English composition ii -1000 word research paper -500 word reading

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-ONE:

 1000 word research essay:

 

Choose 

one

of the following topics:

Short Story Topics:

“Sonny’s Blues”

1. How does the narrator change from the beginning of the story to the final scene? At what 

points in the story do you see these changes occurring? What memories, insights, and 

conversations does he have that facilitate his change? (Look closely at paragraphs 177-178, 

215-216, and 238.)

2. Discuss the theme of addiction in “Sonny’s Blues.” You might consider the following approach: 

According  to  the  narrator,  what  causes  underlie  drug  addiction?  How  does  he  divide  the 

responsibility  for  drug  addiction?  How  do  larger,  social/economic  factors  play  a  role?  How  do 

personal/family factors play a role? In this story, what resources help Sonny control his addiction 

and remain in recovery? (Look closely at paragraphs 75-80, 190-200, and 215-225.) If the story 

were set today instead of 1955, would Sonny have any better chance of staying in recovery? Why 

or why not? 

3. Discuss the theme of music in the story. What importance does music serve in the lives of 

Baldwin’s characters? (Look closely at paragraphs 180-181 and 235-240.)

4. Discuss the theme of racism in the story. (Look especially at paragraphs 81-110).

References:

Byerman, Keith A. “Words and Music: Narrative Ambiguity in ‘Sonny’s Blues’.” 

Studies in Short 

in Short Fiction

, vol. 19, no. 4, 1982, pp. 367-372. 

Literary Reference Center Plus

(EBSCOhost). Accessed on 17 July 2018.   

Kowalska, Eva. “Troubled Reading: ‘Sonny’s Blues’ and Empathy.” 

Literator

, vol. 36, no. 1, 2015, 

Literary Reference Center Plus

(EBSCOhost). Accessed on 16 July 2018.

Murray, Donald C. “James Baldwin’s ‘Sonny’s Blues’: Complicated and Simple.” 

Studies in

Short Fiction

, vol. 14, no. 4, Fall 1977, pp. 353-57. 

Literary Reference Center Plus

(EBSCO)host. Accessed on 12 June 2018.

-TWO:

500 word reading journal essay MLA format

pick ONE of the following

 

1. Do you have a favorite horror film? Explain why you find it particularly effective and a “good” film. Is the film just meant to frighten the audience, or does it also have a “message” about life, society, the universe…? (For example, in “Lusus Naturae” Margaret Atwood is not just writing a “monster” story, but wishes to describe a character who is more “human” and “normal” than the people who mistreat her and are considered the “normal” ones. Her story becomes a critique of society and its tendency to find “scapegoats” to rationalize its cruelty and injustices.) 

2. If there is one of the topics from the In-Class #3 assignment list that you would like to write about at greater length, you can choose one of those.

3. If you could return to any time-period in the past, what period would it be? Why? What would you hope to learn from being there, and what problems might you have to deal with that you do not have to deal with by living in today’s world?

-THREE:

500 word reading journal essay MLA format

 

Choose ONE of the following topics:

1. Both “Boys and Girls” and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” are initiation stories, although the second one has far more tragic consequences. In your reading journal for this week, compare and contrast the two young women in these stories as adolescents who are forced to make a decision that signals their entry into adulthood. Which story do you prefer? Why?

2. The film Smooth Talk considers an alternative ending for the Joyce Carol Oates story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Compare and contrast the endings of both the film and the short story. In your response, consider the tragic impact of each work and the audience each work is intended for. 

3. Can “A Rose for Emily?” be classified as a Southern Gothic story? In your reading journal entry, focus on two or three characteristics that define this genre, and use them to support your argument with two or three specific references to William Faulkner’s story. (I highly recommend that you read the entry for Southern Gothic on Wikipedia. Yes, I really wrote that. The information on Wikipedia for this topic is accurate and relevant. If you enjoy the genre, it provides several other works, including television series from this genre.)

-FOUR:

500 word reading journal essay MLA format

 

Choose one of the following topics:

1. Compare and contrast Dudley Randall’s poem “The Ballad of Birmingham” (page 887 ) and Marilyn Nelson’s poem “A Wreath for Emmett Till” (https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4818586) as a record of history and a voice against racism.

2. Discuss the comparison between the image and the emotion that Sharon Olds expresses in her poem “Bruise Ghazal” (page 862).

3. Compare and contrast any two poems by Pat Mora (pages 1014 – 1019). Remember to discuss both the form and the content. 

4. Analyze Judith Ortiz Cofer’s poem “The Changeling” (page 754) from the perspective of the little girl.

5. Analyze Robert Hayden’s poem “Those Winter Sundays” (page 814) from the different perspectives of the narrator as a boy and as a man.

6. Compare and contrast any two poems by Claude McKay (pages 1046 – 1048). Remember to discuss both the form and the content. (You may write on more than two poems if you are choosing this topic for a longer literary analysis.)

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