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Question 1

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The Woman Who Fell from the Sky by Joy Harjo

What imagery used by Harjo relates to her Native American ancestry?

Question 2

House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday (summary and analysis)

What are the themes and subjects of N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn?

Question 3

The Priest of the Sun by N. Scott Momaday

In this second section of Momaday’s House Made of Dawn, titled “The Priest of the Sun,” the central character finds himself attending a service of a “priest of the sun.” What is your interpretation of the priest’s sermon?

Question 4

Canon by Edward Quinn

How could one argue that American literature has always been multicultural? Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

Assignment 1

As described in your Week 1 readings, multicultural literature did not appear overnight. Its roots can be traced back to many writers working prior to the War of Independence and formation of the United States of America. This week focuses on contemporary Native American writers as well as writers associated with the origins of the Civil Rights Movement as way of introduction to this rich body of literature. In future weeks you will notice a variety of authors born both inside and outside the United States concluding with the Week 5 focus on transnational literature.

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Your Week 1 assignment focuses on the origins of multicultural literature.

Write a 350- to 700-word essay on the origins of multicultural literature.

Include the following in your essay:

  • A description of the origins of multicultural literature as a historical development.
  • A description of the contributions of contemporary Native American writers to multicultural literature.
  • A brief biography of one author from this list:
    • Ralph Ellison
    • Langston Hughes
    • Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins
    • W. E. B. Du Bois
  • A description of one of your selected author’s literary works; what is the subject?
  • An explanation as to why their work in general is considered foundational to the development of multicultural literature; specifically, discuss how their work explores themes of social justice.

Refer to your Week 1 readings and videos as resources for this assignment. If you would like to perform additional research, consider using the Bloom’s Literature, Literary Reference Center Plus, or Literary Resource Center databases. Links to these databases are available on your Week 1 Electronic Reserve Reading page.

Format your assignment according to appropriate course-level APA guidelines.

 

Question 5

Guinea Pig by Charles Johnson

Immediately, the narrator explains how much of an outsider he feels in the presence of Dr. Samantha Conner, the beautiful scientist who conducts an experiment that he is participating in to make some money. What are some things he mentions about himself and his studies that make him feel “other” and different from the researchers and Dr. Conner?

Question 6

Casualty Report by Ed Vega

What does the narrator communicate to the audience when he recalls being stationed in a pure, clean, American town, only to be driven to the town dump one night by a girl that he had idealized? Why, upon spotting the landfill, is he filled with rage?

Question 7

If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is? by James Baldwin

How does Baldwin defend the use of “Black language?”

Question 8

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

How is the work of James Baldwin, as represented in this excerpt from his essay, relevant in our time?

Assignment 2

Although not all of your Week 2 readings are directly affiliated with the Civil Rights Movement, many of the writers you have read this week engage with themes of resistance to the status quo. How did they do this? This week’s assignment is an opportunity to demonstrate understanding of the characteristics of Civil Rights-era multicultural literature.

Write a 700- to 1,050-word essay that includes discussion of the following:

  • A summative description of two works of multicultural literature produced during the Civil Rights era.
  • A description of the subjects or themes of each of your two selected works and how these themes are characteristic of Civil Rights-era multicultural literature.
  • How your authors employed strategies of resistance in their works; in other words, how did they challenge the status quo in their form, (where did they stage plays, for example) and in their establishment of identity that countered expected norms of behavior?

Refer to your Week 2 readings and videos as resources for this assignment. If you would like to perform additional research, consider using the Bloom’s Literature, Literary Reference Center Plus, or Literary Resource Center databases. Links to these databases are available on your Week 2 Electronic Reserve Reading page.

Format your assignment according to appropriate course-level APA guidelines.

 

Question 9

Primary Lessons by Judith Ortiz Colfer

Why does the narrator’s father want his children to speak “good English?”  What are the reasons that she says “I was a privileged child?”

Question 10

Evening in Paris by Denise Chavez

Did you find it sad that the narrator’s mother doesn’t respond to her daughter’s gift more enthusiastically?

Question 11

Black: Her Story by Jessica Hagedorn

Did the style of the piece work for you? Why might the author have resisted a traditional narrative to relate the story of the Filipino people?

Question 12

Stories from the Hem of Life: Contesting Marginality in Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye by Catherine Leen

According to the article, how did Cisneros and Morrison represent the experience of their respective protagonists?

Assignment 3

Many of our authors explore identity through fictionalized narratives of families and communities. For this week’s assignment demonstrate what you know about the characteristics of this era of multicultural literature, which roughly corresponds to the second wave of this literary genre. You also have the opportunity to write about your own cultural identity though a creative writing component of this assignment.

Write a 700- to 1,050-word essay that includes the following:

  • A brief biographical overview of one of this week’s authors (you can choose of the authors from questions 9-12)
  • A description of the subjects and themes employed by your selected author
  • A description of your own experience with cultural identity; remember the word culturecan encompass different aspects of your identity, such as your age (the generation you belong to, such as millennial, Gen-X or Baby Boomer), or being a student, to name two examples. Write about an experience associated with one or more aspects of your cultural identity. It is up to you to choose what to write.

Refer to your Week 3 readings and videos as resources for this assignment. If you would like to perform additional research, consider using the Bloom’s Literature, Literary Reference Center Plus, or Literary Resource Center databases. Links to these databases are available on your Week 3 Electronic Reserve Reading page.

Format your assignment according to appropriate course-level APA guidelines.

 

Question 13

The Normal Heart by Cassandra Kircher

How did the plot of The Normal Heart portray the spread of information about the AIDS epidemic?

Question 14

The Handmaid’s Tale from Introduction To Literary Context: American Post-Modernist Novels

How does Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale contend with the idea of patriarchy?

Question 15

The Tenant by Bharati Mukherjee

What are the main character’s hesitations in dating a man who shares her cultural background?

Question 16

Clean Room by Diana Abu-Jaber

Why does the narrator stop using the term “Indian,” once he starts dating Em?

Assignment 4

Your Week 4 authors encompass many types of experiences, from the new immigrant experience to the lives of the socioeconomic underclass of Boston’s Southside, to the work of AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer.

For your Week 4 assignment discuss how contemporary writers oppose the historical marginalization of their respective groups.

Create a 10- to 12-slide presentation with speaker notes that includes discussion of the following:

  • A brief biographical overview of two contemporary authors associated with historically marginalized groups
  • An examination of the themes and subjects of your two selected contemporary authors with discussion of specific works from each; how does their work oppose marginalization?
  • An examination of one to two groups that may be categorized as “marginal” and writers associated with these groups. Remember that non-fiction writers, such as bloggers and essayists, may be strongly represented in these groups.

Refer to your Week 4 readings and videos as resources for this assignment. If you would like to perform additional research, consider using the Bloom’s Literature, Literary Reference Center Plus, or Literary Resource Center databases. Links to these databases are available on your Week 4 Electronic Reserve Reading page.

Format your assignment according to appropriate course-level APA guidelines.

 

Question 17

Edison, New Jersey by Junot Diaz

Do you feel that his impulsive stealing in some of the homes to “even the score” is immature or completely understandable?  Why?

Question 18

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Guide to Literary Masters & Their Works, 1

How do the characters of Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus parallel her own experience with hybrid identity?

Question 19

Zadie Smith by Susan Butterworth

How does Smith’s work reflect the contemporary world in terms of its characters?

Question 20

Watch Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story,

And respond

Assignment 5

What is the value of multicultural literature? As you read the authors associated with this literary genre, you may have imagined living through the eyes of another. How is this important in today’s world?

Write a 700- to 1,050-word essay on the value of multicultural and transnational literature that includes the following:

  • A description of the value of studying multicultural and transnational literature
    • Discuss how it contributes to awareness and respect for diverse groups, and how this may contribute to your professional skill set.
  • An examination of the intersection of ethics with the study of multicultural and transnational literature
    • Discuss how representation and affirmation is an important aspect of multicultural study and how it may develop our respect for the perceptions and experiences of others.
  • A summary of the aspects of transnational literature
    • Discuss one author and their themes and subjects; do they use any unusual literary techniques?

Refer to your Week 5 readings and videos as resources for this assignment. If you would like to perform additional research, consider using the Bloom’s Literature, Literary Reference Center Plus, or Literary Resource Center databases. Links to these databases are available on your Week 5 Electronic Reserve Reading page.

Format your assignment according to appropriate course-level APA guidelines.

 

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