American Literature Assignments

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American Literature Assignment 1

In five paragraphs or more, compare and contrast the play “Leash” with the play “The Right to Remain,” and use at least two external, valid sources (i.e. not Wikipedia or an unauthored website) to support your discussion of each play’s social and/or political context (I have given you these inside the module, but you may use additional sources if you like).

Ultimately, of course, you should find a subject or theme that both plays explore through character or plot development, and then explain what insight the two plays reveal about the subject.

American Literature Assignment 2

In 250 words minimum, write a mini explication of ONE of the following poems to be discussed in class:

Excerpts from Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler

Jenifer Rae Vernon, “Bobbi the Girl.”

Jenifer Rae Vernon, “Elegy for Chastity.”

Note, for full credit, your explication should include at least four properly cited lines from the poem and make note of at least two poetic devices (diction, enjambment, assonance, synecdoche, rhythm, imagery etc. being employed by the poet.). If working with the poems from Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler, make certain to only discuss one poem.

You must include textual evidence. More specifically, quotations must be used to support your response. At minimum, you should have at least one quotation or example. Don’t just include quotations or examples for the sake of meeting the requirements; spend time reflecting on specific words and phrases from the quotations you choose. Explain why you are interpreting the sound, image, language, or line in a particular way.

You must open your response with a narrow controlling idea. This is a one- or two-sentence argumentative assertion that introduces an original idea that governs your entire response.

American Literature Assignment 3

Reflective Prompt: Compromise

Have you ever had to work with someone from whom you were very different, in terms of ideology, culture, socio-economic background, and/or religion? What kind of compromises had to be made — on your side or on their side — in order for anything to be accomplished? What did you learn from the experience?

If you haven’t had this kind of experience, write about why you think you haven”t had this kind of experience yet — and how you might take lessons from the characters in Kindred that might help you better meet goals and/or accomplish objectives.

American Literature Assignment 4

Reading Response Questions: KINDRED Chapters 1 and 2

  1. What has happened to the narrator at the opening of the novel? (In the Prologue)
  2. Who is Kevin? Where and when (what year) do he and Dana (the narrator) live?
  3. Who is Rufus? How does Dana meet Rufus?
  4. When she speaks to Rufus in his bedroom, what has Rufus been doing? How does Dana help?
  5. What does Dana realize about where/when Rufus lives, and about who he is?
  6. Where does Dana go after talking with Rufus in his bedroom? What does she see there?
  7. Who is Alice? Who are her parents?
  8. What happens when Dana goes outside to get the blanket for Alice’s mother?
  9. What does Dana tell Kevin about her time away? What do they think makes Dana travel to Rufus? What makes her travel back to Kevin?

Reading Response: KINDRED Chapters 3 and 4 and 5

  1. How did Dana meet Kevin? What do they have in common? How are they different?
  2. What does Dana tell Rufus about where she’s from? How does she convince him?
  3. What is Tom Weylin like?
  4. Who is Margaret, what is she like, and how is she treated by Weylin and Rufus? How does she treat Dana?
  5. Who are Luke, Nigel, Carrie and Sarah?
  6. Who was responsible for selling Sarah’s children, and why?
  7. What game to Dana and Kevin see the slave children playing?
  8. Why does Weylin whip Dana? What happens as a result?
  9. What has happened to Kevin while Dana was away? Where is Margaret and what happened to her?
  10. What has happened to Luke, Nigel and Carrie while Dana was away?
  11. What happens to Isaac and Alice?
  12. What does Tess reveal to Dana? What does Dana do as a result? And what happens to her?
  13. Who looks after Dana? What happens to Liza, the sewing woman?
  14. When Dana sees Kevin again, how has he changed? How does Alice feel about his return?
  15. How does Rufus react when he discovers Kevin has returned? What happens as a result?

American Literature Assignment 5

In a minimum of three well-developed paragraphs, explain how Lorraine Hansberry and Octavia Butler respectively use the literary elements of plot development, character development, motif and/or symbolism to support a theme and provide the reader with specific insights into human behavior.

No Works Cited Sheet is necessary, but please include parenthetical citations with page numbers every time you paraphrase, summarize, or directly quote a piece of literature.

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