LAVC Jazz as A Mode of Healing Experiencing Pain and Suffering Essay

You can pick one of the topics below I believe it’s an literary analysis

I want you to write an essay on a topic that draws your interest. I’m hoping one of the topics below does exactly that. These are prompts. I’m emphasizing this because I want you to use them as “jumping off” points rather than finite ideas that confine your writing and thinking about the literature. Papers are due June 3rd. Your papers should be 5-6 pages, double-spaced with 12-point font. Please make an argument that is compelling; that states more than what is obvious; and that engages the text critically. Remember: these are prompts that are meant to ignite your own analytical and creative ideas. Be specific and thoroughly engaging in your responses to them.

You have three different essay choices. Please write on one of the following:

1. Black and/or American?: The exploration of racial identity is a major topic in the fiction of the Harlem Renaissance that we have read this semester and it is a major focus in literature of African Americans, in general. Consider how poets from this era approach this idea (use two poems from this era and compare/contrast them).

Write about one of the following:

  • the artist and his/her relationship to Africa
  • forming a hybridized identity – both Black and American

Below are a couple of pairings that I think work to address each iteration of the topic, but of course you are welcome to come up with your own:

Artist and Relationship to Africa

Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and Cullen, “Heritage” or

Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and Bennett, “Heritage”

Hybridized Identity

Hughes, “I, Too” and McKay, “America” or

Hughes, “Afro American Fragment” and Hughes, “I, Too”

Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” and Alain Lock, “The New Negro” (note these are prose pieces, not poems but they are fine for this topic)

2. “Sonny’s Blues” explores the fragmented relationship between two brothers. Analyze this issues that result in this fracture and the attempt at healing that is made through music.

Think about:

  • the ways that the two brothers deal with pain/suffering
  • the importance of jazz/blues in expressing suffering and promoting healing

3. Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sunexplores many themes that are relevant to African Americans in the 1950s. Choose one of the following and illustrate the stance that you believe Hansberry is taking on the following ideas:

  • African Americans and their relationship to Africa
  • Feminist ideology through the women characters in the text
  • Generational differences between the characters and their motivations and desires
  • Walter’s maturation in process in the text.

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