The Great Gatsby

Insight Publications
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Insight Study Guides are written by experts and cover a range of popular literature, plays and films. Designed to provide insight and an overview about each text for students and teachers, these guides endeavor to develop knowledge and understanding rather than just provide answers and summaries.
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About the author

Virginia Lee, BA (Hons), Dip. Ed., has been teaching senior English since 1974 and has co-authored a number of English textbooks. Her long association with Insight Publications includes writing the Insight Study Guides on Lantana and The Great Gatsby. She currently teaches at the Senior Secondary campus of Emmaus College, Burwood, Victoria.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Insight Publications
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Published on
Sep 30, 2011
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Pages
56
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ISBN
9781875882083
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Secondary
Literary Criticism / American / General
Study Aids / Study Guides
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize • “In all of the literature addressing education, race, poverty, and criminal justice, there has been nothing quite like Reading with Patrick.”—The Atlantic

A memoir of the life-changing friendship between an idealistic young teacher and her gifted student, jailed for murder in the Mississippi Delta

Recently graduated from Harvard University, Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America, still disabled by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. In this stirring memoir, Kuo, the child of Taiwanese immigrants, shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning, and his remarkable literary and personal awakening.

Convinced she can make a difference in the lives of her teenaged students, Michelle Kuo puts her heart into her work, using quiet reading time and guided writing to foster a sense of self in students left behind by a broken school system. Though Michelle loses some students to truancy and even gun violence, she is inspired by some such as Patrick. Fifteen and in the eighth grade, Patrick begins to thrive under Michelle’s exacting attention. However, after two years of teaching, Michelle feels pressure from her parents and the draw of opportunities outside the Delta and leaves Arkansas to attend law school.

Then, on the eve of her law-school graduation, Michelle learns that Patrick has been jailed for murder. Feeling that she left the Delta prematurely and determined to fix her mistake, Michelle returns to Helena and resumes Patrick’s education—even as he sits in a jail cell awaiting trial. Every day for the next seven months they pore over classic novels, poems, and works of history. Little by little, Patrick grows into a confident, expressive writer and a dedicated reader galvanized by the works of Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Walt Whitman, W. S. Merwin, and others. In her time reading with Patrick, Michelle is herself transformed, contending with the legacy of racism and the questions of what constitutes a “good” life and what the privileged owe to those with bleaker prospects.

“A powerful meditation on how one person can affect the life of another . . . One of the great strengths of Reading with Patrick is its portrayal of the risk inherent to teaching.”—The Seattle Times

“[A] tender memoir.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
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