I’m studying for my English class and need an explanation.

This week’s Literary Discussion Board centers on two texts, Sherman Alexie’s “Capital Punishment” and Charles J. Ogletree’s “Condemned to Die Because He’s Black.”

Below I’ve posted two questions sets for each of the texts. In a 200-word post, please choose and answer one question set from each text.

“Capital Punishment”

1. Why do you think Alexie cast the speaker as the condemned man’s cook? How do you explain the speaker’s shift from denying that he is a witness to acknowledging that he is one? Identify how he seems to define the term witness. What would you say to someone who argues that the speaker is unreasonably stretching the meaning of this word because apparently he didn’t directly observe the execution?

2. How does race figure in this poem? Should people consider race when discussing capital punishment? If so, what about race should they especially ponder? In examining Alexie’s poem, should readers bear in mind that the author is Native American? Why, or why not?

“Condemned to Die Because He’s Black”

1. What elements of Ogletree’s argument did you find the most persuasive? Why? What elements are the least persuasive? Why?

2. Describe the various kinds of support and evidence that Ogletree provides.



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