that he too sees the flaws that lie within slavery. -intelligent-hopeful-ambitious -insightful -headstrong-outspoken-determined -insubordinate-obstinate -harsh-contradictory SETTING:  Charleston, South Carolina SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OPENING SCENE: (In your explanation, provide specific examples/details from the novel that show how and why the opening scene is important to the novel’s overall meaning/how and why it sets the novel into action.)In the beginning her mother tells her a story of how the people in Africa could fly and had magic before they came to America. Handful knows the story is false but she realizes that they possessed power but it wasn’t the result of magic.SYMBOLS: (at least two)The silver button- represents Sarah’s dreams and aspirations Mauma’s quilt-  she has a quilt that she has been working on all of her life that tells her story as a slave. Though she can’t express her story because of the oppression she faces, the quilt gives her a voice. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ENDING/CLOSING SCENE: (In your explanation, provide specific examples/details from the novel that show how and why the final scene is significant to the novel’s overall meaning.)Handful and Sky are finally able to escape slavery with the help of Sarah. They disguise themselves in mourning dresses and place veils over their powdered faces. While boarding the steamboat that would carry them to the north they were confronted by a guard. Handful not wanting to expose her identity begins to weep which causes the guard to simply excuse her. As the boat begins it’s voyage, Sarah places her hand on Handful’s arm. Handful realizes that this small, seemingly insignificant action is representative of the last square on her mother’s quilt. She is able to leave Charleston behind with a sense of closure. POSSIBLE AP ANALYSIS PROMPT: (Remember, this will be on style and/or rhetorical devices.)In Sue Monk Kidd’s novel The Invention of Wings she claims that she drew inspiration from the words of Professor Julius Lester, “‘History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own'”.  Why would the author find this quote relevant to the events that took place in the book, do the characters demonstrate this quotes significance?POSSIBLE AP ARGUMENT PROMPT:Many would argue that gruesome acts should be censored for the sake of remaining appropriate. However, Kidd puts great detail into her depictions of cruelty towards slaves. By using extensive detail in what ways does the author bring the topic to the attention of those who refuse to accept it, Is this really necessary to solidify the importance of the topic?   POSSIBLE THEMES & TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION: (at least two)-The horrors of enslavement and why it’s important to remain resistant-The power of an individual’s voice and the effect of when it is taken away