Study Guide

One Crazy Summer Art and Culture

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Art and Culture

We know poetry isn't everybody's thing, but it's a really big deal in One Crazy Summer. First off, Cecile—or should we say Nzila—writes poetry as a way of expressing herself and the feelings of many in the Black Power movement. Her words aren't just words, then; they are a way of explaining what it's like to feel isolated and judged everywhere she goes. We guess poetry runs in the blood, because Afua (a.k.a. Fern) picks up the pen, too, crafting her own original poem.

At the rally, poetry unites the people. It also leaves the cops quaking in their boots. See? We told you it was a big deal.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Is art worth getting arrested or dying over? Do you think Cecile should keep fighting for her poetry?
  2. How does Cecile's poetry make people feel? What is the purpose of her poems?
  3. Why doesn't Cecile want her daughters to read her poems? Why aren't they allowed in the kitchen with the printing press and poetry? Why does she run off at the rally?

Chew on This

Freedom of expression is one of our most fundamental rights, so it's worth Cecile fighting for.

Writing and reading poetry is beautiful and pleasurable, but it's not worth getting arrested over.

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