Essay Assignment: Literary Analysis
For this assignment, you will write an argumentative critical paper about one of the texts discussed in class. The essay will be 4-5 pages long, typed and double-spaced. You will craft a thesis and support it with appropriate citations and examples from the text.
You are not required to consult secondary sources; however, if you do so, use MLA style to cite your sources. Please remember to cite your primary source(s).
In evaluating your essays, I will be looking for the following: an interesting, original thesis; a strong defense for that thesis grounded in textual evidence; an organizational structure that leads from one point coherently to the next; and a thorough analysis of evidence and examples.
The following are a list of possible topics. You are responsible for transforming the topic below into a working argument and thesis.
- Analyze the exploration of Black identity in Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal.” How does the use of symbolism, character, and/or setting in the story help to convey Ellison’s larger message?
- Analyze the role of music in James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.” How does it function as a catalyst for the narrator’s awakening?
- Analyze the role of the environment (setting) in James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.” What does the narrator reveal (and perhaps discover) about his identity and his relationship to his surroundings?