Write a 500-750 word essay on one of the following topics.
- Write a critical analysis of one of the works from weeks 1 or 2. An overview of approaches can be found here, but many are quite straightforward. Psychological, gender, sociological, biographical, and historical are all approaches that many use naturally in viewing a work. However, if your interest lies elsewhere, feel free to choose another approach. Please include your choice of approach in the assignment submission text box.
- Compare and contrast two of the stories from weeks 1 and 2. Be sure that you have isolated a strong and debatable thesis on which to build the essay. Simply pointing out the differences is not analysis. Toward that end, you may want to focus on a specific element of the stories.
- If there's an aspect of the stories from these two weeks that particularly interests you, you may choose your own topic, but you must run it by me first to be sure it is headed in an analytical direction.
Your essay should be formatted in MLA style, including double spacing throughout. All sources should be properly cited both in the text and on a works cited page. As with most academic writing, this essay should be written in third person. Please avoid both first person (I, we, our, etc.) and second person (you, your).
In the upper left-hand corner of the paper, place your name, the professor’s name, the course name, and the due date for the assignment on consecutive lines. Double space your information from your name onward, and don't forget a title. All papers should be in Times New Roman font with 12-point type with one-inch margins all the way around your paper. All paragraph indentations should be indented five spaces (use the tab key) from the left margin. All work is to be left justified. When quoting lines in literature, please research the proper way to cite short stories, plays, or poems.
You should use the online APUS library to look for scholarly sources. Be careful that you don’t create a "cut and paste" paper of information from your various sources. Your ideas are to be new and freshly constructed. Also, take great care not to plagiarize.
Whatever topic you choose you will need a debatable thesis. A thesis is not a fact, a quote, or a question. It is your position on the topic. The reader already knows the story; you are to offer him a new perspective based on your observations.
Since the reader is familiar with the story, summary is unnecessary. Rather than tell him what happened, tell him what specific portions of the story support your thesis. The handout on "Literary Analysis" is a must for this aspect of the paper.
Assigned Readings for Week One
"From Sand Creek" by Simon Ortiz, available in the textbook American Literature Since the Civil War
"A Postcard from the Volcano" by Wallace Stevens, available in American Literature Since the Civil War
"Why I Write" by Joan Didion, available in American Literature Since the Civil War “I'm nobody, who are you?” by Emily Dickinson, available at Poets.org. “An Agony. As Now.” by Amiri Baraka, available at Poetry Foundation “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, available at Poetry Foundation “The Turning Point of My Life” from What Is Man? and Other Essays
“America” from The Patriotic Poems of Walt Whitman
“Long Too Long America” from The Patriotic Poems of Walt Whitman
“I Hear America Singing” from The Patriotic Poems of Walt Whitman
“America” by Allen Ginsberg, available at Poetry Foundation
“America” by Claude McKay, available at Poetry Foundation
“Autumn Begins in Martin's Ferry, Ohio” by James Wright, available at Poetry Foundation
“Let No Charitable Hope” by Elinor Wylie, available at Poetry Society of America
“The Problem of Old Harjo” by John Oskison
available at University of Virginia E-Text Center
"A Month in the Country" by Jay Wright
"Song for a Dark Girl" by Langston Hughes
"How it Feels to Be Colored Me" by Zora Neale Hurston
"Sula" by Toni Morrison or "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker
"What You Pawn I Will Redeem" by Sherman Alexie
"The Third and Final Continent" by Jhumpa Lahiri
"The Conversion of the Jews" by Philip Roth
"The Day the Cisco Kid Shot John Wayne" by Nash Candelaria or "The Last of the Menu Girls" by Denise Chavez