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READ: The Eloquent Peasant (Graphic Biography)

Khunanup was a peasant in Middle Kingdom Egypt who made his living farming, trading, and gathering goods. One day, Khunanup loaded up a donkey with his belongings to trade, but he was stopped by an official who stole all of his goods. Khunanup’s complaints to the governor led him to appeal to the Pharaoh, who awarded Khunanup the official’s belongings.
The Graphic Biography below uses “Three Close Reads”. If you want to learn more about this strategy, click here.

First read: skimming for gist

This will be your quickest read. It should help you get the general idea of what the graphic biography will be about. Pay attention to the title, headings, images, and layout. Ask yourself: what is this graphic biography going to be about?

Second read: understanding content

For this reading, you should be looking for unfamiliar vocabulary words, the major claim and key supporting details, and analysis and evidence. You should also spend some time looking at the images and the way in which the page is designed.
By the end of the second close read, you should be able to answer the following questions:
  1. How did Khunanup make his living and provide for his family?
  2. What happened during Khunanup’s trip that eventually led him to appeal to the Pharaoh?
  3. How was Khunanup described by the Pharaoh and by himself? Do you think this had any effect on the outcome of Khunanup’s case?
  4. According to the biography, in what ways could Khunanup be considered a poor man? In what ways could he be considered a rich man?
  5. How does the artwork support the idea that Khunanup was a poor man? Conversely, how might the artwork support the idea that Khunanup could also be considered a wealthy man?

Third read: evaluating and corroborating

In this read, you should use the graphic biography as evidence to support, extend, or challenge claims made in the course.
At the end of the third read, you should be able to respond to these questions:
  1. Khunanup’s story is one of the earliest written sources we have of the life of farmers in the ancient world. What evidence does this story present as to what the consequences were of the shift to farming? How does this evidence support, extend, or challenge what you have learned about the consequences of that shift?
  2. Do you think Khunanup chose to travel to the city to sell his goods because he wanted to, or do you think he was forced to leave his farm and try to sell his possessions because of drought? What does your answer tell you about the quality of life for early farmers?
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to read! Remember to return to these questions once you’ve finished reading.

The Eloquent Peasant (Graphic Biography)

A peasant named Khunanup set out to trade his goods, but his passage was blocked by an official who stole his belongings, leading Khunanup to appeal to the Pharaoh.
Download the Graphic Biography PDF here or click on the image above.

Want to join the conversation?

  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Wolfy
    Wealth entirely depends on how you define it for yourself. Many view an abundance of currency to be wealth, the type of wealth they want, anyways, while others like myself, view a personal life with meaningful, close relationships and interesting hobbies/interests to be wealth.
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user