Teacher’s Guide

Silver-Tongued – Christa Michel

Essay Category: Narratives and Meditations

Silver-Tongued is a smart and powerful social commentary about finding strength in femininity, sexism, and generational lessons. This student combined two assignments, one about sexual harassment in the workplace and the other about expressing femininity in academic settings, from the Enduring Questions class “Oppression and Change in the Contemporary United States.” 

The author has written an intricately woven narrative that creates a parallel between her own experience with sexual harassment and her mother’s experience. She is able to seamlessly connect the two narratives while maintaining a strong continuity and delivering a clear commentary. Another strength lies in the author’s ability to weave a symbol (silver rings) throughout the essay. A possible point of discussion is the author’s response to the harassment she faces (and her mother’s mirrored experience).

The author portrays a pervasive social issue in a mundane setting, as seen in this quote: “I wash my hands and make sure to keep the silver of my rings clean, drying them gently in the chaos of the kitchen. I retie my apron and swiftly take red-hot plates of food from the window. I carry the heavy trays on my shoulder and march into battle with poise. The man outside who smells like cigarettes glances at me up and down and smiles wide.”

What Assignments to Use Essay For:

  • Narrative
  • Political and Social Commentary
  • Sexism, Misogyny, and Gender
  • Cultural Analysis
  • Creative Writing
  • Conversations Between Writers (paired with Bodhisattva)
  • Family