Snapshot: Passage Study

Take a look at this passage:

from Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator of Nike by Phil Knight.


        “Perhaps nothing ever revealed my mother’s true nature like the frequent drills she put me through. As a young girl she’d witnessed a house in her neighborhood burn to the ground; one of the people inside had been killed. So she often tied a rope to the post of my bed and made me use it to rappel out of my second-floor window. While she timed  me. What must the neighbors have thought? What must I have thought? Probably this: Life is dangerous. And this: We must always be prepared.

          And this: My mother loves me.”

I loved this passage. As a writer, I like how he poses several questions after he shares such a vivid image of he and his mother practising escaping a burning building. In recounting the story, he wonders what it must have looked like to others– but more importantly, he answers what it made him think of… and in the stragest of circumstances, he sees that his mother’s odd behaviour was really her love for him.

This was a great passage for students to note and imitate craft. Share a vignette, pose the questions. End with possibilities: Probably this:… And this… And this…

Read my review of Shoe Dog here.

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