Assignment: Write an analysis of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun or Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.
Length: 4 full pages, typed and double-spaced, size 12 Times New Roman font, 1” margins
Due date: Monday, May 2
To help you develop your essay, choose ONE of the following approaches:
1. Choose one of the below essay prompts and use it to help you narrow down a topic and focus for your essay.
2. Develop an essay topic by building upon your response to a discussion forum question or journal question.
3. Use a topic/idea of your own choice.
Your essay should discuss your own unique interpretation of the text or some aspect of the text. Your goal in this essay is to explain your interpretation to an audience who is familiar with the text, but whose interpretations of the text may be different from your own.
Your essay should also:
• have a thesis statement that presents your argument or interpretation
• logically develop this thesis through well-organized paragraphs
• use evidence and quotations from the text to support your thesis
• present an analysis rather than a summary of the text
• indicate that you have proofread, edited, and revised your work
Topics on Alice Walker’s The Color Purple:
1. How do the women in the novel find and assert their identity, independence, and self-worth while living in patriarchal societies? What role do women’s friendships and relationships with other women play in this process? While Celie is an obvious choice to focus on for this topic, you might also consider characters such as Shug, Sofia, Squeak, Nettie, or even Olivia, Tashi, or Catherine.
2. How does the pressure to conform to gender roles impact the men in the novel? What are some of the constraints, problems, or challenges men in the text face by conforming to their gender roles, despite the fact that they occupy the dominant or more powerful gender role?
3. How and why do Celie’s religious or spiritual views change throughout the novel? What are some of the pivotal moments of that process?
4. The Color Purple challenges traditional American societal views on a range of topics, from gender roles to sexuality to religion to language. Choose one or two* of these topics and examine how the novel re-imagines the traditional perspective(s) and offers other ways of thinking about the topic(s).
*Only choose two topics if you see them as explicitly related to one another in a way that can be discussed coherently in an essay (e.g., gender and sexuality).
5. Alice Walker writes most of this book in a language variety that is not considered “standard English.” How does the author’s language usage impact how we understand or connect with the characters, settings, and themes of her work? Be sure to give specific examples from the text.
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