1) Do you agree with Didion’s implicit criticism of what marriage has become in our culture? What purposes do you believe it still serves?
2) Cofer intersperses her story with digressions, ruminations. (In other words, she interrupts the story, the narrative, with her ideas.) Are there any other essays that we’ve read so far (from either chapter) that do this? Do you find it effective?
3) In “Fifth Avenue, Uptown,” where is the thesis statement? That is, what is the main point and where is it? Do you think that its position in the essay is effective? Should it be more or less clearly stated?
4) Byers’s essay is a meditation on the significance of national monuments, particularly those in Washington D. C. In light of the recent protests, which national (or state or local) monuments do you think are relevant & important today, and which ones, if any, should be removed? Be sure to give clear reasons for your positions.
5) Even though they appear vastly different, what similarities exist between “Once More to the Lake” and “Monuments to our Better Nature”? Anything about persistence, about ritual, about vitality? More?
6) Think about the parts of speech — verbs, nouns, pronouns, conjunctions, adjectives, prepositions, adverbs, and interjections. Which of these can be the most powerful in description? Does it depend on the circumstances, the subject matter?