Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now

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Wisdom from a remarkable woman of many talents--a writer who captured America's heart on Inauguration Day.
Curriculet Details
9 Questions
11 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for 11th grade students contains interactive videos exploring rhetorical techniques, as well as annotations exploring the genre of wisdom literature and how language influences persuasion. Students will explore the themes of truth versus ignorance, diversity, and self-awareness. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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In All Ways a Woman

Did you know that this Curriculet has a built-in defining tool? To use this tool, click on any single word, and select "Define." This will bring up a list of definitions for most words. Try this tool with the word "frivolous" in the text.  
According to this first chapter, Maya Angelou, the author, is focusing on her struggles in a fight against 

Passports to Understanding

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, activist, and poet. She was a prominent figure in the Civil Rights movement, having worked with both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, and was a respected spokesperson for women. Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey Now is a collection of mostly personal essays and wisdom.  (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is the central idea Angelou espouses in this section "Passports to Understanding"?  

The Sweetness of Charity

Proverbs, or wisdom literature, appear in many cultures. From the proverbs of Confucius to the proverbs of modern day authors, such as Maya Angelou, wisdom literature is always a popular genre. To write this kind of literature, though, one has to have ethos, or moral authority. A video on ethos and the other rhetorical techniques can be found below. Watch the video and think think about the following question: What do you think qualifies Maya Angelou to write such a book?  (This annotation contains a video)

New Directions

The central idea that Angelou MOST likely wants the reader to acknowledge in the section "New Directions" is that  


This highlighted passage contains a reference to one of Jesus' sayings about what to do when an enemy strikes you. This is one of several Biblical phrases that have been referenced so far. Take a moment and think about how Angelou uses these phrases. Does she disagree with them? Use them as her own? Clarify them in the context of her own culture?  

In the Spirit

Take a moment and think about the structure of Angelou's argument in this section "In the Spirit." First, she states her position. She then provides an anecdote to support it. She then furthers her argument by stating how this ideal of being spiritual is really difficult. Why do you think she admits that she falls short of her own ideal? Does her confession make her more credible? This technique is often used in moral writing because audience members can better relate to someone who is realistic--not pretentious or false.  

What's So Funny?

In the section "What's So Funny?" Angelou's criticism is MOSTLY targeting 

Death and the Legacy

Reread this highlighted passage again. One thing that you might notice immediately is how endearingly she speaks about people who are different from her--"my Muslim darlings." The topic she is writing about--tolerance in a culturally pluralistic world--is a taboo subject that not too many people like to talk about. She makes no hesitations, though, to share how she really feels and thinks. How does Angelou's style and content contribute to the persuasiveness and beauty of her writing? 


Angelou argues in "Getups" that choosing clothes that one likes to wear makes a person more charming and graceful. What technique is used to convince us of this point?  

Living Well. Living Good.

Part I Quiz 

Power of the Word

Notice the use of hyperbole here as a rhetorical device. Obviously her grandma is not in outer space. This technique, though, helps us sense the magnitude of the grandmother's faith. It also creates a sense of beauty surrounding her faith. It brings the "heavenly" dimension of her faith into focus through carefully selected word choice. 

Further New Directions

Which of the following BEST captures the central idea set forth by Angelou's mother in "Further New Directions"?  


Think about the meaning of this highlighted passage. How is this maxim particularly relevant for Angelou and her audience? What examples have you seen of someone with a victim mentality become even more of a victim? 

At Harvesttime

Angelou develops her point of view about repercussions through the use of  

Voices of Respect

Part II Quiz 

Extending the Boundaries

This chapter, perhaps more than any other, shows an extended anecdote about a very personal and embarrassing moment in Angelou's life. If the point of these chapters is to teach the reader wisdom, what place do you think this chapter about an obvious social faux pas seems to have? What might make this story an effective way to impart wisdom? 
In "Extending the Boundaries" Angelou comes to realize her _________ makes it difficult for her to find love.  

Our Boys

A clip from this series is shown below. Watch this clip, and think about the following: What central ideas do you see in Angelou or hear in what she has to say that are also found in this book?  (This annotation contains a video)
What structural technique does Angelou use in this chapter, "Our Boys," to clarify her point about how similar all humanity is to each other?  

A Day Away

Similar to many of her other chapters, Angelou advocates self-reflection. How do you think she develops this idea throughout the text? In what ways does she make a convincing case for the importance of this practice?  
Part III Quiz