Literature of Black American I ENGL 235
Fall 2020 Course Paper Capstone Assignment
· It must be double-spaced. The length should be about four-five (4-5) pages. It should be submitted to the Turnitin link on the Course Assignments tab.
· The Capstone Assignment is worth 25% of the course grade (25/100 points).
· This is an English course; therefore, the paper will be graded for both content and quality of writing, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, organization, etc. See the grading rubric in the course syllabus.
· One half-letter grade per day will be deducted for each day the paper is late until the highest possible grade is “C.”
· The paper should be based upon the primary texts that were covered in the course this semester and your responses and analyses of them. However, you may (but do not have to) include a limited number of autobiographical, biographical or critical sources, including background and introductory sections in the Call & Response text. Any additional source material must be documented using an MLA works cited entry and MLA in-text documentation.
· This paper should be a unified essay with a clear thesis statement that addresses all four texts. Be sure to include transitions between your discussions of individual texts that relate back to the introductory thesis. Direct quotes must be used to support your position. A basic model outline for tracing a literary theme is provided to help you organize and structure your paper in the Weekly Assignments Materials folder.
· All sources must be listed in an MLA works cited page and all direct quotes must be documented using MLA parenthetical or “in-text” citations. Cite the work of each of the 4 authors separately as a work in an anthology. An MLA guide for paper format and documentation and a template for MLA papers is provided on the Weekly Assignments Materials folder. A template that will automatically put your paper in MLA format is also in the Weekly Assignments Materials folder.
· DO NOT use outside sources for the content. A word of warning! The sources for this paper should be restricted to the reading assignments, your interpretations, the group discussions, the PowerPoints, and my Comments lectures. If you copy information from an Internet source, such as Sparknotes, etc., Turnitin will identify it, and you will fail the paper for plagiarism.
The topic should be chosen from one of the four options listed below (Choose one).
1) The American Dream is a powerful myth that suggests that everyone can achieve success through hard work and determination. Yet, for many African American writers the myth is often hollow or and can even become a nightmare. The denial of possibility in a land that espouses possibility as a foundational principle often results in sense of rage. In a well-developed, unified essay with a clearly articulated thesis statement and specific examples (including direct quotes) identify and analyze how the reality of the American Dream is exposed and critiqued in the texts of four of the authors listed below.
2) In his landmark work The Souls of Black Folks (1903), W.E.B. DuBois examined a number of issues that related to black life in America. He identified the concept of “double-consciousness”: “One ever feels his two-ness, —an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” Many African American authors have examined and illustrated the contradictory nature of being both black and American. In a well-developed, unified essay with a clearly articulated thesis statement and specific examples (including direct quotes) identify and analyze how “double-consciousness” is represented and explored in the texts of four of the authors listed below.
3) In her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston described the black woman as “de mule of de world” —the mule of the world—as a way describing the double marginalization of African American women in terms of both race and gender. This issue has surfaced in the novels, short stories, poems and plays of many black writers throughout the evolution of the black literary tradition. In a well-developed, unified essay with a clearly articulated thesis statement and specific examples (including direct quotes) identify and analyze how this double marginalization of women is represented in the texts of four of the authors listed below.
4) Throughout their experience in America, African Americans have continuously engaged in the creative/expressive arts efforts to survive, resist and transcend American racism and re-member a connection to an African-based identity and heritage. In a well-developed, unified essay with a clearly articulated thesis statement and specific examples (including direct quotes) identify and analyze how this attempt to reconnect with Africa is represented in the texts of four of the authors listed below.
Apply the theme that you choose above to four authors. Choose four (4) of the following authors to analyze based on one of the four topics above:
Oral tradition – spirituals (“Go Down Moses,” etc.; folk tales (tricksters, flying Africans, etc.)
Phillis Wheatley Richard Allen David Walker Benjamin Banneker Frederick Douglass Sojourner Truth Harriet Jacobs Sarah Parker Remond Frances E.W. Harper William Wells Brown
Charles W. Chestnut Paul Laurence Dunbar Alice Dunbar-Nelson Ida B. Wells Pauline E. Hopkins Booker T. Washington W.E.B. DuBois Sterling Brown Claude McKay Gwendolyn Bennett Alain Locke Langston Hughes Helene Johnson Zora Neale Hurston James Weldon Johnson
Nella Larsen Marcus Garvey
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