The American Dream

Literature of Black American I ENGL 235
Fall 2018 Dr. Robert Cataliotti Course Paper Capstone Assignment
The paper is due on Saturday, December 1, 2018
It must be typed/double-spaced. The length should be about four – five (4-5) pages. It should be submitted to the Turnitin link on the Course Assignments tab.
The Capstone Assignment is worth 25% of the course grade (25/100 points).
This is an English course; therefore, the paper will be graded for both content and quality of writing, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, organization, etc. See the grading rubric in the course syllabus.
One half-letter grade per day will be deducted for each day the paper is late until the highest possible grade is “C.
The paper should be based upon the primary texts and your responses and analyses of them; however, you may (but do not have to) include a limited number of autobiographical, biographical or critical sources, including background and introductory sections in the Call & Response text. All sources must be listed in an MLA works cited page and all direct quotes must be documented using MLA parenthetical or in-text citations. Cite the work of each of the 4 authors separately as a work in an anthology. An MLA guide for paper format and documentation and a template for MLA papers is provided on the Assignments tab.
Plagiarism. A word of warning! These topics are about things that are unique to this course, such as your interpretations, your group discussions, the PowerPoints, and my lectures. You DO NOT need to look to outside sources for the content. And if you copy information from an Internet source, such as Sparknotes, etc., Turnitin will tell me, and you will fail the paper for plagiarism.
This paper should be a unified essay with a clear thesis statement that addresses all four texts. Be sure to include transitions between your discussions of individual texts that relate back to the introductory thesis. Direct quotes must be used to support your position. A model outline is provided on the Assignments tab.
Your essay should include a total of four authors chosen from the list on the 2nd page. The topic should be chosen from one of the options listed below (Choose one). 1) The American Dream is a powerful myth that suggests that everyone can achieve success through hard work and determination. Yet, for many African American writers the myth is often hollow or and can even become a nightmare. The denial of possibility in a land that espouses possibility as a foundational principle often results in sense of rage. In a well-developed, unified essay with a clearly articulated thesis statement and specific examples (including direct quotes) identify and analyze how the reality of the American Dream is exposed and critiqued in the texts of four of the authors listed on the 2nd page. 2) In his landmark work The Souls of Black Folks (1903), W.E.B. DuBois examined a number of issues that related to black life in America. He identified the concept of double-consciousness: One ever feels his two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. Many African American authors have examined and illustrated the contradictory nature of being both black and American. In a well-developed, unified essay with a clearly articulated thesis statement and specific examples (including direct quotes) identify and analyze how double-consciousness is represented and explored in the texts of four of the authors listed on the 2nd page. 3) In her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston described the black woman as de mule of de world the mule of the worldas a way describing the double marginalization of African American women in terms of both race and gender. This issue has surfaced in the novels, short stories, poems and plays of many black writers throughout the evolution of the black literary tradition. In a well-developed, unified essay with a clearly articulated thesis statement and specific examples (including direct quotes) identify and analyze how this double marginalization of women is represented in the texts of four of the authors listed on the 2nd page. 4) Throughout their experience in America, African Americans have continuously engaged in the creative/expressive arts efforts to survive, resist and transcend American racism and re-member a connection to an African-based identity and heritage. In a well-developed, unified essay with a clearly articulated thesis statement and specific examples (including direct quotes) identify and analyze how this attempt to reconnect with Africa is represented in the texts of four of the authors listed on the 2nd page. Choose four (4) of the following authors to analyze based on one of the topics on the previous page:
Oral tradition spirituals (Go Down Moses, etc.; folk tales (tricksters, flying Africans, etc.)
Phillis Wheatley Richard Allen David Walker Benjamin Banneker Frederick Douglass Sojourner Truth Harriet Jacobs Sarah Parker Remond Frances E.W. Harper William Wells Brown
Charles W. Chestnut Paul Laurence Dunbar Alice Dunbar-Nelson Ida B. Wells Pauline E. Hopkins Booker T. Washington W.E.B. DuBois Sterling Brown Claude McKay Gwendolyn Bennett Alain Locke Langston Hughes Helene Johnson Zora Neale Hurston James Weldon Johnson
Nella Larsen Marcus Garvey

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