Essay Prompt on Hughes

Topics: Literary theory, Critical theory, Literature Pages: 2 (361 words) Published: July 17, 2013
Write a 4 to 6 page paper in which you consider two poems by Langston Hughes, providing commentary on the poems’ meanings. What overall theme do both poems relate? How do they relate the theme? What literary devices does Hughes employ? Is Hughes making a statement about society, himself, or people in general? What is that statement? What critical theory works best in looking at the poem (historicist, Marxist, reader-response, etc)?

Your paper will have the following:

A clear thesis statement
At least three secondary sources
At least one applied Critical Theory
Proper MLA format
Primary and secondary source quotes

Remember, for your thesis statement be specific. Don’t just write that the stories use religious symbolism; describe the religious symbolism. Write how the theme is delivered, not just what it is; what major event in the story leads to the theme being revealed? A good thesis statement should look something like:

In “Bullet in the Brain,” Tobias Wolff uses symbolism in the flashback to a childhood baseball game and characterization of Anders as a cynical critic of life to reveal that it is only in our appreciation for the unexpected that life has meaning, a lesson Anders learns at the moment he is shot in the head.

You can then use the next sentence to mention the Critical Perspective you will use:

Formalist Criticism enhances the reader’s understanding of Wolff’s theme that the beauty of life is in our appreciation of its purity, which is made clear by focusing on the text and its literary elements.

Secondary Sources
Your secondary sources should supplement your main points; in other words, use them to make your point of view more persuasive. Do not use them to make your argument for you or to simply make your paper longer. Use them in conjunction with your main points to form a well considered thesis and supporting statements and examples.

The structure of the paper is up to you. However, you may...
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