Prompt: Choose a question below and write a 4-page essay in which you answer the question with evidence from at least three passages of the novel and two passages from a secondary source (Werrlein’s essay, Cottom’s essay, Morrison’s foreword to her novel or the movie Imitation of Life). You are welcome to come up with your own topic, or find your own secondary source (s) but you need to clear it with me first.
I know including secondary evidence in a literary essay is a new skill for many of you, but think about it like the essays you wrote in English 100 — it is a chance to add another voice to your paper. So, you can use the secondary source to support your argument, to add an interesting perspective or you can argue against that secondary source and say that they are wrong. (For instance: Professor Werrlein argues X, but she misses Y. Or, Morrison argues X, and shows this in the way she develops theme Y). The evidence can go anywhere in the paper, but it would probably be smart to re-look at Werrlein’s essay, as she does a great job of integrating evidence to support her own ideas. If you are stuck, we can always discuss it in our conference.
How are men affected by racism in this novel?
How are women affected by racism in this novel?
How are children affected by racism in this novel?
Are the children in this novel innocent? Why or why not?
What effect do images of white beauty have on black female identity?
What effect do images of white beauty have on black male identity/desire?
Is Pecola really ugly, or is she just treated like she is? Why does she want blue eyes?
Why did Cholly rape Pecola? And what does your answer tell us about her community?
What is the role of family, house and home in these communities? What does it have to do with Dick and Jane readers?
What does it take to be a successful parent in this novel? Can Pecola’s parents’ defects be explained by their history or do they share some responsibility in her outcome?
What does the metaphor of “seeds” mean in this novel? Why is the earth hostile to them?
Is Pecola a Jesus-like figure? Was she sacrificed by her community so that they could endure the horrors living in a deeply racist country?
Come up with your own question and answer it.
Papers must be typed, double-spaced, and in 12-point New Times Roman font.
You must include your full name and course number on the upper right hand corner of each page and number your page.
We will be using the MLA (Modern Language Association) documentation style (8th Edition) for our citation and bibliographical system. If your MLA skills are rusty, please check out this website (Links to an external site.). Also see the poetry-specific tips below.
Papers must be near perfect in their grammar and spelling. This is a composition class, not a basic skills class. If you feel you need support in the mechanics of Standard American English please check out these resources.
Extensions will be given at my discretion. However, rough drafts will not be read after the due date or without participating in peer review.