John-William V., Katharine S., Maryam J.

THEME: Confidant

Confidants are individuals that present themselves when a main character, such as a hero or heroine, need someone to confide their thoughts and feelings in, or someone that will listen to them. They are close friends, relatives, or any sympathetic person that happens to come into the lives of the main characters, and each confidant can become as much of a main character as the protagonists or antagonists.


In order to understand the idea of a confidant, or someone that others confide with, one can examine several literary examples, including the play, A Raisin in the Sun, the poem, "Woman Work", the short story, "Yellow Wallpaper", and a nonfiction piece relating the current president to his past mentor.

PLAY: "Raisin in the Sun" by

SUMMARY: This play deals with the struggles of a colored family living during the civil rights movement.

Thematic Connection:

  • All of the characters, at one point in time, discuss their feelings with and confide themselves in others
  • Two characters are confidants for the majority of the play
  • The first is Joseph Asagai, the Nigerian student, who proposes to Beneatha
  • The second, and more importantly, is Lena Younger, Mama, the mother of Walter and Bennie

POEM: "Woman Work" by Maya Angelou

Woman Work

I've got the children to tend

The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I've got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The can to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.

Shine on me, sunshine
Rain on me, rain
Fall softly, dewdrops
And cool my brow again.

Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
'Til I can rest again.

Fall gently, snowflakes
Cover me with white
Cold icy kisses and
Let me rest tonight.

Sun, rain, curving sky
Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone
Star shine, moon glow
You're all that I can call my own.

Maya Angelou

SUMMARY: A woman, assumed of being a female slave tells about the daily struggles she faces, she finds peace through her connection with nature.

Thematic Connection:

  • Communes with nature

  • Her physical connection with nature is more of a spiritual connection with God

  • She feels her connection with god is the only thing she owns

SHORT STORY: "Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

SUMMARY: A woman suffering from “Temporary Nervous Depression” becomes obsessed with the wallpaper in her room and starts to think that there is a woman in the wallpaper and that it is moving.

Thematic Connection:

  • She talks to her husband about the wallpaper

  • She writes in her journal about her problems

  • She relates to the woman in the wallpaper

NONFICTION SELECTION: "Confidant, teacher to Obamas open URI Black History Month events" by Laura Damon

SUMMARY: Harvard Law Professor, Charles Ogletree, speaks to the University of Rhode Island about Black History Month, and Post-Racial America in the Age of Obama.

Thematic Connection:

  • Confidant with President Obama at college
  • Close connections with the Obamas
  • Knowledge of his success in the future
  • "Yes you can"