The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian: Agree/Disagree sheet

I disagree with the statement “Anyone can raise themselves out of poverty if they¬† have enough determination,” because…

She wakes up to the squeak of the rusted door on its worn hinges. A brisk wind flows into the gloomy sweatshop. It offers a brief respite from the cotton dust that fills the air of the cramped carpet factory, where giant looms dwarf her tiny body. The sun has yet to rise, but the factory owner barks at the small children to work. Maybe her tiny hands could fly across the loom, weaving faster than ever before. Perhaps she could work vigorously enough, quickly enough, for long enough that she could settle the debt that her family owes.¬† She hears seductive promises of a better life. She just needs to be more determined. Maybe one day she could settle this debt, provide food for her family’s table. But the factory owners have stacked the odds against her. They spread this concept of the American Dream, a promise of social mobility, of prosperity, to those who earn it. A belief that if one fights tooth and nail with all their intent, one can drag themselves out of the worst poverty. Unfortunately, the American Dream is not realistic. No amount of initiative, drive, or determination can atone for the fact that she’s never seen the inside of a classroom, never even opened a book. It can’t compensate for the fact that her parents sold her into slave labor at the age of five to put food on the table or to satisfy a decades-old debt. Any opportunity her future may have held has been lost as wealthy factory owners exploit her labor to line their pockets. She is but only one of the millions of impoverished child laborers who have been robbed of a childhood and a future because of where they were born and the greed of others. How can we expect children supposed to pull themselves out of poverty? How can we possibly preach a message of hope and determination when we live in a such a corrupt, capitalist world?


Speech Storytelling Arc

Main focus: I want to talk about feminism in that era (the eighties) and how Sally Ride was a symbol of change in a typically conservative agency (NASA) and field (STEM).


Exposition: I want to talk about NASA’s decision to allow women and minorities to become astronauts, and introduce Sally’s character as a Ph.D. student navigating the admissions process


Conflict Introduced: Talk about the sexism in that era, which is unimaginable to a lot of youth today*


Talk about how the astronauts were used as a source of American propaganda

  • maybe touch on homophobia
  • high expectations for astronauts
  • a role model for young girls interested in STEM
  • difficulties in the application process
    • NASA was filled with a lot of straight white men who were used to having a position of power


Talk about the misinformation and misconceptions that were rampant inside NASA


Talk about sexism that she faced from the press, including rude and oblivious questions asked by male reporters-ex: “When things go wrong on training mission do you weep?”


Sally sitting on the Challenger, preparing to blast off into space


How Sally Ride proved without a doubt that women are capable of accomplishing all the things that men can


Founding Sally Ride Science

*NOTE: I am currently working to secure an email with Lynn Sherr, who is an eminent feminist who covered the STS 7 mission and wrote a comprehensive biography on Sally