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CommonLit AN OBSTACLE Answer Key
Find the answers for the topic “AN OBSTACLE” below:
Note: Be prepared to share your original ideas in a class discussion.
Discussion Questions & Answers
Following are our answers based on the questions provided:
Q.1. Consider the context of this work. What does this poem teach us about women and men in the late nineteenth century? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
Ans: Gilman´s poem describes the obstacle in her path, and symbolically the obstacle in all women´s lives, as the prejudice, a male presence that won´t let her go on. She overcomes this obstacle by just ignoring it, which becomes clear in the last stanza: “I walked directly through him as if he wasn’t there”. The idea is that we can not change the minds of those who want gender discrimination to remain, but we can still overcome them as long as we can work on bettering society. Knowing the kind of resilient spirit that the women who fought for female rights during the late nineteenth century had to have to be able to succeed makes me humble and at the same time, it inspires me. There´s still a lot to conquer on female rights, and ignoring those who want to deter that movement is as difficult as necessary.
Q.2. What does the author imply about the nature of prejudice in this poem? How does the author suggest one should react to prejudice?
Ans: According to the author, prejudice is often portrayed as a negative force that divides people and creates conflict. In society, individuals who experience prejudice can react in a similar way. Some may become advocates for change and work to challenge and overcome prejudice and discrimination.
Q.3. Have you ever faced prejudice in your life? What, in your opinion, is an effective way to deal with prejudice?
Ans: One of our friend faced Prejudice in his life and he explained The only prejudice he has ever faced (I am white, Irish-Native American ancestry, Protestant in the American South–very typical) has been late in life.
Ageism: the company for which he was an award-winning salesman for a number of years suffered badly after the 2008 economic meltdown. Since we became uncompetitive, his income dropped and he began to job hunt. He was 57 at that time and although there are laws against age discrimination and employers can’t even ask your age, they still ask on their online apps when you graduated high school! Not only did he not get considered for jobs he was suited to…. He didn’t even get replies to the applications.
The first and most important step in the fight against everyday prejudices is to recognize them and acknowledge that we are all affected by them. The second step is to try to make sure that your own prejudices do not determine your behavior. Step three: react! If someone around you hurts other people, insults entire groups, or uses prejudice to define them, react.
Q.4. In the context of this poem, how does a person overcome adversity? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
Ans: It’s something that happens to all of us at the best of times and can be difficult at times but we all get over it. An example of one time I had to face adversity is when one day I had a HUGE project to turn in I worked super hard on it and double-checked my answers I was sure I would get an A+. However, on the day the project was due I was so happy because I could finally turn my project in that class and raise my low grade, Unfortunately, I forgot my project at home and both my parents were at work so no one could bring me it (my teacher at the time didn’t accept late work) and I just had to deal with having a bad grade and a Z on that project. It was difficult to raise my grade but somehow I managed to do it this just shows that any of us can overpower Adversity.
Text Dependent Questions & Answers
Following are our answers based on the questions provided:
Q.1. How does the setting of the poem contribute to its central theme?
Ans: The speaker climbs a mountain path, which suggests an upward struggle; thus, the setting underscores the central theme of resilience in the face of adversity.
Q.2. Summarize how the speaker responds to Prejudice over the course of the poem. Be sure to include any figurative interpretations or meanings of these reactions.
Ans: The Speaker tries to speak politely and reason with prejudice to let her pass, but when he refuses to move, she walks right through him.
Q.3. PART A: Which of the following statements best explains the reference to the monument of Bunker Hill in lines 35-36?
Ans: The speaker compares Prejudice to the monument of Bunker Hill to describe Prejudice’s level of stubbornness; like the massive monument, he can not be moved.
Q.4. PART B: Which of the following phrases best supports the answer to Part A?
Ans: “I might be kneeling still / If so I hoped to move that mass / Of obdurate ill-will–“(Lines 32-34)
Q.5. How does the final stanza contribute to the speaker’s developing point of view?
Ans: The final stanza shows the speaker overcoming prejudice.
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In CommonLit, “AN OBSTACLE” is one of the favorite poems for students authored by Charlotte Perkins Gilman for grade 9 students.
When exploring “An Obstacle,” reflect on the historical backdrop of the poem and the experiences of women in the late 19th century. Pay attention to the vivid imagery and personification employed in the poem, and analyze their significance in conveying the poem’s underlying meaning.
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