Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward Assignment
(Have to answer all 3 questions each has to be 500 words)
1. The novel is told from multiple characters’ points of view: Jojo, Leonie, and now Richie. Why do you think Ward chose to tell the story from these voices, and why do you think the other characters don’t serve as narrators: Mam, Pop, and Michael, for example?
2. When Mam insists that Leonie help her die, to “Let me leave with something of myself” (page 216), what makes Leonie hesitate? Why does she wish for Given to be there at that moment?
3. begin by reading Sheri-Marie Harrison’s article “New Black Gothic,” which was published in the Los Angeles Review of Books in 2018 https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/new-black-gothic/#!
Once you’ve read it, view the music video for “This Is America” by Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, which is referenced in Harrison’s article along with Sing, Unburied, Sing, and the film Get Out (2017) as an example of this “New Black Gothic.”
CONTENT WARNING: This music video contains sudden and intentionally disturbing instances of gun violence.
Glover, D. (May 5, 2018). Childish Gambino – This is America. Retrieved from YouTube.
In light of Harrison’s article (and, perhaps, my notes on the Gothic), respond to the ways in which “the Gothic” as a genre appears in Sing, Unburied, Sing, answering all three of the following questions. You can feel free to discuss the ending of the novel as evidence of the Gothic if you like.
Why might so many 21st century Black artists be reaching for Gothic tropes, such as ghosts, ancestral curses, and the like to illuminate the African American experience?
Do you agree with Harrison’s assessment that Sing, Unburied, Sing is a Gothic novel? Why or why not?
Can you think of any media Harrison hasn’t mentioned in her article (music, TV, films, novels, etc.) that might also be categorized as “New Black Gothic?”