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Quilting American Identity
In Cathy Fitzgerald’s English 2: Cultural Perspectives and Identity class, students have read several works exploring how a person’s identity and culture shape each other. Students read and executed a comparative analysis of Teresa Paloma Acosta's poem, "My Mother Pieced Quilts" and Alice Walker's short story, "Everyday Use." The class expanded the discussion by exploring how quilts and quilting, an early American form of folk art, served as an important form of expression and friendship, a way for women on the prairie to come together, share stories and get important work done with many hands.
The class discussed the ways in which quilting is an apt metaphor for America and created art squares representing their many cultural identities—race, gender, hobbies, etc. The squares hang together in their class, forming a quilt that tells the complex story of students’ shared and unique cultural identities.