• You are not required to do outside research for this essay.
• If you do consult outside sources, these must be properly documented. This includes (but is not limited to):
o Both in-text and Works Cited documentation.
o Citations for quotes, paraphrases and ideas that you got from another source.
• Papers that are not properly documented automatically earn an F.
Assignment: CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.
• Choose ONE of the following poems. What portrait does the poem paint of America? To what extent is it an accurate view of the country? Is the poem patriotic? (Include your own definition of patriotism.) Why or why not?
o Phyllis Wheatley, “On Being Brought from Africa to America”
o Walt Whitman, “I Hear America Singing”
o Langston Hughes, “Let America Be America Again”
o e.e. cummings, “Next to of course god America I”
o Dorothy Parker, “Poem in the American Manner”
o Tato Riviera, “AmeRícan”
• David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross depicts the dog-eat-dog world of the American workplace. Evaluate this cutthroat environment. Using the play/film as a basis for your analysis, is the American Dream the cause of the harsh conditions faced by the salesmen? Why or why not? Should we consider this a negative side of the American Dream? Why or why not?
• In Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-first Century, Dorothy Roberts argues that race is a not a biological category. Why is race not a biological category? What is it, if not biological? What makes it real, even if it is not biological? How should we address racial disparities rather than seeing them as biological/medical?
• Using EITHER (not both) Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (chapters 1-3) or Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds,” develop an argument as to whether or not you can be anything you want in America. To what extent do the characters in the story have faith that they can reinvent themselves in America? What gives them this faith? To what extent do the fail/succeed? What accounts for their failure/success? What opportunities and/or constraints are there on how Americans create their lives?
o NOTE 1: Your paper should have a clear argument that runs throughout. Each point that you make should be related to this argument.
o NOTE 2: Remember to use (and explain!) quotes from the readings/films. Engage in a dialogue with the texts.
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