The purpose of this essay assignment is to test your ability to compare and contrast how two texts take up a particular theme, in this case, 1) creativity, 2) music, 3) sight — Themes are discussed in more detail below.
Choose one pairing of of Texts and Theme…
-How is newness brought into the world? Compare and contrast
how Anne Bradstreet’s “The Author to Her Book” and Mina Loy’s
“Feminist manifesto” represent creativity / creation.
-What can Music say that ordinary Language cannot? Make a brief
argument comparing and contrasting why James Baldwin “Sonny
Blues” and Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif” both refer to music in their
-As the old platitude goes, looks (meaning, appearances, or what
you think you see) can be deceiving. Compare and contrast how
Kate Chopin’s “Desiree Baby” and Claude Mckay’s “The Harlem
Dancer” prove or disprove this old platitude.
Guidance with the writing process…
Before you start writing
-Choose your text and read them again, making sure you
understand their literal meaning.
-Close read your texts using the process we’ve practiced. Be
obvious, break them down, and then reassemble their
parts (e.g. words, sentences, and paragraphs) that relate to
-Write those words, sentences, and paragraphs and down
separately and look for patterns. Aim to have 3-4 key
passages from the text that relate to your theme.
-Start writing down your ideas about each key passage and
making connections between them.
Writing the essay
-Come right out and say what you mean. Use the first
paragraph to explain your theme and state what we will
learn about the text by exploring that theme in depth (i.e.
-Stay on theme. Use every body paragraph to explore the
theme from a related, but different, perspective. Each
paragraph should quote words, sentences, or phrases
related to the theme.
-Conclude. Is there more to say about the topic? What
might you add if you had more space and time? Do you
think someone might disagree with your essay? What
might they say, and how might you respond? What are the
broader implications of your interpretation?
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