All essays need to be 500 words and be well supported with textual evidence.

You will be graded on the following:

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1) your ability to come up with a thesis;

2) your ability to prove that thesis by using textual evidence;

3) your ability to use textual material smoothly (i.e. introducing quotes, explaining them, and showing HOW they prove your thesis);

4) your ability to organize your essay in climatic order (motivate your reader for the intro and provide your thesis and/or blueprint, use topic sentences for main points, transitions to link ideas and paragraphs, build to an exciting conclusion) ;

5) your ability to answer the question asked in sufficient detail and length (500 words); and

6) your ability to use the standard practices of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and MLA documentation.


Choose one of the following:

1. The setting is often very important in a story and can serve as a symbol or in some cases, as a kind of character. Using the short story, “Hills Like White Elephants” and “The A & P” formulate a thesis that argues why the Valley of the Ebro and the grocery story, A & P, play a major role in the meaning of the stories. How do those settings ultimately contribute to the themes of the stories? Use key words and phrases from the stories to serve as evidence. Create a coherent 500-word argument.

2. We have discussed how the codes of both femininity and masculinity have changed since the days of Hemingway. Using one work from the past that we’ve studied including poems and one piece from the current time (including video lectures, TV Shows, or other cultural evidence), provide a thesis that argues that these codes have either changed greatly, stayed the same, or changed slightly using literature and cultural artifact to back up your assertions in a coherent, argumentative 500-word essay.

3. In a 500-word essay, discuss how race functions as an obstacle to the American Dream in two of the following poems, “Let America Be America Again,” “I, Too,” “Harlem,” “The Incident,” “ Yet do I Marvel,” or “The Lynching.” Be sure to discuss whether or not you think the poet holds out hope for the future or if he sees this as a permanent barrier to success. Demonstrate your knowledge of the Harlem Renaissance and the cultural milieu. Provide evidence and support for your conclusions from the poems.

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