Mrs. Flowers - Homework

Making Meanings 

Shaping Interpretations

1. Think about the stone wall in “A Time to Talk.” How did Marguerite build a wall around herself? How did Mrs. Flowers help her knock it down? 

2. Go back to the text and find the only two words spoken by Marguerite. What do you think Angelou means when she writes “It was the least I could do, but it was the most also”? (page 3)

3. At the beginning of “Mrs. Flowers,” Maya Angelou says that she “sopped around” until Mrs. Flowers threw her a “lifeline.” What main idea does Angelou suggest here? What supporting details throughout the memoir develop this main idea? 

4. In your opinion, would Maya Angelou have become a famous writer if Mrs. Flowers hadn’t singled her out for attention when she was young? Support your answer with evidence from the text. 

5. Who is “the measure of what a human being can be” for you? Why? (It doesn’t have to be someone you know personally.) 

6. What do you think Mrs. Flowers means when she tells Marguerite that she “must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy”? Is that good advice for today? Draw on your own experience to support your answer. 

7. Like Marguerite, many young people today are at risk. How could a friendship with an older person like Mrs. Flowers help someone who is in trouble? 


Choices: Building Your Portfolio 

Collecting Ideas for an Autobiographical Incident 

Write briefly about a time when somebody threw you a lifeline, singled you out for attention, or made you feel that you were liked and respected for yourself. Be sure to include details and images. What sights, sounds, tastes, smells, or feelings do you associate with this experience?

Grammar Link: Mini-Lesson 

Its or It’s
Confusing its and it’s is one of the most common errors writers make. 

1. It’s is a contraction of it is or it has. Contractions shorten words by replacing one letter or more with an apostrophe. The apostrophe in it’s shows where a letter or letters were taken out. 


2. Its is the possessive form of it. A possessive shows ownership: Its indicates something belonging to it. The possessive form of a noun—such as novel’s—has an apostrophe. The possessive form of a personal pronoun—such as its—does not. 


If you’re unsure whether its or it’s is correct, try using it is in the sentence. For example, which is correct: It’s author is Maya Angelou or Its author is Maya Angelou? Since It is author doesn’t make sense, Its is correct. 

Try It Out 
Copy the following paragraph, choosing the correct form from each underlined pair. 
(1) Mrs. Flowers told Marguerite that its/it’s not enough just to read and write. (2) Spoken language has its/it’s importance, too. (3) Reading a sentence aloud helps bring out its/it’s deeper meaning. (4) Marguerite found out that its/it’s possible to read a sentence many different ways.

Click here to navigate through the story: page 1, page 2, page 3, and Homework.


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