To get a closer look at the literary element of theme, we read the short story “The All-American Slurp” by Lensey Namioka found in Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes: Copper Level (Prentice Hall, 1999). It tells the story of a young girl (the narrator) and her family as they encounter table manners, clothing styles and other elements of American culture that differ from their Chinese customs.
We read page 517 together as a reminder that theme is often implied rather than clearly stated and to set a purpose for reading this story: to figure out the ways in which the Lin family changes. Next, we take a few minutes to preview the story so that we have an idea of its length and notice the illustrations and vocabulary terms.
I choose to read this story aloud to students so that we can work together to identify the implied theme. Some of the phrases I point out or that they find include “I worried more about making mistakes…” and “I looked completely out of place. What was I doing here? What was our family doing in the Lakeview restaurant? In America?” These clues help the students identify the theme (different cultures have different customs, but all people have similar feelings). The narrator and her family worry about making mistakes in speaking English and in adopting new customs, just as all people do when they are in a new country.
Presentation on theme: "The All-American Slurp by Lensey Namioka"— Presentation transcript:
1 The All-American Slurp by Lensey Namioka
2 What is a conclusion?A decision or an opinion you reach by drawing together details in a text.
3 What is a theme?An important idea or message that the author wants to convey.
4 Describe the way in which each Lin family member learns English.
The narrator worries a lot and takes care to speak correctly.Her brother learns English from his friends and speaks quickly, although not expertly.The father is scientific about learning English and is proud of his mastery of verb forms.The mother memorizes lists of polite phrases.
5 What does each person’s way of learning English show about his or her personality?
The narrator is concerned about what people will think about her.The brother is more concerned about communicating with friends than with speaking perfect English.The father is proud of his English.The mother is not as confident as the father but tries to be polite.
6 How do the Lins’ embarrass themselves at the restaurant?
They slurp their soup.
7 Compare: In what ways are the Gleasons’ actions at the Lins’ house similar to those of the Lins at the Gleasons’ house?Both families struggle to adapt to the others’ way of eating; both are coping as well as possible under the circumstances.
8 What theme about cultural differences does the story illustrate?
People from different cultures may have different customs, but they may also have many things in common.
9 What details or events support the theme?
Chinese people slurp soup, Americans slurp milkshakes; both families learned about different customs when they visited each other’s homes.
10 How does the narrator feel the first time her family eats raw celery
How does the narrator feel the first time her family eats raw celery? Why?The narrator is embarrassed. She is mortified. They pull the strings out of the stalk of celery. “Zippppp”
11 What happens when the Lins’ approach the buffet?
They do not realize how a buffet works and pull chairs up to the table and sit to eat.
12 What problem does the Lin family try to overcome in the story?
The Lins family tries to fit in by adjusting to American customs.
13 What does the narrator discover when she drinks a milkshake with Meg?
The narrator discovers that Americans slurp when drinking milkshakes.
14 What does the narrator learn about slurping?
The narrator learns that Americans and Chinese both slurp in some situations.
15 Contrast: What is the difference between the way that the Gleasons’ eat and the way that the Lins’ eat?The Gleasons pile food on their plates and mix the foods. The Lins eat one type of food at a time.
16 What lesson about life does the narrator learn?
The narrator learns how to fit in to new surroundings and that Americans and Chinese are not as different as she first thought. First, she learns that Americans eat raw celery and that slurping soup is considered bad manners in the United States. Although Chinese people slurp soup, Americans slurp milkshakes. Second, the narrator wants to wear jeans as the other girls do. She wants to understand American ways and fit in. Finally, she understands that the Gleasons are unfamiliar with Chinese eating customs and realizes that everyone has new experiences that can be embarrassing and that everyone has feelings. She is learning to be more accepting of others and of herself.
17 EmigratedLeft one country to settle in another. The Lin family emigrated from China.
18 Etiquette Acceptable social manners.
It is important to use proper etiquette and place your napkin on your lap when you eat a meal.
19 Consumption Eating; drinking; using up, consume.
My consumption of food after a football game is huge.