Monday, April 25, 2011

Junot Diaz

What kind of stories are those collected in Drown, if you had to place a "genre label" or other kind of descriptive label on them? Are they "coming of age" stories? "Stranger in a strange land" stories? Some other readily recognizable type?
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Phillis Wheatley

Of Wheatley's poems, which one did you like the best? Why? And which did you think demonstrated most strongly her autonomous will, her strength of beliefs, and perhaps her own individually articulated defense of the morality and humanity of African American people?

Louis Adamic

Given Adamic's political leanings as a teenager in Blato, what part of American democracy is so attractive to him and so lures him to the nation's shores? How/why does his political activism make him feel that American might be an appropriate new home for him? Other than political strife at home and the unrest he experiences, what other elemental life-factors inspire him to recognize that he must move to America?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The City and New Arrivals

Dunbar paints a pretty dismal picture of New York City in The Sport of the Gods. Might we attribute some of the problems that befall the Hamilton family to their status as "greenhorns," as most of the events we see happen in their first year in the city? Does Dunbar make a big deal out of the differences between huge megalopolises like New York City and other, more rural places? What problems in the text are particularly attributable to conditions that cities uniquely promote or enable?

Monday, April 4, 2011

W. E. B. DuBois

Based on your reading of excerpts from DuBois's The Souls of Black Folk, how does his philosophy regarding the uplift of African American people differ from Booker T. Washington's?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lily and other women

In your response to this prompt, I'd love to hear your assessment of the range of women Wharton presents in her novel. Who do we meet? What are they like? What features characterize each? For what were they trained or not "trained"?
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

House of Mirth

So far, you've read half of Wharton's House of Mirth. Given what you know of Lily so far, what or who would you say is chiefly responsible for Lily's various predicaments? What is the central problem she is facing and what kind of social commentary might Wharton be making via this presentaton if Lily?
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