These questions should be used as STARTING POINTS in writing your paper. There is NO right answer to these questions. I am looking for YOUR interpretation and understanding of these subjects, not for a repetition/regurgitation of what I've presented in class. These papers should follow standard essay form and length. Please DO NOT do any outside research for these papers. It's inappropriate for this level of class, and I'm not interested in what other scholars have to say; I'm interested in what YOU have to say about the works.
This paper can use ANY of the works that we've read so far this semester, but should focus on the works of Twain, Cather, Petry, and Cisneros, particularly the 20th century works.
In his book The Redneck Manifesto, Jim
"Racial struggles are
never purely racial. In fact, they aren't even fundamentally
racial. Most often, race is merely an excuse to mask what is
actually a battle over land or the booty perched upon it. . .
If rednecks and blacks were ever to put aside their differences,
the only remaining enemy would be th one above them. . .I have
a dream--one day po' whites and blacks will stand together and
be able to say, 'It's a class thing--you wouldn't understand.'"
Apply this theory to the works that
we have read in the last part of this class. How much are they
about class and the struggle between the haves and the have-nots
rather than between whites and blacks, whites and Indians, etc?
Analyze these works in terms of class conflict and what they
tell us about the impact of class on American culture in the
Analyze the status and role of women in
the later works. Have things improved for women, either in terms
of their social status or the chance of success? If not, explain
if the problems are the same as the 19th century. If they have
improved, explain how and why.
THESIS: One of the hallmarks of the 20th
century literature is pessimism. Writers rarely offer happy endings
or success for their main characters. Most often, 20th century
literature is about what is WRONG with the culture. Explain how
these works do or do not support this view.
One thing that readers often learn is
that the closer to current times the works get, the more relevant
and interesting the stories get as well. Analyze these works
in terms of this theory and explain if it is true or not FOR
Explain and analyze how these works show
a shift from the early emphasis on and importance of rural citizens
to the lives and concerns of urban citizens. Don't just document
that the shift occurred, explain what that shift tells us about
America in the 20th century. If you don't see the shift, or think
that it's minor, explain that view as well.
Be sure to explain things as clearly and explicitly as you
can. Give details and examples from the readings to back up your
claims, but don't spend too much of the paper giving us plot summaries.
Assume that the reader is familiar with the works, but might need
to be reminded of specific details. Good luck! Email or phone
me if you have any questions.
REMEMBER THAT THIS
IS AN ESSAY, NOT A ONE PAGE JOURNAL ENTRY!!!!!
This paper should be turned in by May 6 if at all possible.