Community Text Prompt

I am looking forward to Mawi Asgedom’s visit. Check out this video to see how he is evolving as an educator since his publication “Of Beetles & Angles.”  For homework, let’s remember our summer reading assignment and start a large blog roll here. Consider one of the following prompts. In your 5-7 sentence response, please use Standard English and follow all the rules for proper usage.

1. Window: explain how one passage, situation, or character (supply page number, too) opened up a new world and provided a new insight as to how you may appreciate your life.

2. Mirror: explain how one passage, situation, or character (supply page number, too) reflected an aspect of yourself.

3. Moment of gratitude for a soft spoken person. Mawi Asgedom dedicated Of Beetle & Angels to his mother. Locate and explain what passage informs you of this dedication of gratitude that Mawi has for his mother.

Later in class let’s discuss the subtle moment of profound influence on page 114. Describing his freshman year in high school, Mawi Asgedom recounts how “one word of encouragement change[d]” his life.

About Bill Sullivan

I am an English teacher working with great students at Suffield Academy. I also teach seniors in various project-based learning environments. Some of the #PBL topics included global issues, such as Pandemics, Climate Change, and Water; more recently I have asked students to research and identify topics important to our school community and their generation. We curate these topics with a #StudentCenteredPBL. For the past eleven years, I also created a driving question for a class to research a local history mystery and present their findings in a community program partnering with our local historical society. These topics encompass researching the lives of enslaved individuals who were contributors to the foundation of our community.
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66 Responses to Community Text Prompt

  1. Will Bucfire says:


    • Billy Regan says:

      “Too many people go through life with the covers over our heads. We want to reach out, but we fear to make ourselves vulnerable.” Mawi is explaining that going through life with your head down will get you nowhere. To succeed, you must put your self in positions were you are vulnerable. Coming to boarding school it is very easy to lock yourself in your room and never leave. It was scary coming to Suffield not knowing anyone and away from home. At fist I stayed in my room. It took me awhile to work up the courage to leave my room and try to make friends. After pulling my head out from under the covers, I realized that only after I put myself in a vulnerable situation was I able to grow.

  2. Becca Titterton says:

    One situation from the book, “Of Beetles and Angels” really reflected on me as a person. That event specifically was on page 109 where Mawi was talking about how his, “…parents welcomed many guests into our home. It didn’t matter who the person was or how much they had.” This passage really stood out to me because even though Mawi’s family didn’t have much they still offered people their help, housed, and fed them. What I took away from this specific passage was that I should be kind and generous to not only my friends but to the less fortunate.

  3. Ben Intarapuvasak says:

    Mawi Asgedom has great gratitude towards his parents. He saw his parents do many things and admired them for it. He also had gratitude for their teachings. Therefore, he followed them in his footsteps. For example, when he saw his parents invite people, no matter how poor they were, they were welcome guests in the house. He also tried to followed in their footsteps. He tried his hardest in everything he did for his parents. He heeded all of his mother’s advice and followed her every wish. Mawi shows much gratitude through the book, “Of Beetles and Angels”.

    • Zico Li says:

      Ben, you’ve included some good examples of where Mawi has great gratitude towards his parents and the paragraph is pretty good. I liked how you use the phrase ” for example” to explain your thoughts. Good Job!

  4. Will Buckfire says:

    Pg. 112

    The situation where Mawi uses very poor resources but uses everything he has access to too his disposal taught me to make the best out of the situation. I learned that you don’t need fancy tools and such to become a great student you just need a great amount of drive and determination. Mawi chose his own path being able to strive in academics and anyone could choose a path that they enjoy and choose to strive in as well.

  5. Chris McCormick says:

    In the video above, Mawi briefly mentions his mother and thanks her for her role of molding him into a successful man. Why did he thank her I thought to myself, is it not normal for a mother to do this because as far as I’m concerned a mothers role is to love and teach her child. Examples from the text raced through my mind, I had no idea which individual passage or topic could be singled out from the rest. This took my thoughts and ideas to the point where I needed to broaden my thinking. Mawi’s father always seemed to have words of wisdom, words that would push his children towards success. Because of the respect for and the trust in their father the children followed their fathers wishes, however they knew they had no other choice but to do as he said. On page 33 Mawi mentions how his parents had always stressed the importance of doing well in school, something that is told to most students as they grow up. My parents always have and always will remind me of this. But do I always take what is told to me into action, or even sometimes thought? The answer is no, but why? There’s really no why, no excuse, no reason. A reminder from a source other than your parents can be what it takes. Wisdom is a characteristic that comes from experiences, whether direct or indirect, the gift of wisdom comes with time. Mawi has helped me become more humble and directly reflected wisdom on to me.

  6. Remington Lyman says:

    On page 309 Mawi Asgedom describes how his mother saved him from the cannibalistic cook. Pi’s mother, Gita Patel, protected her son’s life with her own, improving his slim chance of surviving on the vast ocean. After watching his mother valiantly fight against the dominant opponent, Pi’s gratitude reached an insurmountable level. Pi always had gratitude for his mother because she pushed him to become educated as every loving mother does. She had now gone beyond the typical expectations of a mother and gave her life to protect her son. The journey had been hard on them already having lost Ravi and Santosh but Gita gave Pi the will power to cling onto life in this moment of tragedy.

  7. Max Manes says:

    1. The book makes me thankful for my over all way of life. It makes me realize that I am lucky not have have some kind of a cultural gap between me and my family. I have come to a greater understanding that culture can separate family, so can views, but not as much as culture. Imagine how awkward it would be having the simplest cultural differences from your family. For example maybe your family eats with chopsticks but you et with a fork. Wouldn’t it be weird come dinner time to not have a fork set on the table. Simple things like this make me thankful for my life and not having any cultural differences from my family.

  8. 2. ” So we accepted. For we knew that the exchange of gifts blesses the giver even more than the receiver” (pj 30). This quote made me realize the real motivation for gift giving, not to make others feel “blessed”, but to make yourself feel “blessed”. Mawi’s family accepted a gift from someone with nothing, not because that accepting that gift made them feel good, but because accepting that gift made the “angel” feel better, more human in that another person would accept a gift from them. Acts of kindness can include giving someone food and shelter, but an even great er act of kindness can involve showing humanity and accepting such a gift, however little it maybe.

  9. answering for #1 page 5 paragraph 2-3
    I appreciate my life more and more when reading these paragraph’s because I did not need to go through that type of torment and am ever more impressed of how those two young children were able to stand there ground under such torment.
    Alex V.

  10. Colin Pascoe says:

    Colin Pascoe
    Passage #2

    The passage on page 33 reflected an aspect of my life because Mawi and his brother are encouraged to strive to be the best by their parents. This is similar to my life because whether it is sports or schoolwork, my parents will always motivate me to be the hardest worker. I am told that hard work will never go unnoticed and it will always pay off. Mawi is told that if he works hard enough and has enough desire, one day he will win the race. From a young age I have been raised the same way by my parents and coaches as well. I will continue to live my life with this tireless work effort and desire to be the best because it is a way that will rarely fail one.

  11. Julia Clew says:

    Prompt 3:
    Mawi Asgedom shows his gratitude to his mothers when he writes “They told us that if we were among the best students in the land, we could earn scholarships and attend university for free … If our parents had told us that black refugees growing up on welfare in an affluent white community couldn’t excel, we probably would have taken them at their word.”(33,34) He is grateful for his mother telling him that he had the ability to succeed. Because she encouraged him, he was able to do well in school. He is grateful for her telling him it was possible instead of giving up on his brother and him because of their unfortunate circumstances.

  12. Jesse Phillips says:

    I think that one character that opened up a new world for Mawi was, Coach Kroger. Coach Kroger was Mawi’s freshman basketball coach and noticed something very special about Mawi being on the basketball team. It wasn’t his ball handling skills. It wasn’t his ability to sink threes from 30 feet away. It was his ability to run. So one day when Mawi was getting on the bus, Coach Kroger stopped him to tell him that he should join the track team. “What are you doing going home, Mawi? You should be on the track team- you were always way up there in the wind sprints” Coach Kroger said. And after those words of encouragement, Mawi tried out for the track team. And by the end of the season, he was one of the fastest freshmen in his conference. But, being on the track team wasn’t so easy for Mawi. Even though he was good, he couldn’t afford running shoes. So guess who came in the clutch? Coach Kroger. “For each of the next four years, he paid for my training shoes and racing spikes. Sometimes he even took me shopping for school clothes-without telling anyone” If it weren’t for Coach, Mawi would have never joined track and would have never had the opportunity to run in the state finals. Mawi says in the last part of his story about Coach Kroger, “Looking back, I’m always thankful that Coach Kroger stopped me alongside that bus my freshmen year” This is why I think that Coach Kroger is the man that really opened up a new world for Mawi.

    • I really liked how you used quotations to prove that Mawi was influenced by Coach Kroger. I agree with you how Coach Kroger’s purchase of Mawi’s track shoes motivated Mawi to do well in the sport and was an influential person in his life

  13. Carly Smith says:

    One theme that Mawi introduced throughout the book was to always remember where you came from. This theme was very compelling to me because my family has always told me to remember the same values. It is very easy to get wrapped up into the materialistic things in life but the most important thing should be your family. In this book Mawi comes to America with his family bringing with him all of the lessons his family taught him. Similarly I left my family and went to boarding school having to remember everything that my family taught me.

  14. Zico Li says:

    There is one passage that I think really reflected an aspect of my life. The passage is about Mawi’s father telling his children about working hard and never give up in school. When I am still a child, my father often warned me to work hard and be a top student, so working hard soon became my personality. I still remembered that my father told me that working hard and never give up is not enough if I wanted to be a top student, so he advised me to ask teachers for extra work. My father also told me an interesting thing, which he said that money is evil, but we just have to earn a lot of it. I work hard because if I entered a good university, it would be easier for me to find a high salary job, and money can do a lot of thing. The author remembers his father saying, “You are poor and black and we cannot buy you the resources that other parents can. But if you have enough desire to outwork all the other students and you never give up, you will win the race one day”(33).

    • Ben Intarapuvasak says:

      This book means a great deal to people when they can compare it to their own lives. You can gain perspective on your life by reading about Mawi’s expeience. It can inspire you to work even harder to achieve what you want.

  15. One passage from “Of Beatles and Angels” that influenced me was “lifting the ruler high overhead, the teacher would unwind and slam torture into our naked knuckles, the ruler’s metal edge knifing deep it our flesh.”(pg. 6) this quote made me realize that in the hardest working environment Mawi was still able to do well. Mawi’s experience is made me realize how easy i have it going to an excellent high school. This quote has made me more motivated to excel in my classes much like Mawi did.

  16. Dong Lee says:

    2. Mirror: explain how one passage, situation, or character (supply page number, too) reflected an aspect of yourself.

    On page 118, Mawi describes the conversation between his college counselor and him. Although Mawi thought that applying to top colleges in the nation was ridiculous, Mrs. Martin made him to accept it just by encouraging with few words. As a senior working on college applications, I felt that confidence is needed in college application process. Also, I realized that encouragement of others around you can easily change your mind positively. Maybe I should encourage my friends in similar way.

  17. Alfonso Fernández Vílchez says:

    Mawi’s positive attitude when his brother past away certainly altered the way I speak to my brothers along with the how I view my life. As a child, I also did mischievous things with my brothers. I wont share the things I did, but I can surely say it brought us closer together. I wouldn’t know quiet what to do if something where to happen to them, nor do I want to think about it, but I do know that Mawi handle the situation appropriately in order to benefit his family. Mawi was probably the most sad he had ever been, yet he focused on his goal from the previous year, which was to work him self to the bone until he achieved the grades he desired. He stated in his book, “ I almost abandoned my dreams of becoming a top student and earning a scholarship. But I loved my family too much to give up. And I new my brother Tewolde would have done the same”. From reading this passage, I learnt that one must keep working his hardest, even in the most dreadful moments.

    • Kelsey Burke says:

      I liked how Alfonso writes about how no matter the situation, you have to persevere in your goal and work your hardest to achieve that goal. He writes about how Mawi almost abandoned his dreams but keeps going even though it was hard.

  18. Kelsey Burke says:

    3. In this book Mawi shows the deepest respect for his mother. I think that there are many reasons he dedicated this book to his mother. As Mawi mentions on page twenty-eight his mother is his lifelong angel. Mawi’s mother is not only his angel but his hero. Mawi constantly looks back on the bravery his mother endured when she let her husband flee, taking her family to an unknown place, and providing for her family. Mawi is grateful for having such an amazing mother. He dedicated his book to his mother because she was his happiness and always drove Mawi to be a better person in all that he did.

  19. jaautuori says:

    1. Starting on 5 Mawi explains what it was like growing up in the camp. He explains the brutal beatings they endured at the schoolhouse and the small amount of food they had to eat. This caused me to gain a greater appreciation of my lifestyle because it is easy to forget how lucky we are to live such privileged lifestyles and that other people around the world aren’t as lucky as us.

    • Aphra says:

      I think that your comment brought up very good points on how Mawi was probably feeling during the time when he was growing up. I think reflecting on your own life to really appreciate how others feel is a good way to look at a book. Mawi did have to overcome many obstacles to get where he is now. His story is inspiring and I like how you bring up his struggles.

  20. Duncan Wong says:

    2. Mirror: explain how one passage, situation, or character (supply page number, too) reflected an aspect of yourself.

    One of the instances from the story where I found myself was being reflected is the assistance Mawi’s father gave to the “two skin and bones brothers”. The two brother got into trouble for running their cars over a few street signs; however, they couldn’t express themselves in English. Ultimately, Mawi’s father became a median between the brothers and the authority, prevented the brothers from incarceration (123). Few years ago, when I was still studying at the international school in Hong Kong, there was a new student who came from India. He could barely speak any Chinese, only enough to express simple desires, plus a number of inappropriate phrases taught by his peers. Unfortunately, he mixed up a greeting phrase with a cursing one, which a teacher took it as a serious offense. At the end, I explained it to the teacher, helped out the innocent student.

  21. Jeremy Port says:

    The passage that provided a new insight for me as a person is the part where Mawi explains the hardships that his father had to go through just to survive (p. 86). Knowing that his dad had to go even two to three days without eating and still survived and persevered is inspiring. As Mawi grew up, he noticed his parents welcoming all new immigrants (p.109). This reminds me of the effort I try to make when new students come to try and welcome them to the Suffield Community. Mawi shows gratitude towards his mother when he explains what his graduation of Harvard would be like if his father was there and what he would shout back at the crowd (p.133).

    • Paco Llonch Tarruella says:

      That’s a good comment talking about three different situations, but at the same time, they have a clearly relation. I didn’t finish the book, but I totally understand what is happening in these pages and understand how you provided new insights for you.

  22. Frank Bolella says:

    1. The passage that provides a new insight to my life is mentioned on page 69. Here, Mawi states, “But Tewolde never talked to the management, and he never graduated from high school. A drunk driver killed him midway through his senior year.” Not only do Tewolde and I relate in age, but also a similar situation occurred about a year ago involving a teenager from my hometown. Having heard such a tragic story for a second time, I began to realize that one should appreciate each and every day as it comes. Nothing is guaranteed in life: not the next year, the next week, or even the next day. Life shouldn’t be taken for granted. Those who think they are having a bad day because they have failed a test, or gotten a demerit, cannot relate to the unbearable pain Mawi’s family experienced with the passing of his brother. As Tewolde’s dreams were finally unraveling, his life was unexpectedly taken during a simple drive. Mawi’s story has taught me to embrace the people, the places, and the opportunities around myself each and every day.

  23. Su Sie Park says:

    Su Sie Park
    Window: explain how one passage, situation, or character (supply page number, too) opened up a new world and provided a new insight as to how you may appreciate your life.

    Mawi was born in Ethiopia. When he was young his family had to flee to Sudan to avoid the war in Ethiopia. They had spent three years in a refugee camp in Sudan. Helped by the World Relief organization, his family applied for resettlement in the United States. When they were to leave for the United States, the village elders offered them a few words of wisdom.

    ‘Heading to America, are you? They say that everyone there drives big cars and lives in big house. Money flows through streets of glimmering gold. And everyone lives long, easy lives. You will unhappy be happy there. Go well, live long, and please, do not forget us. —–
    America seems sweet on top, like fresh honey straight from the comb. But what’s sweet on the surface is often rotten underneath. So beware.'(p 12)

    This quotation shows that America is considered as the utopia to many people in the world, and the place for people to want to live. We sometimes forget our happiness of living such a good country, because we are too much accustomed to our daily life. Mawi’s story, of beetles & angels, reminds us that there are so many indigent countries in the world and we are living in a celebrated country. I have to appreciate my parents to let me live in America and provide me with the opportunity to study here.

  24. nick hudson says:

    2. on pg 11, mawi explains how his father was talking about america and how evryone was so successful there, making money, had homes and peace. this makes me appreciate life alot more because this just shows that not everyone in the world has the same opportunities that we students at suffield do. mawi’s father telling him that america is the perfect place, we sometimes overlook look this and dont take time to realize how lucky we are.

    • Max Manes says:

      I like how this comment makes us realize how fortunate we are. It makes us think about how great of a country we have and it is becomes a very patriotic comment. Many people are too consumed with what the U.S. is doing wrong these days, but if we really look at things like Nick has here, we realize how gifted we are.

  25. Val Klimenko says:

    In “Of Beetles and Angels” Mawi Asgedom’s father is certainly the most influential and the most important person to Mawi. Because of his father’s influence, Mawi pushes himself to the furthest in order to get a good education and make his father proud. This father – son relationship reflects on certain life aspects of my own, since my father constantly influences me in a similar way. I can almost hear my father repeat the same exact words Mawi’s father would say, “BUT IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH DESIRE TO OUTWORK ALL THE OTHER STUDENTS AND YOU NEVER GIVE UP, YOU WILL WIN THE RACE ONE DAY” (33). Mawi’s father made Mawi make serious and life changing decisions that would help him grow. In my case, I made my biggest decision coming to America. Both Mawi’s father and mine are people of high expectations for their children; it is important to always move forward and never give up.

  26. Aphra says:

    1. Window:
    Tewolde provided a new perspective on how I look at my life through his compassion for others. Tewolde learned from a young age about compassion because his father was a medicine man. Tewolde’s first encounter with the begger proved that he had compassion he new that he must help him. He saw that the begger was starving and cold so he gave the begger his sandwich and mawi’s sandwich. Mawi thought that it was the only time Tewolde helped the begger but it turned out Tewolde had kept in touch with him and helped him out throughout his life (64-65). It made me reflect on my life and the little things that I could do to make others lives easier and give back to others.

    • Jacqueline Autuori says:

      I like how Aphra writes about Tewolde’s encounters with the beggar that he helped, and continued to keep in touch with. This was a good example of having compassion for people who are less fortunate than you, and that there are little things you can do to make others’ lives a lot easier.

  27. Jimmy Emello says:

    2. Mirror, I started off trying to write about how this situation reflected an aspect of me, but as I started to write it turned into more of a similar experience I had.

    Mawi’s experience in the playground when a bully was cornering him against a fence reminded me of an experience I had that was like this in first grade. Mawi was scared of the bully, but then he saw his brother coming to help him “He came charging from the other side of the playground with all the fury of an angry bull.” (Pg. 35) This passage reminded me of a less violent but similar experience I had when I was much younger. I remember being a small, shy first grader during recess. One day, I was eating my lunch when I a much bigger, older kid came up to me and started pushing me, demanding that I give him my lunch. Since I was shy, I usually ate away from big groups of people, so unfortunately not many people were around. Just when he reached for my food, I saw my two year older brother come around the corner. He saw what was happening and immediately ran up behind the much bigger 3rd grader and tripped him. Then he kicked him in the stomach and we both ran back to where everybody else was eating. This was obviously much less violent then Mawi’s experience, but I still thought about it when I read this passage.

    • Will Buckfire says:

      You had the a pretty similar experience to Mawi in that you were bullied for your lunch, but Mawi was bullied for being different. Both of you had someone come to back you up to make sure you weren’t hurt too badly.

  28. Jayson Dear says:

    The book, Beetles and Angels, teaches me a lot about life and how to appreciate every moment. Mawi learns that you should always remember your roots and where you grow up. I can apply this to my life by making sure that no matter where I go in life, that I should always keep the people who were with me from the beginning close.

  29. Joanna says:

    A chapter that really enlightened me about a new way of living was the chapter about Mawi’s father. The chapter starts out by saying, “one day upon awakening, Heaileab Asgedom found himself, in America, transformed into a monstrous black beetle” (pg. 95). This sentence perfectly express how Heaileab, like many other immigrants, felt useless upon his arrival in America. I found this interesting because usually authors highlights the fact that America is the land of opportunity, and any immigrant could prosper here. However Mawi exposes a more realistic transformation that takes place within his father. Heaileab was a doctor back in Africa, he was well respected for his skills. The only problem was, Heaileab never received a medical degree. Anything he learned was self taught which is not recognized by any hospital in America as sufficient education. This lead to a dead end job as a school janitor, which he eventually lost due to his old age and multiple mistakes because of blindness. This rough depiction was something I was not expecting from an immigrant family. Realizing how hard some people’s lives are made me more appreciative of the things I have been given. This book helped to reinforce the belief that you need to take every opportunity that is presented to you and make the most out of the situation.

  30. Martine says:

    “We took some brutal beatings at the schoolhouse. But these didn’t come at the hands of bullies. Our kindergarten teachers were the ones dishing out the pain” (p.5). This passage makes me think about my safe childhood and how I never had to think about being beaten or scared of being beaten. It makes me appreciate all the adults and the government that has made my childhood a safe and happy time.

  31. Brien Hard says:

    Prompt #2: Mirror

    On page 109 Mawi writes, “my parents welcomed many guests into our home. It didn’t matter who the person was or how much they had.” This quote depicts his parents attitude towards being, as Mr.Godin said, “treating others well.” From this quote the reader knows that Mawi’s parents did not base their thoughts about an individual based upon who they were, what they looked like, and what they possessed. Because of this, Mawi’s parents invited many guests into their home with no preconceptions about the their guest, other than the right thing to do was to treat them well and be courteous.
    This passage stood out to me after I had read the second prompt because it mirrors my opinion on how to treat and act around those who I haven’t met or are new in school. No matter what I have heard about a person, what they look like, and what their social status is, I try to always be respectful to an individual and construct my own beliefs about a person by getting to know him/her. Just as Mawi’s parents must have thought, it is just simply the right thing to do in these situations.

  32. Of Beetles & Angles is a very inspiring novel particularly because of the astonishing accomplishments that Mawi Asgedom made, despite his hardships throughout his early life. Growing up first as a refugee in Ethiopia and then Sudan, Mawi and his family lived a tough life with very limited resources. Ever since he was young, his parents always encouraged him and his brothers to achieve their goals. Mawi states “they told us that we could do anything if we worked hard and treated others with respect”. (34) Through his determination and will power, Mawi worked to his greatest potential because he wanted to do something amazing with his cherished life. Mawi and his family were very spiritual and religious, as they cherished God very dearly and loved one another unconditionally. Mawi’s father was a very close figure in his life, and in the text as he was graduating Harvard he wrote, “My father departed before it came to a full fruition, but the dream that he and my mother shared has already begun to come true”. (133) Personally, I believe that I resemble Mawi because we are both motivated and extremely driven to reach our goals and live up to our full potential.

  33. Anna Strzempko says:

    I found that the situations in Of Beetles and Angles reflected how similar situations in my life and Mawi’s life could be actually completely different. The description of the holiday Hoyo Hoyo evoked an aspect of appreciation and realization in me. Mawi says that when he was a child, “on a day each year that every kid looked forward to”(47), there is a great celebration of light and fire for the new year. Of course, immediately this made me think of the American New Year; an extravagant display of pomp and circumstance, celebration for its own sake. The difference, however, is that instead of watching a large silver ball fall from the middle of one of the greatest cities on earth, Mawi was running “from adobe to adobe”(47) with his friends. This stark difference between infrastructure was not the only example of contrast that appeared in my head as I read this passage. On New Years Eve in America, we have a tendency to come together to throw parties and make resolutions. We might even interact with people we do not normally. However, we do not have the political and racial boundaries of “Muslims and Christians, Eitreans and Ethiopians, bullies and prey”(47) that set aside differences. If we did not have the wonderful parties, we might not enjoy New Years Eve as much as we do. However, Mawi and his friends still loved Hoyo Hoyo, “presents or no”(48). These differences are great, however the general spirit of unity and festivity is the same between the two holidays. This passage reflected an aspect of appreciation in me, but also a realization that fun can still be had without giant displays of monetary and societal wealth.

  34. Dan Bailey says:

    On page 58 Mawi remembers a story that his father always told him and his brother. The story started “My children there was a poor widow who lived in the countryside. she had neither livestock nor garden and lived each day without knowing how she would eat the next day. She had only one thing in the world, her young son”… the story then goes on and tells how the son brought home eggs, chickens, sheep, goats, and then one day a cow. the mother never stopped the boy from stealing the animals. One day the police showed up at the widow’s door damanding that the boy come with them and be killed for his crimes. the widow begged the police to show mercy on the boy, but to that the boy responded, “no mother, if you really cared about me, you should have stopped me when it was only a tiny egg. Now its too late”. the father told his sons this story to scare them away from ever stealing anything. And I found it as a very powerful message that teaches one to always be honest and never take anything that is not rightfully yours.

  35. Cheryl Kuo says:

    In Of Beetles and Angels, Tewolde is constantly coming to the aid of his little brother, Mawi. According to Mawi, Tewolde would come “charging from the other side of the playground with all the fury of an angry bull” when he hears that someone is bullying his brother (Mawi, 35). Tewolde reminded me of my own older brother and older sister. I may never have been through such severe situations as Mawi’s, but even so, my siblings are always there to help me whenever I needed it. Even if they were in the middle of work, school, or anything important, they would come to my aid. Sometimes, however, I forget that they were doing me a favor by helping me. By reading Mawi’s experiences and Tewolde’s role in his life, I am once again reminded of their years of support to me. Just as how much Mawi must be thankful to his brother Tewolde, I am filled with gratitude for my brother and my sister.

  36. Loni Mnich says:

    In “Of Beetles and Angels,” Mawi is clearly very close with his brother Tewolde. There are many circumstances throughout the book where Tewolde plays the best friend role as well. This is why the paragraph on the bottom of page 112 is so meaningful to me; Mawi shares with us that while taking a trip to Montana, Tewolde, the person he is closest to, is killed in a car crash. It makes me appreciate the relationship that I have with my brother, and the fact that I still have him in my life. It would be an unbelievable loss to no longer have a sibling around, especially one who was also a great friend.

  37. Larke Nimocks says:

    By reading Of Beetles and Angels I came to a new understanding and insight in my own life. After hearing how this intelligent young man, Mawi’s father, Haileab, came to the United States and was shut down immediately. He was never given the chance to become someone that is valued by American standards whereas in Ethiopia he was highly respected by all of his peers. On page 22, a women is talking about the stark contrast between who he was at home and the man he was in America “I still remember looking at Haileb’s eyes and seeing the deepest pain; the pain of people who have been torn away from their loved ones, from their culture, from their place in society, from everything that has ever given their life coherence and dignity” This reflects on my own life because I do have the opportunity to make something of myself and take risks by seizing the moment. The moments like these in the book sparked a new perspective serving as a wake up call to take advantage of my blessings inspiring me to work harder.

  38. Sam Prout says:

    On page 33, Mawi’s parents stress the gravity of working hard and doing well in school. “But if you, our children, work hard at school and finish the university, maybe someday you can help yourselves and help your family too.” This stood out to me because it’s that kind of support and motivation that pushed Mawi to do his best and ultimately succeed. Earlier in the passage, Mawi’s parents acknowledge their social status and that it’s difficult to find a job as an immigrant. However, if he takes embraces the work in front of him and takes advantage of the opportunities that his parents have not been given, he will succeed. I believe that is why Mawi is so grateful to his mother because of her constant encouragement and reminder that he is blessed with opportunities.

  39. Olivia Poulin says:

    1) “But Tewolde never talked to management, and he never graduated from high school. A drunk driver killed him midway through his senior year” (69). Tewolde and Mawi were living in poor circumstances, with only 40 dollars of allowance per year. They had been raised their whole lives through these circumstances, yet they never failed to make the best of what they have. Tewolde started cleaning by finding his first job on his own, and he worked his way up to planning to start his own business. However, before he could follow his dreams, he was killed by a drunk driver. Reading this, I learn appreciate my life and my circumstances here at Suffield. I realize that I don’t have to live on 40 dollars per year, and I would not need to strive beyond my limits to find a job. It makes me appreciate being alive, and having the ability to reach my goals with ease.

  40. Paul Metscher says:

    The moment in “Of Beetles & Angles” that truly made me appreciate what I had was when Mawi was applying to college. Here we have an African immigrant who arrived in this country with nothing. His family knew nothing of the culture, customs, language, let alone the schooling system. Through mostly his father’s guidance, Mawi excelled in the classroom. He worked hard, took difficult classes, was an outstanding athlete, and received noteworthy grades year after year. When Mawi was applying to schools the question, “how am I going to pay for this?” lurked everywhere. His family was incredibly poor, and it would seem in no way could they afford to send him to college. Mawi got into some of the most prestigious universities in the country, including Harvard, which he attended for free (118-119). This moment made me realize how lucky I am to be able to lead a privileged life and attend private school. It revealed to me that I must appreciate and seize the simply fortunate opportunity I have by attending a school like Suffield Academy. If Mawi could get into to Harvard when the odds seemed insurmountable, who knows what students at a private school can accomplish?

  41. Georgina Blakeley says:

    In the beginning of the story we learn of the restrictions that Tsege culture has. When Beth was trying to find aid for Mawi and his family, she would speak to Haileab, but rarely to Tsege. In Tsege’s culture, only the men were allowed to speak to important visitors. Because Tsege thought of Beth as an important visitor she barely spoke to Beth. This passage allows me to appreciate the freedoms I have in my life. It shows me that i cannot take for granted the fact that I have the freedom to talk to those I want and the freedom of being able to voice my own opinions without the fear of being punished.

  42. Jasmine Rayonia says:

    2. Mirror
    One of the many passages in “Of Beetles and Angels” that stood out for me is on page 133, when Mawi imagined what his father would have said at his college graduation: “This is my son Selamawi. A long time ago I taught him to work hard and respect others. Now look where that has taken him”. This passage not only reflected on common themes that ran through the entire book, but it heavily reminded me of the principles and values that my parents had instilled upon me since I was very young. I had always been taught to work hard because everyday you take off, there is someone else working harder. Also, working hard helps make a difference in one’s community and inspires those around you. Like Mawi, this advice has inspired me to work to my full potential and achieve all that I have today as well as to strive to reach greater heights. Growing up, Mawi watched his father respect everyone around him, no matter what condition, race, or financial status they had. Respecting others and not discriminating is something every child grows up learning how to do because we learn that although someone’s appearance or status may classify them as a “beetle”, every compassionate human being is an “angel” in their own way.

  43. Natasha Grayson says:

    Prompt 2: Mirror

    Mawi’s father’s actions on page 98 are a reflection of how my father acts on a day to day basis. When I moved to my father’s house he was determined to make me a successful runner. Everyday after school he would make me run down my street or on the track near my house, either way it had to be at least a mile. Gradually after my acceptance into Suffield Academy, and my decision to run cross country this fall, my father made me run more and more. Eventually I had to run three miles every day. This summer I got a wake up call every morning instructing me to run at the track. Although my dad was at work, and he would never really know if I truly did run or not I was afraid of the could shoulder I would receive if he were to find out I did not run. Just as Mawi’s father was determined to involve him in running as a sport, so was mine, and I am grateful because just as Mawi gained self discipline so did I.

  44. Paco Llonch Tarruella says:

    During the chapter 6, Mawi and his brother Tewolde have a great relation where they help each other for protect themselves. The first example is in page 35 where Tewolde was going to help his young brother, who was being squezzed by Sam. While I was reading this chapter I authomatically thought in my sister, because we keep a great friendship and we try everyday to help each other if any of us have any problem and spend a great time. I thought about this relation because, before, we didn’t use to have the same relation and we were fighting all the time, and now I really understand the importance of a good relation between siblings like Mawi and Tewolde.

    • Mikhail Kozak says:

      I really understand you because I have two sisters and I have a very good relationship with them too. I like your comment!

  45. mikkelo528 says:


    Mawi’s character, especially his relationship with his father reminds me of myself. There was a situation where father tells him and his older brother to stop fighting in school. And the boys obey without questioning… ” We feared my father more that anything in the world, so as difficult as it was to stop fighting, we stopped fighting”. Mawi and his brother respect and fear of their father and always listen to him closely even when he is telling made up stories. So was and I. I respected my father and I listened to every single word he said. I remember almost every “lecture” speech that he gave me. Thats, what I think, what makes me and Mawi alike.

    • Jeremy Port says:

      I like how in depth you compared Mawi’s experiences with your own life. You did a good job using quotations to support your argument and it was clear what you were trying to say. I can picture you being lectured by your father, and this is because you did a great job describing your encounter with him. Nice Job.

  46. Maisie Puris says:

    The passage that truly opened up my mind to a new world was on page 121, second paragraph. I found myself in tears reading about how Mawi spent his last few weeks with his father. The raw emotion made such an impact on me that I started to cherish every moment with my parent’s because I realize that I won’t have them by my side forever. For example, when I was reading the story that Mawi’s father was telling I stopped and paused for a moment to reflect on how sometimes, I don’t always pay attention to the stories that my parents tell me. So, from that point on everytime my mother or father would tell a story, I’d listen intently and take every word to heart. In short, the entire chapter brought me to the conclusion that, yes, parents are there to watch you grow and help you grow, but they can’t be with you forever. So even if you fight or dissagree, always[,] show your love and appreciation for them.

  47. Maisie Puris says:

    I really liked how Becca reflected on a broad topic but added detail to it. It shows how compassion can open many new doors.

  48. Becca Titterton says:

    Maisie did a good job with adding specific details from the story into her paragraph.

  49. Jackie Foley says:

    The community text Of Beetles & Angels is one of great inspiration and motivation. In the chapter “Eyeing the Mountaintop,” I find great inspiration in the author’s recollection of his daily routine. Mawi Asgedom describes how he not only became the fastest freshman on his cross-country team, but in his conference as well. This is an accomplishment in itself. However, it is the circumstances in which he endures just to get to practice that are truly outstanding. Page 114 briefly yet strongly emphasizes that just to get to practice, he needed to run three miles due to the lack of a ride. Rain, snow, or shine, Mawi Asgedom ran to practice, practiced, and finally ran home. This description provides inspiration in the sense that it motivates me to put 100% effort into whatever the task may be. No matter how difficult the circumstances, chances are there is someone less fortunate out there. In addition, the author’s words gives me the realization that I should be grateful for the simple things that I am given, such as car rides.

  50. Patrick Coombs says:

    #2 Mirror-
    A passage that reflects onto my life is similar to the passage on page 33, where Mawi’s parents tell him to strive in life and always be hard working in everything you do. My parents at home always tell me these exact things, they say that being a good person now might not make me the coolest kid in school, but looking back people are going to appreciate what I have done and accomplished in my life. Life is not easy and requires hard work from the start, and my parents and Mawl’s parents helped him learn that too.

  51. Riley Moore says:

    “We should always treat them kindly, he said, because they could have been sent by God” on page 29. When I was five years old, my mother let me go to Russia to visit my father. In Moscow, my dad had to walk to work, and when we passed old homeless men on the street in very few clothes for winter, it was an unfamiliar site growing up in rural Tennessee. My dad told me not to stare, because I didn’t know what they have gone through(referring to the USSR). I feel like How Mawi’s father was calling them angels, he felt a connection to them, being a refugee.

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