Imitation Practice: Model 8
Passage 8, “From all available evidence no black man had ever set foot in this tiny Swiss village before I came. I was told before arriving that I would probably be a “sight” for the village; I took this to mean that people of my complexion were rarely seen in Switzerland, and also that city people are something of a “sight” outside of the city. It did not occur to me—possibly because I am an American—that there could be people anywhere who had never seen a Negro.
by James Baldwin, “Stranger in the Village”
From everyone’s accounts of Kumasi nothing compares to riding the tro-tro’s. I was warned before coming that it might be a bit “different” than anything I was used to; I figured this meant that it would be a bit cozier than the UTA public transport system, and that others less bus route savvy would find “different” more jarring. It did not register—probably because I’m twenty something—that a window frame could ever be considered an extra seat, or that driving with doors is optional.
From all I knew French-fries were the only thing worthy of mention about French food. Chase was telling me the other day something about “refined taste” in small portions; and I figured that people in France must be anorexic or on extreme diets, and also that “refined taste” was only for rich snobs who pretended to like snails. I did not realize—probably because I was always okay with “freedom-fries”—that this French food culture would be my next big adventure.
As far as my schoolteachers and church leaders were concerned women are equals now. No one told me that any other opinion on “womanhood” was valid; or that being a woman does have serious implications, and also that equality and “womanhood” aren’t just oxymoron’s to the extreme feminists. I never fathomed—probably because I never imagined it possible “nowadays”— that I could ever be dumped because I want a PHD and my own last name.
No black man had ever been to this Swiss village. They told me I might be a “sight.” Being American, it never occurred to me that there could be people who had never seen a Negro.
When they told me I might be a “sight” in the tiny Swiss village it never occurred to me that there were people who had never seen a Negro.
What does it mean to be a “sight?” tiny Swiss village? I figured that people of my complexion are rarely seen in Switzerland, and that city people are a big of a “sight” outside of the city, but you’ve really never seen a black man?
Inversion by Parts:
There are people in the world who have never seen a Negro. Probably because I am American, it did not occur to me. I figured that city people are something of a “sight” outside of the city, and that people of my complexion are rarely seen in Switzerland even though they did warn me that I might be a “sight” for the village. From all available evidence no black man had ever set food here before I came.
From all available evidence black men didn’t hand out in this tiny Swiss village before I came. They mentioned I might be a “surprise” for the village; I figured this meant that my complexion wasn’t the most common thing in Switzerland, and that city folk are always a little “surprised” by the wild city boys. I wasn’t shocked at all—probably because I’m a proud American—that there are people who have never seen a Negro.
I loved this form! I felt like it fit my style and natural tone a lot better than some of these other fashion statements (trying on different styles like clothes, just to see how they look). I am still struggling a little bit on completely divorcing the content and keeping the form. Even though I got a few different takes on a passage about encountering something you didn’t expect, I’d like to try this again with any other random message. I really like the dash and quotation marks. It has a certain flavor to it that describes previous knowledge and commentary without going into the superfluous details of it.