Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

  • Mood:

Poem: "Bitter Words"

This poem came out of the November 5, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] mama_kestrel and [personal profile] readera. It also fills the "Language / Dialect" square in my 10-31-19 card for the People-watching Bingo fest, and the "Bitter" square in my 11-1-19 card for the [community profile] transbingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It begins the Rutledge thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Bitter Words"


Elodie Domonique grew up
on her mother's fishing boat,
sailing out of Martinique.

It was a hard life,
but a good one,
she thought.

Elodie didn't get off
the boat very often,
but that was all right;
her mother taught her
French and some English,
reading and writing and sums.

When Elodie turned eighteen,
she left the boat and went on
a vacation of her own, traveling
around the coast of Martinique.

She was horrified to discover that
she wasn't speaking French all,
but Créole Martiniquais instead ...
which wasn't much respected.

The words she once loved
now turned bitter on her tongue.

Elodie stormed back to the boat
where she had a furious fight with
her mother, who had wanted
to keep her safe but only
kept her from living.

So Elodie moved to America
where she could study real French.

As soon as possible, Elodie enrolled in
Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport.
She chose a major in French and a minor
in History, then also wound up adding
a Certificate in Artistic Endeavors.


College was hard when she
had such a different background
than everyone around her.

At first it was awkward, but
soon Elodie made friends,
and they helped her figure out
how to solve her challenges.

She invested in a new wardrobe
of nice beach wear along with
practical college clothes.

French helped Elodie
feel more at home as well.

She lived in Le Quartier Français,
except a summer semester in Paris.

After that, she also took the class
Centenary in Paris: Paris Noir,
learning about the black French.

She attended French Table
every Monday night, eating crepes
and watching movies in two languages.

She participated in Legion d'honneur,
working toward a bilingual Louisiana.

That got her citizenship approved,
since Dean LeBlanc was a Francophone
and he had pulled strings to get her in.


Elodie loved Metropolitan French,
but she missed her home dialect.

There were so many others, too,
that she had never heard before.

So Elodie took independent studies
to learn the dialects of Louisiana Creole,
Quebec French, and New England French.

She explored the path that France
had taken around the world and
the cultures that it had left behind.

They weren't so different after all.


Elodie graduated at the top
of her class, odd background
notwithstanding, and then
went on to graduate school.

Centenary College offered her
a master's degree in education with
a concentration in Refletant l'ecole.

Elodie loved the idea of teaching
in a school where everyone would
speak French -- any flavor of French --
and the reflective style intrigued her.

It reminded her of how her mother had
taught her everything by demonstrating it.

The memory of her mother and
a deceitful childhood still left
a bitter taste in her mouth,
but Elodie shook it off.

She had so much to learn.


After Elodie graduated again,
Dean LeBlanc helped her find a job
at Refletant l'ecole Paloma Picasso
in Easy City, which she loved.

The school was beautiful and
sophisticated, and spoke to
a part of herself that she had
never known back on the boat.

Elodie had learned how to fit in
during her college years, what shows
to reference and what clothes to wear.
It helped that she painted, too.

Sometimes Elodie wondered,
though, what the rich parents
would think if they knew where
she had come from before she
moved into Shreveport.

Maybe they would hate her.

Maybe it would all end
in bitter words like it had
with her mother when
Elodie found out what
had been hidden from
her for all those years.

Pretending to be something
she wasn't proved harder
than she had thought.


When the berettaflies
shut down Easy City for
a week, Elodie huddled in
her apartment and shook.

Those horrible bugs were
out there killing people.

Living on land had never
made her feel so vulnerable
before, but suddenly it did.

She couldn't go back to
Martinique, though.

That life was smoke
and ashes in her lungs.

As soon as the travel advisory
lifted enough, Elodie made
arrangements to move
somewhere safer that
the berettaflies could
never get to her.

Dean LeBlanc was furious
when he heard the news,
and stormed over to see her.

Many bitter words were said.

He had helped her in hopes
of gaining another bilingual person
for Louisiana, and now she meant
to shortchange his investment.

Elodie groveled for a while,
then realized that he couldn't
actually do anything to her,
so she walked away.

As soon as the semester
ended, she resigned her job
and moved as far away from
Louisiana as she could get.

There was a place up in Vermont,
a little town called Rutledge, that
was advertising for a French teacher.

Elodie was the only one who had
even applied, so she got the job.

Contract in hand, she went out
to find the rest of what she needed.

Elodie was astonished to discover
how cheap the housing was here.

She rented a 3-bedroom apartment
just because she could, and then
turned the attic bedrooms into
an office and an art studio.

As twilight fell, though, Elodie
shivered in her thin T-shirt.

She'd been warned that
Vermont was much colder,
even coming into summer, but
she didn't have many warm clothes.

So Elodie went into Cinq Francs
and bought two 5-piece clusters:
one in red built around a hoodie,
and one in French blue based on
a cardigan with a matching vest.

While there, she chatted with
the shopkeeper and learned that
the children she had been hired
to teach were, in fact, Syrian
rather than American or French.

Elodie had heard about the war
going on in Syria, horrible news.

It didn't make her regret taking
the job, though. She understood
what it was like to have your life
turned upside-down in an instant.

That would help her relate to
the refugees who had moved
to Vermont to escape their past.

Somehow it would all work out fine.

* * *


Elodie Domonique -- She has toffee skin, black eyes, and long curly hair of coffee brown. She is tall and stately with broad shoulders and just a little curve at breasts and hips. She is intersex but doesn't know it. Her heritage includes Metropolitan French and African. She speaks Kréyol la Lwizyàn (Louisiana Creole), Créole Martiniquais (Antillean Creole), English, French, New England French, and Quebec French.
Elodie grew up on a fishing boat with her mother, sailing out of Martinique. She thought she spoke French and some English, but later found out that the "French" was really Créole Martiniquais. Shaken and upset, Elodie moved to America and began studying Metropolitan French. From there, she branched out to other dialects. Elodie earned a bachelor's degree in French with a minor in History and a Certificate in Artistic Endeavors from Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport. During that time, she lived in Le Quartier Français, except for a summer semester in Paris. She took the class Centenary in Paris: Paris Noir. She also participated in French Table and Legion d'honneur. Later Elodie earned a master's degree in Education with a concentration in Reflétant l’école.
Elodie was teaching at Reflétant l’école Paloma Picasso in Easy City when the berettafly incident occurred. As soon as the semester ended, she resigned, packed her bags, and left for Vermont where the town of Rutledge was advertising for a French teacher.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Teacher, Good (+2) French Dialects, Good (+2) Linguistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Runs from Problems

Paloma Picasso
19 April 1949, Spanish, French
Entrepreneur, Choreographer, Painter, Jewellery

French Major
Unique Opportunities
Students studying French are encouraged to spend at least one semester abroad at one of our sister institutions in Belgium, Paris, Lille, Guadeloupe, or Martinique. In addition, there are ample opportunities to study abroad with scholarships through the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL). All new students can profit from Centenary in Paris as well as short courses (modules) offered in Haiti.
All faculty in this department are bilingual and have considerable experience abroad. In addition, all Centenary students are able to work at the College’s internationally acclaimed French-language university press, Les Éditions Tintamarre. The press is a collaborative effort among Centenary faculty and students. From the very beginning, students have participated in the project by transcribing manuscripts, editing text, designing book covers, creating page layouts, and conducting research with professors.
Since Louisiana is the only bilingual state in the country (English and French), it is the perfect setting for students to study and participate in active learning through visits to other cultural settings.

Le Quartier Français
The goal of Le Quartier Français is to increase oral proficiency in a fun and relaxed environment. Students live together in rooms in James Hall West and are guided by a live-in native (or near native) speaker that includes exchange students from France and Residence Advisor.

French Table
French Table meets each Monday night in James lobby at 8 PM! Students can work on their language skills and participate in special events such as crepe night and movie night!

Centenary in Paris: Paris Noir
Dr. Dana Kress and Dr. Augustin-Billy teach the Centenary in Paris course, Paris Noir. This class is open to first-years participating in Centenary in Paris and is open to students of all disciplines.
This course examines the achievements of a few of the countless African-Americans who sought refuge in Paris because their own country did not share or value their experiences and denied them the very human dignity and opportunity they found so abundantly in France. Their experiences can help us learn to appreciate the common ground we share so that we can build mutually beneficial relationships through respectful engagement with a broader world.
Learn more about Centenary in Paris.

Legion d'honneur
La Légion Louisianaise promotes French and Francophone languages and cultures throughout Louisiana and to brings together people with different levels of French language proficiency. La Légion was founded at Centenary in the spring of 2017 with 17 initial members, including three French exchange students. To be eligible for the organization, individuals must be willing to work towards creating a bilingual Louisiana.

Major Requirements for the B.A. In French
at Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport

1. Twenty-eight hours (including Senior Seminar, i.e. FLNG 471-73) in the major language numbered above 202, three of which must be selected from conversation laboratories (211, 311).
2. Supportive courses as follows:
Choose option I or II.
I. Twelve credit hours in English courses numbered above 102.
II. Eight credit hours in English courses numbered above 102, and four credit hours in a history course approved by the advisor.
Strongly recommended are four additional hours in religion or philosophy and eight hours in fine arts.
(Students will also be advised to take, as part of the options above: English 478 or another course with emphasis on critical theory.)

A communicative approach to French with emphasis on all four language skills: comprehension, speaking, writing, reading.

Prerequisite: FREN 101-102 or equivalent. Grammar review, development of vocabulary and fluency in oral and written expression. Readings on various aspects of French culture, including literature.

Prerequisites: FREN 101-102 or consent of the instructor. Normally requires concurrent enrollment in French 201-202. Intensive conversational practice in a small-group settingconducted by native speakers of French. Conversation classes will involve discussion of French customs, and will stress the development of situational vocabulary. May be repeated for credit.
Offered every semester

An intensive study of advanced grammar and vocabulary covering such topics as linguistic signs and structure, semantics, syntax, and morphology.

Prerequisites: FREN 201-202 or completion of any upper division French course. Intense conversational practice using materials from contemporary French culture including magazines, newspapers, films, and tapes featuring native speakers. Original compositions in French. Includes advanced grammar and pronunciation drill. Offered every Fall semester.

Prerequisites: FREN 201-202 or completion of any upper division French course. The development of artistic independence in France (from Neo-Classicism to Cubism) is studied in its social, political and economic context. (Same as ART 309; taught in French)

Prerequisites: FREN 201-202, FREN 211, or consent of the instructor. Normally requires concurrent enrollment in FREN 305. Intensive conversational practice in a small-group setting conducted by native speakers of French. Conversation classes will involve discussion of French customs, articles from the French press, and will stress the development of vocabulary relating to issues of current concern in France. May be repeated for credit. Offered every semester.

412. SOUPÇON 1 (T-American)
Prerequisites: FREN 201-202 or completion of any upper division French course. Study of the French magazine Soupçon and superpowers in French cultures.

Prerequisites: FREN 201-202 or completion of any upper division French course. Study of major texts of Louisiana French and creole literature, including works by LaSalle, LeBlanc de Villeneufve, Mercier, Testut, Rouquette, and others. Offered on demand.

Centenary-approved enrollment in courses pursued abroad, such as concurrent registration in study abroad programs through ACS and CODOFIL.

A study of various approaches to the teaching of foreign languages to children and adults, including readings in current theories of language teaching and learning and opportunities for observation and practice teaching. Prerequisite: completion of the intermediate level of a foreign language. On demand. Ancient and Modern Languages Centenary College of Louisiana  

No knowledge of a foreign language required. Studies in the nature and ideas of foreign cultures through film and/or the literatures of classical or modern languages in English translation. Individual topics may not be repeated for credit.

This course involves practical experience in the teaching of foreign languages or in the use of foreign languages in the business world.

Elodie did her senior seminar on French diaspora dialects.
471-73. SENIOR SEMINAR 1-3
An intensive study of a topic in language, literature, civilization, or foreign language teaching methodology. The student will make an oral presentation or at least one major paper on the topic being studied. This course will also include an assessment of proficiency acquired in the target language during the student’s undergraduate career.

491. INDEPENDENT STUDY 1 Kréyol la Lwizyàn (Louisiana Creole)
Prerequisites: FREN 201-202 or permission of instructor. Study in a field of French language or literature appropriate to the student’s preparation and interests. Individual topics may not be repeated for credit. Offered upon demand.

492. INDEPENDENT STUDY 1 Quebec French
Prerequisites: FREN 201-202 or permission of instructor. Study in a field of French language or literature appropriate to the student’s preparation and interests. Individual topics may not be repeated for credit. Offered upon demand.

493. INDEPENDENT STUDY 1 New England French
Prerequisites: FREN 201-202 or permission of instructor. Study in a field of French language or literature appropriate to the student’s preparation and interests. Individual topics may not be repeated for credit. Offered upon demand.

II. Eight credit hours in English courses numbered above 102, and four credit hours in a history course approved by the advisor.

ENGL 171. Introduction to Literary Studies 3
Prerequisite: ENGL 101. This course introduces the history and current practices of literary criticism. The course uses a variety of literary texts for testing and exploring each method. Every other spring.

ENGL 172. Introduction to Visual Culture 3
This course introduces issues and debates about how we shape, and are shaped by, different forms of visual culture such as film and video, television, painting, photography, performance art, the built environment, and information technology. Issues such as the role of visual cultures in (re)producing ideas about race, identity, sexuality and gender will also be explored. Every spring. (Same as COMM 172 and ART 172)

478S. Literary and Cultural Theory from Plato to the Present 3
Prerequisite: ENGL 201. An overview of literary and cultural theory from ancient Greece to the
contemporary world of multimedia narrative and design. Heavy emphasis is placed on theory and
criticism emanating from the “theory explosion” of the past few decades, especially ideological,
psychoanalytic, and gender analyses of texts. Fall of alternate years.

A survey of the history under France, Spain, and the United States. Alternate years.

This course will introduce students to the history of France over the centuries since the Enlightenment, focusing particularly on the development of national identity and political stability in the wake of economic, social, ideological, and cultural changes that transformed the country and its people. Spring of odd numbered years.

Strongly recommended are four additional hours in religion or philosophy and eight hours in fine arts.

An introduction to philosophical method through problems selected from such areas as theory of knowledge and reality, art, ethics, religion, and science. Yearly.

REL 204. Introduction to World Religions 3
This course is a critical, introductory survey of the world’s major living religious traditions. Traditions examined include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Centenary College of Louisiana Philosophy 201
Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’i, and a selection of new and alternative religious movements. Students will investigate the belief structure, ritual system, sacred literature, social dimension, and historical development of each tradition. (Same as PHIL 204)

A study of philosophical issues raised by the contemporary dialogue between the living world religions. Topics include concepts of God, revelation, religious truth, problem of evil and theory of salvation. Alternate years. (Same as REL 303S)

Certificate in Artistic Endeavors
In T-Centenary, the Certificate in Artistic Endeavors requires ART 101-102 plus any 9 hours of studio art classes in any media.

A historical survey of art and architecture from ancient times through the Middle Ages. Fall.

A historical survey of art and architecture from the Renaissance through today. Spring.

Basic training stressing draftsmanship and the elements of two-dimensional design. Drawing done in black and white and in color. Compositions are brought in for a weekly criticism class. This course, or its equivalent, is prerequisite to all advanced studio courses. Six studio hours a week. With weekly critique sessions. Fall.

A systematic study of several methods of paintings, including oil, encaustic, polymer, egg tempera, acrylic and an examination of the techniques of some of the old masters. Four hours a week with outside work and weekly critique sessions. Spring.

This class in outdoor drawing and painting is taught in French. ART 460E offers the same material in English, alternating semesters.

(Students will also be advised to take, as part of the options above: English 478 or another course with emphasis on critical theory.)

Escadrille Louisiane Program
Escadrille Louisiane is a program for Louisianians with a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution who aspire to teach French in Louisiana schools. Named after Escadrille Lafayette, a group of 200 Americans who trained as pilots to fly for the French during World War I, the goal of Escadrille Louisiane is to fill Louisiana schools with qualified and certified fluent-French speakers from Louisiana who have their state’s heritage languages and culture at heart. Learn more about program requirements and the application process.

For a minor in History, students must complete twenty (20) hours of History courses which must meet the following requirements: 1. At least 8 hours of course work in HIST 102, 103, 205, 206.
2. At least 8 hours of courses numbered 300 or above.
3. The remaining 4 required hours can be completed with any additional history courses.

102. WESTERN HERITAGE 1300-1815 3
This course begins with the late medieval transition to the Reformation era. It then concentrates on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which witnessed the division of the unified Western church into numerous denominations, wars of religion, rise of centralized monarchies, early expressions of religious toleration, and the age of reason. Europe’s colonial and commercial expansion in this era led to global conflict, development of capitalism, and the early phase of the industrial revolution. The course then views how the French Revolution brought down absolute monarchy and replaced it with Napoleon’s “enlightened despotism.” The course ends with a survey of Napoleon’s expansion and defeat. Offered in the fall.

The course begins with a survey of the era of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars and moves to the Vienna settlement, which gave Europe a “generation of peace.” The nineteenth century was the period during which western nations industrialized, competed for empire, and struggled internally with a rising middle class and then a rising working class. Western culture was shaken by interpretations of life and society inspired by the work of Karl Marx and Charles Darwin. In the last quarter of the century, Germany was becoming the powerful and aggressive nation which would disrupt the twentieth century. World War I, the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, western economic collapse, World War II, the introduction of nuclear power, the multiplication of communist governments, and superpower arms race are important themes of the twentieth century. Offered in the spring.

205. HISTORY OF THE U.S. TO 1877 3
A survey of the major developments in the history of the United States from colonial times to 1877. Yearly.

206. HISTORY OF THE U.S. FROM 1877 3
A survey of the major developments in the history of the United States from 1877 to present. Yearly.

304. Early Modern European History 3
This course will consider how the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Age of Discovery, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and other crucial developments of the early modern period prepared the way for the advent of modernity. Alternate years beginning Fall 2008.

The evolution of American social institutions and cultural life from the colonial period to the present. The course will focus on the development of various types of American communities and will emphasize changes in American families, religious, and ethnic groups, business and educational organizations, and social structure. Alternate years.

An examination of the South from colonial days through the Civil War with emphasis on the institution of slavery, agriculture, society, and the development of sectionalism. Fall of alternate years.

(T-American) (Elodie's classes are in green.)
Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) with a concentration in Reflétant l’école

Reflétant l’école requires educational core classes (15 hours):
EDUC 511 – Methods in Elementary Language Arts and Social Studies
EDUC 512 – Methods in Elementary Math and Science
READ 515 – Teaching Literacy in the Elementary School
READ 516 – The Language-Disordered Child
EDUC 516 – Methods of Teaching Students with Special Needs
EDUC 519 – Human Growth and Development
EDUC 522 – Classroom Management
EDUC 525 – Theories of Learning

EDUC 529 – Secondary Methods
EDUC 563 – Philosophy of Education
EDUC 530 – Curriculum

Another set of classes focus specifically on this school system: (12 hours)
RLE 501 -- History of Reflétant l’école (3 hours)
RLE 502 -- Principles of Reflétant l’école (3 hours)
RLE 510 -- Challenges of Alternative Schools (1 hour)
RLE 511 -- Socioeconomic Issues in Reflétant l’école (1 hour)
RLE 580 -- Challenges of Immersion Schools (1 hour)
RLE 581 -- L'enseignement en Français (3 hours)

Students choose 3 of: (3 hours)
RLE 520 -- Teaching Art in Reflétant l’école (1 hour)
RLE 521 -- Teaching French Culture in Reflétant l’école (1 hour)
RLE 522 -- Teaching History in Reflétant l’école (1 hour)

RLE 523 -- Teaching Literacy in Reflétant l’école (1 hour)
RLE 524 -- Teaching Math in Reflétant l’école (1 hour)
RLE 525 -- Teaching Science in Reflétant l’école (1 hour)
RLE 526 -- Teaching Mirrors in Reflétant l’école (1 hour)

Students choose 1 of: (3 hours)
RLE 550 -- Tutoring in Reflétant l’école (3 hours)
RLE 551 -- Homeschooling in Reflétant l’école (3 hours)
RLE 552 -- The Reflective Nanny (3 hours)

Students must do two semesters of work in a Reflétant l’école or equivalent environment. (6 hours)
EDUC 581 – Secondary Internship (3 hours) OR
EDUC 578 – Secondary Student Teaching (3 hours)
EDUC 581 – Elementary Internship (3 hours) OR
EDUC 577 – Elementary Student Teaching (3 hours)
EDUC 578 – Nanny Internship (6 hours)
EDUC 579 – Homeschooling Internship (6 hours)
EDUC 582 – Tutor Internship (6 hours)

The final project for the degree is a thesis paper written and defended in French.
EDUC 590 – French Thesis (1 hour)

40 hours total

Elodie bought two capsule wardrobes when she moved to America. This is her beach wear plus sarong, and this is her college wear.

When she moved to Vermont, she bought two 5-piece clusters for colder weather, one in red and one in French blue. The French 5-piece wardrobe is based on the premise of having a good set of basic garments to which you add 5 new pieces each fashion season. It mixes well with a Common Wardrobe. A 5-piece cluster can be any combination of items, but usually includes a mix of tops and accessories, sometimes bottoms. In each color Elodie has chosen 3 tops, a bracelet, and a pair of shoes that will work well for summer in Vermont where weather can turn chilly without warning. You can see how this kind of cluster is a great way to experiment with a new color, but also to boost your wardrobe in response to changing circumstances.

Hussville LeBlanc -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and short brown hair going gray. His short beard and mustache are already white. He has a bad habit of doing everything with strings attached, and then getting angry when people don't live up to his expectations.
Qualites: Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Dean of Centenary College, Good (+2) Francophone, Good (+2) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Political Connections
Poor (-2) Aggressive When Crossed

* * *

Elodie has a 3-bedroom apartment on the right side of the house, filling the second floor and the attic. Three other families share the house -- the right first floor 1-bedroom), left first floor (2-bedroom), and left second floor (2-bedroom) -- for a total of four units.

The back yard includes four raised bed gardens, one for each unit to plant flowers or vegetables.

Her apartment floor plan is similar to this, except that her bedroom is in the garage space. Upstairs, there are only two bedrooms and one bathroom. The office fills the front of the attic. What was the ensuite bathroom on the floor plan is a walk-in closet for the office in the front end. An art studio occupies the back end. Much of the place is decorated in shades of red, gold, and brown.

The kitchen has a dishwasher, double sink, stove, microwave oven, and refrigerator. The dining room table seats six. The living room has a couch, a loveseat, an easy chair, and a viewscreen. The tiny powder room has a toilet and a sink. Elodie's bedroom includes a full-size bed with drawers, an end table, and a director's chair. This room has bright pops of deep turquoise along with the red and brown.

The office fills the front of the attic. What was the ensuite bathroom on the floor plan is a walk-in closet here. It has a computer desk, bookshelves, and storage cabinets all in white wood. The attic also has a laundry closet. The attic bathroom includes a sink, toilet, and bathtub with shower. The art studio fills the back end of the attic. It has a table and chair, easel and stool, along with storage for art supplies.

See a map of French dialects, such as Quebec French and New England French.

French has spawned spawned a number of creoles around the world. These include ...
Varieties with progressive aspect marker ape:
Louisiana Creole (Kréyol la Lwizyàn, locally called Kourí-Viní and Creole), the Louisiana creole language.
Varieties with progressive aspect marker ka
Antillean Creole, spoken primarily in the francophone countries in the Lesser Antilles, such as Martinique, Guadeloupe, Îles des Saintes.</user></user></user>
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, education, ethnic studies, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, linguistics, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.