Brown Girl Dreaming: Why This Book Works

A Scripted Freelance Writer Writing Sample


A memoir in verse about Jacqueline Woodson's childhood, formative years, and extended family's history in South Carolina and Ohio. Poems are 1-3 pages, free verse, and range from topics of the speaker's birth, moving to New York, family who lived under Jim Crow, and her relationship with her parents.

From The National Book Award website:"Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child's soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson's eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become."

Why This Text Works

The book offers instructors various ways to incorporate supplemental texts, whether choosing to stick closely to the book and author, or venturing into all kinds of examinations about contemporary issues.

Students can engage by:

  • Reflecting on themselves as readers, and readers of poetry

  • Comparing a memoir-in-verse to prose

  • Examining individual poems, sections, and the entire book

  • Exploring themes, patterns, variations, characters, places, and historical events

  • Reading aloud and performing poetry

  • Researching historical figures and events of the Civil Rights era, particularly in South Carolina

  • Relating issues of Jim Crow and segregation to contemporary issues of race their cities

Poetry and Rhetoric

The book offers instructors various ways to incorporate supplemental texts, whether choosing to stick closely to the book and author, or venturing into all kinds of examinations about contemporary issues. Students can engage by:

Teachers may be wondering how a collection of poetry will ground a semester of rhetorically based assignments, how this class will avoid becoming one on literary analysis, and what broader social themes students will explore.

A course centered around Woodson's poem can focus largely on audience. Students can examine their previous experiences with reading and reading poetry; then reflect on the role of the audience as reader and listener, as they perform and listen to poems in class. Students can examine poetic devices as rhetorical devices , asking themselves what the author's appeals are, what the author is trying to persuade us of, how the author is trying to identify with us, what hidden arguments (enthymeme) we can discern, how the author constructs her ethos, and how the collection raises issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, migration, slavery, reconstruction, violence, abandonment, and civil rights.

In short, literature and poetic language can be an occasion for rhetorical study, especially with this memoir in verse that explores history, race, class, and gender.

Subscribe for the latest in Content Marketing & Freelance Writing!

Melody G

St. Louis, Missouri, United States •

Melody S. Gee is a freelance writer and editor based in St. Louis, MO, with 10 years of writing and editing experience, and 14 years of college teaching and curriculum design experience. For bloggers and website owners, Melody creates informative web content and popular SEO articles to drive traffic to your site. She has researched and written landing pages and articles on higher education, relationships & counseling, residential real estate, nutrition, leadership & management, health & wellness. With graphic design experience and working knowledge of Wix and Wordpress, Melody can help refresh or redesign your website, infographic, brochure, or mailer. For instructional designers, Melody creates and edits curriculum materials for all grades, based on the latest trends in Instructional Design and Universal Design, with specializatio...

Customer Ratings 13
7 Customer Favorites
80% Followed Guidelines
Power your marketing with great writing. – Start your 30-day free trial today! Start Free Trial

While you're here, have you tried Scripted lately?

Used to be a member, but moved on? Heard of it, but never signed up? The current iteration of Scripted will amaze you! Streamline your content writing efforts and build your own team of high-quality writers. It's all you need for content writing. Try it free today and meet your next favorite writer or writers!

Scripted’s talented community of freelance writers have a variety of expertise and specialties. While many of our customers hire writers to execute their content marketing strategy, our writers deliver high-quality content in many formats. You can find content writers, blog writers, ghostwriters, and SEO writers all with experience in your niche.

Other content marketing examples from Melody G

Keep the Gifts, Lose the Stress

Getting back to work and school after the holidays can be a battle for families. After weeks of t... Read More

Readings for a New Semester

_This is the first post of a three-part series. _ As we start a new school year, I wanted to sha... Read More

FAQ: Developing Writers

**What is Developing Writers?** > Developing Writers is a community-driven website where members... Read More

Button Up for Spring (Product Description)

The clean, relaxed fit of FWQT's new Grey Denim Trucker Jacket will enhance your day time or ... Read More

3 Must-See Places in St. Louis

St. Louis, the perfect kid-friendly and affordable family vacation destination, is waiting to sho... Read More