The voice of the people

Background:

For this essay, I want you to think about the narrative voices that you’ve read/heard speaking to a particular topic or theme.  Specifically, consider the ways that Literature opens up a space for people whose voices might not be heard otherwise.  For example, you may want to analyze the way various writers and speakers talk about their access to power, to a quality education, or to meaningful and profitable work; or their vulnerability as a result of poverty/race/religion/etc; or their experience of violence/abuse/oppression/etc. 

Task:

Write a thesis-driven essay analyzing the role and value of Literature in expressing and/or understanding the experiences of marginalized communities.  You should focus on a single literary text (a poem OR a short story),  using your own interpretation and experience, as well as one non-fiction (essays, speeches, videos) source AND one source of your own from the library database.

Suggestions:

Check out this terrible sketch I made of Introduction Paragraphs to see how you can structure yours.  And here is a guide to the Introduction paragraph from another source 🙂
Your thesis should make an argument about the value of Literature in the expression and/or understanding of the theme. 
The body of your essay should use specific evidence from the poem/short story to support your claim.
You will need to use the Solano Library databases to find an outside source to strengthen your analysis.  You may want to use JSTOR to find a critical analysis of your poem/story that has already been done.  You could use the OED to dig deeper into the specific language that the author uses.  Or you may want to use one of the reference databases to learn more about a particular event, person, or time period.
Be sure to fully interpret and analyze the examples you pull from the readings; in particular, explore the language, style, form, and/or context (historical, social, political, etc) of the words, phrases, and passages that you draw into your essay and explain the significance to your reader.
You may want to use the conclusion to talk about how you/we benefit from the Literature in this unit OR how this theme/topic fits into your/our experience of the world today.
Sources:

At least one fiction selections from the class reading packet for this unit (see below for complete list)
At least one speech, video or essay (see below for complete list)
At least one outside source from the Solano Library database
Requirements:

4-6 pages

MLA formatting, including a Works Cited page

An original title

Minimum of three sources (per directions above)

Full List of Sources

Speeches:

Barack Obama  “A More Perfect Union”

Malcolm X “The Ballot or the Bullet”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie “The Danger of a Single Story”

Arundhati Roy “Come September”

Poetry:

Dove Claudette Colvin Goes to Work

Giovanni Revolutionary Dreams

Hughes I, Too, Sing America

McKay If We Must Die

Randall Ballad of Birmingham

Trethewey White Lies

Williams Of History and Hope

Asghar Microagression Bingo

Ali The Country without a Post Office

Bennett Colonization in Reverse

Braithwaite Stone

Hazo For Fawzi in Jerusalem

Lee Persimmons

Mahon “A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford” (reading available on YouTube)

Sahib Gate A-4″

Soyinka A Telephone Conversation (reading available on YouTube)

Walcott The Sea is History (reading available on Sound Cloud)

Short Stories:

James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”

Junot Diaz’s “Fiesta 1980”

Viet Thahn Nguyen’s “The War Years”

Mohammed Naheesu Ali’s “Ravalushun.”

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