Representing People Reading Questions

The following questions are meant to guide your reading and give you a framework for your blog posts, but feel free to a) ignore the questions and respond in a different way to the readings, or b) react to or expand upon another student’s previously posted reading response. If you do decide to use the questions, feel free to focus on one or two rather than answering all three.

  1. Mehta, Berger and Ellick all set out to describe diverse communities in the outer boroughs. After reading the three articles, identify a couple of passages that strike you as particularly convincing, or that “ring true” to you. Without perhaps having been to the communities they describe, when and why do the writers seem to be more effective in capturing something real about the communities they’re writing about. What kinds of writing techniques, generally, allow a writer to describe a diverse neighborhood (or in Mehta’s case, building) in evocative and believable terms?
  2. Ellick admits his own failure to penetrate, experience and describe the “ethnic underground” of Jackson Heights. Why do you think he failed? What could he have done differently?
  3. Has there been a time in your life when you have been allowed a window into the everyday life of a group of people different from you? Has there been a time when you have felt “closed” out, as Ellick was? Tell us about it.

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