Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Haley Reading (Group A) -- American Spy, Chapters 10 - 14

 [Haley Reading groups Fall 2020]

By Boluwatife O. Ojewande

By chapter eleven of American Spy, Marie is on her first undercover assignment, gathering important intelligence about Thomas Sankara who is a communist president of Burkina Faso. Sankara has come to the New York City to give a speech at the United Nations, and, Marie must get close to him. For Marie to succeed, she is expected to seduce Thomas.

“I was to be present, charming, and familiar,” observed Marie, “so that he would feel comfortable with me, and I could gather my intel” (128).

What stood out to you about Marie’s first undercover assignment or any other scene in the reading? Why? 

19 comments:

Lesley S. said...

What struck out to me the most in this scene is how confident Marie was with portraying a role. Like she said herself later on the same page (pg. 128), she had very many versions of herself. I guess that is something that will come in handy for a job such as being a spy but that can come in between her personal relationships in the future.

For example, in chapter 10, Marie and her mother were outside talking when they heard a loud bang. Marie was quick to pull out her gun (something she hated doing) but Agathe told her that it was probably just a coconut. When Marie went to check, she found nothing and was clearly shook from what just happened. Agathe kept questioning how Marie felt, but she put up a cold front and made it seem like she was okay and that everyone was safe. Clearly, this is a skill that Marie has perfected over the years just like her sister Helene did.

Anonymous said...

What struck out to me the most in this scene is how confident Marie was with portraying a role. Like she said herself later on the same page (pg. 128), she had very many versions of herself. I guess that is something that will come in handy for a job such as being a spy but that can come in between her personal relationships in the future.

For example, in chapter 10, Marie and her mother were outside talking when they heard a loud bang. Marie was quick to pull out her gun (something she hated doing) but Agathe told her that it was probably just a coconut. When Marie went to check, she found nothing and was clearly shook from what just happened. Agathe kept questioning how Marie felt, but she put up a cold front and made it seem like she was okay and that everyone was safe. Clearly, this is a skill that Marie has perfected over the years just like her sister Helene did.

Lesley Sebree 10/14/20

Tatiana D. said...

What stood out the most to me about Marie going undercover with Thomas was her comfort level with the task. Although Marie took this deal solely with the intentions of receiving something that she wanted in return, having to seduce Thomas for intel was something Marie put her pride to the side and did because of her strong devotion for receiving intel about her sister. Marie has managed to do things she otherwise wouldn't have for many of her loved ones throughout the story, however this one stands out more specifically because the person she mainly did it for was dead.

Paris S. said...

What really surprised me in that scene was Marie's calm demeanor when interacting with Thomas Sankara. She was able to portray a friendly and agreeable personality in order to try to get close to Thomas. In this case, Marie is using the notion of a spy to her advantage, as she tries to get close to Thomas in order to uncover information about him for her investigation, similar to the way Helene interacted with Rhonda earlier in the book.

K Carter said...

The conversation between Marie and Thomas about Harlem stuck out to me. I remember learning about the Harlem Renaissance and all of the major accomplishments of African Americans in that time period. Thomas mentions these successes as he told Marie about wanting to visit Harlem.

Brighten B. said...

What stood out to me was how comfortable Marie was with Thomas Sankara. For someone who really did not want to take this assignment, she did a really good job acting. It is hard to be comfortable around someone you don’t know. She only agreed to do this assignment to get information about her sister. She was doing everything in her power to make sure he was comfortable, so that she could get the information that she needed.

Tymia S. said...

What stood out to me was how calm and comfortable Marie was with the task and Thomas Sankara. She was able to get Thomas to be comfortable with her so she could get information from him

Tiffany E. said...

I think what stood out to most the most was that she was able to become a different person with Thomas. She was able to be the familiar and calm person she wanted to be for this man and had no problem doing it with a straight face (figurative). It was little details that got me, like when she let him catch her glancing at him, those little details are what truly make the performance and I thought that was amazing.

-Tiffany E.

Mya Jackson said...

Many events have stood out to me throughout this story. However with this event specifically, Marie's demeanor stood out. Marie was surprisingly calm when she was putting herself in the situation with Thomas Sankara. This allowed Marie to portray herself as an open and agreeable person. By portraying herself this way, Marie is able to use her abilities to get closer to Thomas and retrieve the information that she wants. The event here, connects to the earlier situation with Helene and Rhonda. Helene did the same thing to Rhonda in order to get what she wanted.

Paige G. said...

Chapter 11 was a very interesting one to say the least. Marie is already settled into this undercover position as if she had been doing it her whole life. She was confident and calm and collected which, considering this is her first assignment, tells me she is excellent at what she does. What stood out to me almost immediately was her interactions with Thomas. There was something about the way she described her thoughts and actions that felt more genuine. Something tells me Thomas has a much much bigger role in this story than just a target.

Aalita Cole said...

What surprised me the most was Marie's comfort level and the way she carried herself during this part of the book. Although she was doing something that made her uncomfortable because she didn't want to take on this assignment, she played her role well in order to get the intel that she needed. She does a lot of things in the story to save her loved ones but eh way that she quickly adapted into her undercover position was very surprising for me.

Marianne Huck said...

On thing that stuck out was how she interacted with Thomas. I loved the description of their eye contact, and the calm discussions they would have over ideals. The quip about American humor was also funny to me since a lot of countries do view Americans as sarcastic.

However, the scene that stuck out the most to me was the interaction about being a black cop in America. I was a black female in the Army up until recently in Washington DC and I worked closely with all kinds of higher law enforcement positions. The scene definitely spoke to my heart. What are we fighting for? Are we on the wrong side? Can we really fight the system from within? It just really struck me. I also loved Maries responses.

Jania Garrison said...

Something that stood out to me was how calm she was in her interaction with Thomas. the level of comfort and confidence she had on this assignment was very surprising to me, especially because she did not know Thomas. She was able to completely change her character in order to complete her mission successfully.

Nyah Crockett said...

What stood out to me when Marie interacted with Thomas was how confident Marie said she felt when slipping into a false identity and how she did this as though she had done it many times before. There was no awkwardness nor adjustment period, she slipped into the other persona very easily.

Certain things like when she gazed at him for periods of time or touched him just because she felt like it were details that stood out to me and let me know that she's very good at her job and she knows how to make the little details matter when you look at it in the bigger picture.

Kiya Rainey said...

Something that stood out to me was Marie's descriptions about Thomas and her feelings surrounded them. For example, she states, "When he smiled at me, I felt like I recognized him...But that's what it was like when I met your father" (129). I found this interesting because I could not tell if she was attracted to him or if it was apart of her act in order to complete her mission.

When reading this scene, I wondered about whether putting on an act could be confusing or emotionally damaging to a spy. Could she actually develop a romantic attraction for the people she is trying to get information from?

-Kiya Rainey

Unknown said...

The idea that stood out the most to me was Marie’s ability to confidently perform her first assignment as someone else. This reminds me of Helene as a child building false relationships and creating barriers to fulfill a spy mentality. It shows that Helene shapes Marie’s lifestyle and mannerisms because Marie is now able to professionally do what her sister imagined as kids. It also raises into question if Marie is comfortable with her own person. Before Helene’s death or the mission, it seemed unlikely for Marie to act and flirt as she has with a communist president, but she nails it during her mission. Maybe, Marie is not confident in herself and being able to act as someone else allows for her to vicariously explore, nearly like she needs an alter ego. Also, the reasonings for her confidence could simply be because she is given such an intricate, important task as her first undercover assignment and she knows she cannot mess up this one in a lifetime opportunity. Overall, Marie is beginning to apply Helene’s spy tactics and understand her sister’s mentality.

-victoria richardson

Anonymous said...

What stuck out to me the most was the conversation between Marie and Thomas. She had mastered a close bond with Thomas in order t read him better and did so with ease. Similar to the interaction with Rhonda earlier in the story.

-Ashanti Young 10/19/20

Janielle F. said...

What stood out the most to me in the first undercover assignment was how quickly Marie fell for Thomas after they met. Despite all of the research she did on him and the differences in their political ideologies, she was still romantically interested in him. I understand that this isn’t meant to be super realistic since this is a fictional story but it was still surprising because of the way that Marie carried herself in the story up until this point.

Unknown said...

What stood out the most to me was how well Marie was able to adapt to her job--getting close to Thomas. Despite not actually having sexual desires for him, she had to seduce him for her first undercover assignment. While she was undercover, she performed extremely well acting as another person. She was motivated to do so well because, of course its her job, but she also knew she would not get information about her sister if she didn't. This shows that, again, she is willing to do anything and everything she can for the ones she loves.

Kylie Jackson