Defining America: Poems, Essays, and Short Stories

Lesson 9

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Objective

Explain the meaning and impact of specific words and phrases used in the essay, “An Iraqi Immigrant’s Unexpected Role,” and what the essay reveals about the immigrant experience.

Readings and Materials

  • Essay: “An Iraqi Immigrant’s Unexpected Role” by Cynthia Agustin 

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Target Task

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Writing Prompt

What does the title of “butcher’s wife” signify to the speaker? Support your answer with specific evidence from the text. What does this indicate about how she feels about herself and America?

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What does the title of “Auntie Akhtar” signify to the speaker? Support your answer with specific evidence from the text. What does this indicate about how she feels about herself and America?

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Key Questions

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Close Read Questions

What does the speaker mean when she says that leaving Iraq meant “starting our lives over”? Provide evidence from the text to support your answer.

How does going into the Piggly Wiggly conflict with the way that the speaker sees herself as a “devout Muslim”? Provide evidence from the text to support your answer.

When the butcher shop calls, the speaker says to the woman on the phone, “This is Akhtar al-Sinjari,” I nearly shouted. “Dr. al-Sinjari’s wife? Dr. al-Sinjari, the surgeon?” Why did the speaker emphasize the word “surgeon”? What is she trying to communicate?

Discussion Questions

How has the speaker’s sense of her own identity changed since she came to America? Support your answer with specific evidence from the text.

Exit Ticket

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Homework

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  • Essay: “Hello, My Name Is ______” by Jason Kim 

Enhanced lesson plan

Enhanced Lesson Plan

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Common Core Standards

  • RI.7.3 — Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).

  • RI.7.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

Spiral Standards

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L.7.6

RI.7.1

RI.7.3

SL.7.1

W.7.1

W.7.1.a

W.7.1.b

W.7.4

W.7.9.a