Essay Two (200 points)
*(final draft due: 11/20)*
Directions: Write a well organized, carefully edited/formatted essay of approximately 1500 words, in response to one of the below prompts:
At the end of the The Awakening, Edna’s “sense of reality had gone out of her life; she had abandoned herself to Fate, and awaited the consequences with indifference.” Is Edna’s final decision to walk into the water of Grand Isle a matter of free-will, fate, or something else? Write an essay that carefully explains your opinion, giving a thorough examination of the factors/conditions that lead to her death. Be sure to use concepts from Chapter 6 of Tyson, if you choose this option.
Use concepts from Chapter 7 of Tyson (on LGBTQ theory) to help you interpret some aspect of “Thanksgiving,” the episode of Master of None viewed in class (you may choose a different movie, television show, song lyric, cartoon, video game, or any other production of popular culture that you find interesting and that seems to lend itself to a lesbian, gay, or queer interpretation, but please run it by me first). For example, do gay or lesbian stereotypes or negative references to LGBTQ individuals appear in this cultural production? Is heterosexism, homophobia, or internalized homophobia represented in some way? If so, what does this production seem to be saying about these values? Based on your observations, what cultural work does your chosen cultural production do relevant to lesbian, gay, or queer theory? Specifically, what definitions of “normal” masculinity, “normal” femininity, and “normal” sexuality does it imply? Be sure to offer evidence from your chosen production to support your ideas.
Use concepts from Chapter 8 of Tyson (on African American theory) to help you interpret some aspect of Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif” (you may choose a movie, television show, song lyric, cartoon, video game, or any other production of popular culture that you find interesting and that seems to lend itself to an African American interpretation; just please run it by me first). For example, are people of color realistically portrayed in your chosen cultural production? Are elements of black American culture accurately represented and respected? Are racist stereotypes or negative references to people of color involved in this production? Do white standards of beauty seem to be operating in some way? Based on your observations, what cultural work does your chosen cultural production do relevant to African American theory? Specifically, what roles are played by race and racial issues in this cultural production? Does it seem to have racist elements, antiracist elements, or both? Be sure to offer evidence from your chosen production to support your ideas.
Using insights from Chapter 9 of Tyson, on postcolonial theory, write an essay that addresses one or a group of these questions: does this story positively portray cultural diversity, which includes diversity created by differences among individuals based on a combination of such cultural factors as gender, social class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and the like? Are subalterns realistically depicted, or are they stereotyped? Does this text represent, in some way, mimicry, othering, or unhomeliness? Based on your observations, what cultural work does your text do relevant to postcolonial theory? Specifically, how does it encourage us to respond to cultural diversity? Be sure to offer evidence from your chosen production to support your ideas. This option may be used with “Country Lovers,” “Everyday Use,” or The Awakening.
Key Things to Keep in Mind:
This bears repeating: editing is crucial. Any papers containing multiple errors with grammar and/or mechanics are unlikely to earn passing scores. Please make every effort to ensure that your work is edited and formatted according to current MLA guidelines, including a works cited page.
Be sure to outline your essay before you begin writing; outlines must be submitted with your final drafts. Your outline can be formatted however you like. I just need to see evidence that you gave some forethought to the structure and sequence of your paper.
Point distribution for this assignment:
Final draft: 150 points
Supporting materials (rough draft, outline): 50 points
Total: 200 points
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