Perspectives in American Literature
Review the essay, “In Search of a Majority: An Address,” by Baldwin and the excerpt of the essay, “Is There an American Stock?” by Max Lerner. Should you choose to write your final from home, it should be no less than four typed, double-spaced pages. (More is fine, of course.) Should you decide to write it in class next week, it should be no less than six double-spaced bluebook pages.
Choose one author whose work we read in the second half of this semester and, using specific quotes from the text:
• explain how the work examines American identity, using concepts and terms from Baldwin and/or Lerner, and issues of identity in general,
• discuss how the work expands your understanding of the American vision,
• describe the themes the author explores and the literary strategies (symbolism, metaphor, imagery, etc.) the author uses to explore them, and
• consider the ways in which the work reflects the zeitgeist, “spirit of the times” in which it was produced or published as well as its relevancy for today.
You may research others’ writings about the work to include in your essay, but cite your sources. Doing research is commendable and earns points; not giving credit for another’s ideas and statements where credit is due is plagiarism.
Feel free to email me with questions and requests for clarification as you are working on your essay.