Personal: Home, Neighborhood, Possessions, Work
Choose a particular family member that you've heard about. When you think
about the places that person has lived and worked and the things he or she lives
and works with, what of significance do those things tell us about him or her?
Be sure to make a historical argument in response to this question, one that
locates the person in time (with dates for instance).
To support your argument, collect some family stories about the person you've
chosen. The following questions should elicit family stories that will be useful
to you. Composing your own questions might be even more successful, especially
if you base those questions on your knowledge of your family chronology and
- When your informant thinks about this person, what does he/she see in her
mind's eye? What kind of clothing is the person wearing? Where is the person,
and what is the person doing?
- What were the person's jobs? favorite leisure activities?
- What did your informant do when he/she was with this person? Did your informant
help with chores? Did the person entertain him/her?
- Does your informant think he or she is more like or more unlike this person?
- What sorts of houses did this person live in?
- What sorts of toys did this person have as a child? What sorts of cars or
trucks has this person driven as an adult?
- Did this person live through any natural disasters (floods, tornadoes, fires,
- Was there a community that this person was deeply connected to (a neighborhood,
or parrish, or group of classmates or club members)? What did this person
get out of that community? What did he or she give to that community?
- Did the particular landscape, or climate, or type of environment (urban,
rural, suburban, etc.) where this person lived shape him or her?
- How did this person's worklife differ from that of his/her parents or children?
- How did this person get along with his/her co-workers, employees, bosses,