Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Haley Reading (Group A) -- American Spy, Chapters 1 - 5


By Boluwatife O. Ojewande

In chapters One – Five of American Spy, we learn that Marie Mitchell who is a former FBI agent and a single mother of four-year-old twins writes to tell about her life for her children to read when they grow up. She tells of her experience: killing an intruder who she believed was sent by her old enemies to kill her. She tells of her childhood experiences in New York City, her family members, and her readiness to reveal the truth about the death of her son’s father. 

 “I’m writing this to give you honest answers to the questions I hazard to guess you’ll ask while you’re growing up. I’m writing it all down here just in case I’m not around to tell you” (15). 

The sad truth is that family can sometimes be one’s worst enemy. The first five chapters of this novel prepares readers’ minds to what Marie’s journey to becoming an FBI agent looked like, the impact her background and family probably have on her career as a spy and her entire life, most importantly the stranglehold that Cold War terror placed on the psychology of her generation. 

 Of the experiences that Marie presents, which one was most memorable to you? Briefly explain why.

24 comments:

K Carter said...


The most memorable experience she described was her sister's birthday. I have never been hunting before and it was intriguing how she described her experience. I noticed that she feels as if her sister is her parents' favorite.

Jaelyn C. said...

The most memorable experience, in my opinion, was when Marie first talked about her old boss, Rick Gold. She explains how Gold belittled her because she was a black woman, which lead her colleagues to do the same thing, excluding her from planning and showing clear doubt in her ability to protect. As a young woman of color, I identify and empathize with Marie's experience, despite not having gone through such a thing myself, to my knowledge at least.

Paris S. said...

The most memorable experience was when Marie was walking with her sister Helene in New York. Specifically, Marie asked Helene what she thought about the speech Kennedy had given about the Cold War. I found it interesting in how they both tried to hide how nervous they were about the impact of the Cold War. It shows how the Cold War caused fear in people's minds during that time period.

Paige G. said...

When I think of a memorable experience for Marie the first thing that comes to mind is the murder of the stranger in her home. That was the first scene we are introduced to her as and it sets the mood for the rest of the novel as well as gives a small window into the traits of the main character. This scene immediately made me think of Marie as someone who was strong and independent, worried more for her children’s safety rather than her own. Her swift actions saved her life as well as the lives of her children and this scene speaks volumes to who she is as a character, leaving it engraved in my memory as the first and most prominent experience thus far.

myaj said...

M. Jackson

What I believe is the most memorable experience for Marie was when her father came in to reveal that her grandfather had passed away. More specifically, I thought it was intriguing when Marie's father mentioned setting her up with a guy and Marie turned it down. She exclaimed that she did not want a man because that took away from herself. I believe this shows what type of woman Marie is. She is strong-willed and determined. With or without the support of her family, Marie will accomplish anything. Essentially this is the moment where I truly realized that Marie didn't care if her family supported her or envied her. I think this situation revealed a lot about Marie's character and the events that are to follow.

Tatiana Davis said...

Marie's most memorable moment in my opinion is when she initially resists touching her kids after she's attacked, then gives in moments later. Although she was covered in blood and could have possibly traumatized her sons, knowing how young they were during this time, it seemed as if her need to protect them was very strong and could not be contained. Despite being in fear and in a state of shock, Marie finds comfort in her children above those obstacles, which I believe greatly exposes her love and strong desire to protect them at all costs.

Brighten B. said...

The most memorable experience to me was when Marie killed the intruder. It was the most memorable because so much happened so quickly. She barely even had time to react, so this goes to show that she is a quick thinker and knows what to do to keep her family safe. This situation definitely sets the tone for the rest of the book.

Tiffany Ellison said...

The most memorable experience, in my opinion was when she would talk about the little insults that she would hear her father say about her mother when her and her sister were younger. I thought that it was memorable because I believe that those little comments that she would hear about her mother are part of the reason that she became who she was.

-Tiffany Ellison

Tymia S. said...

I think the most memorable experience was right at the beginning when Marie killed the intruder in her home. It was such a shock since it was only the beginning and it had happened so fast. Plus her not hesitating and moving with such quit wit really helped shape her personality and the rest of the story.

Janielle F. said...

In my opinion, the most memorable experience was when Marie ridiculed Helene for wanting to be a spy like Mr. Ali. As a child, Marie thought that the idea that Helene, and herself, could be spies was impossible because of the lack of diversity in the field. But years later she became a spy, something that her 10-year-old self could have never imagined.

N Crockett said...

I believe the most memorable experience for was when Marie fought off the intruder in her home. It sticks in my mind the most because it starts the book off with this tense, paranoid atmosphere. Like, Marie, some of us have heard noises in our houses in the middle of the night and just played it off as the house settling. The difference between our experience and Marie's is that there was actually someone in her home that was trying to attack her. After realizing that while we may have similar thoughts in similar situations, Marie has lived a different life than I have and has to be more prepared and paranoid than the typical person. I feel as though throughout the book, there will be situations where I don't see a reason to worry and if I were there, I would be calm, but Marie will be more wary and conscious of situation and surroundings.

Aalita Cole said...

The most memorable experience to me was when Marie talked about her mother and father's relationship and how her father would talk down to her mother which led to her mother leaving. I thought it was memorable because her mother's departure made her have a lot of resentment towards her and motivated her to never leave her kids.

Kendall Fry said...

The most memorable experience thus far in the book came rather early on in my opinion, the entire beginning is a bit shocking as far as the first words being of the murder of a potential assassin but what followed, I feel, truly made a larger impact. Marie's training had prepared her to combat the initial attack and her grandfathers occupation along with her own had prepared her for the interactions with the police but nothing aside form her own determination and maternal instinct could have prepared her for the struggle she faced in the time between the two. Marie's maternal instinct kept this already unfortunate situation from getting much worse. Where most would have panicked she makes quick yet subtle adjustments to hide the situation, and even consolidates her children in their moments of panicked confusion. This, in my opinion, shows the most about Marie's demeanor and personality.

Jania Garrison said...

I would say the most memorable experience that Marie presents would be how she defended herself and her boys when an intruder came into their home. This was the most memorable to me because it automatically lets the readers know what direction the story is going to go in.

-Jania Garrison

Marianne Huck said...

Marianne Huck

The most memorable moment for me would be the scene in CHapter 1 where she kills a man and her first instinct is to protect herself and her children. It was such an intense way to start a story. I also liked how it showcased her skillset to be able to take down a man who caught her off guard in her own home.

Kiya Rainey said...

The most memorable experience in "American Spy" so far is when Marie had a poor experience with the police after she had protected herself and her family from the intruder. The police treated her very disrespectfully, and she knew that even with telling the truth, they still would not believe her. It was intriguing to me that even though she was an FBI agent, she is still afraid of the police, which is something she mentioned in the text.

This moment represents the oppression that Black women face in America. Despite the occupation you might have, you will still face racism from your oppressor.

-Kiya R.

Lesley Sebree said...

The most memorable moment to me in "American Spy" as of right now is when Pops told Marie about her grandfather's passing. Her father asked if she was upset - but he really meant was angry - and it was obvious that she was considering she was just told some bad news, and her father was grinding her about her life beforehand. It is never easy losing a loved one, and I was able to easily relate to the emotions the had at that time.

-Lesley S.

Unknown said...

In my opinion, the most memorable experience was when Marie had killed the intruder and the cops came to question her. She was an FBI agent and her father was a cop, yet she was still afraid of the officers questioning her. They were almost treating her as if it was her fault at first and were over asserting their authority. As a black woman like Marie, I truly think they treated her such because of her race and gender--a black woman. That is why this moment is so memorable to me, because I can relate to the emotions felt during the interaction with the officers (nervous, scared, and submission out of fear).

-Kylie Jackson

Anonymous said...

The most memorable moment for me would be where she kills a man and her first reaction was to protect herself and her children. This starting of the book was such an attention grabber. I also liked how it showed how heroic her skills and reflexes were to take down the back guy in her home. Ashanti Young

Unknown said...

The most memorable memory in American Spy, is Marie’s recollection of her perished sister, Helene’s birthday during her adolescent years. Helene courageously hunted a deer and received heavy praise and approval from their father. Young Marie felt envious and disgusted by the situation and threw up. Despite this, Helene consoled and reassured her sister that everything was fine. This was the most memorable memory as Marie’s relationship with her sister overall shaped her as a person. Her sister was everything she needed during her hardest points in life, I.e. their mother leaving, the Cold wars, her doubts and fears, and her inspirations for her life trajectory. The small, yet extremely significance accounts Marie recalls with her sister are milestones that she uses as inspirations and haven.

-Victoria Richardson

Unknown said...

The most memorable memory in American Spy, is Marie’s recollection of her perished sister, Helene’s birthday during her adolescent years. Helene courageously hunted a deer and received heavy praise and approval from their father. Young Marie felt envious and disgusted by the situation and threw up. Despite this, Helene consoled and reassured her sister that everything was fine. This was the most memorable memory as Marie’s relationship with her sister overall shaped her as a person. Her sister was everything she needed during her hardest points in life, I.e. their mother leaving, the Cold wars, her doubts and fears, and her inspirations for her life trajectory. The small, yet extremely significance accounts Marie recalls with her sister are milestones that she uses as inspirations and haven.

-Victoria Richardson

Anonymous said...

The most memorable part of chapters 1-5 for me was when we were first introduced to her. At first it seems as though she's just a normal mom worried about an intruder in her house, but when she describes the fight and how she handled it, there's a shift in who Marie is. Although the chapter leads with the reader still asking questions, there is enough information to know that Marie is not a normal mom who just took a self defense class.

Chloe Henry said...

The most memorable part of the book was Chapter one. At first it just seems like a normal mom worried about an intruder in her house, but the details of the fight between Marie and the man suggest that there is more to her. It was such a good attention grabber and really set the tone for the book.

-Chloe Henry

Anonymous said...

I really like Marie and that first chapter was thrilling! I am interested in learning more about her spy work.

Breann Walton 10/16/20