For this essay, you’ll be working with both a primary text and a variety of secondary texts (critical articles or book chapters analyzing an aspect of your chosen text and/or its historical, cultural, or political context).
Step One: Decide on a text and a topic. Your primary text can be any of the following texts we’ve read this semester:
Belinda Sutton, “Petition to the Massachusetts General Court” (1783)
David Walker, excerpts from Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1829)
Frederick Douglass, “Oration on the Unveiling of the Freedmen’s Monument” (1876)
James Baldwin, “The Creative Process” (1962)
Audre Lorde, “Poetry is Not a Luxury” (1977)
Paule Marshall, “From the Poets in the Kitchen” (1983)
Toni Morrison, “Peril” (2019)
After you’ve chosen a text, choose a topic. This can be anything: a theme, an aspect of historical or social context, the author’s biography, etc. that you find interesting in your text, so long as you can find adequate critical context on this issue.
Step Two: Use the RBC library databases and/or Google Scholar to find scholarly sources (chapters in books published by academic presses, articles in peer-reviewed journals) that relate to your topic. You will need to choose 3 sources.
Step Three: Read your sources, then write an essay that sums up and engages your findings. Format your essay according to these guidelines.
Introduction: Establish the parameters of your topic. What text did you choose? What do the articles have in common? What issues and ideas do they discuss, and why are they important? What’s at stake in the consideration of this topic, and to whom? (This should be 2-3 paragraphs long)
Source 1: Summarize your first article or chapter. Identify the author and article title, and state the main points and purpose of the text. Make sure you’re describing what the author is arguing and the types of evidence they use in order to make their claims. (1-2 well-developed paragraphs)
Source 2: Summarize your second article or chapter. Identify the author and article title, and state the main points and purpose of the text. Make sure you’re describing what the author is arguing and the types of evidence they use in order to make their claims (1-2 well-developed paragraphs)
Source 3: Summarize your second article or chapter. Identify the author and article title, and state the main points and purpose of the text. Make sure you’re describing what the author is arguing and the types of evidence they use in order to make their claims (1-2 well-developed paragraphs)
Conversation: Analyze the overall effects of these sources’ arguments. What, when taken together, do they lead you to conclude about the topic? What resolution(s)/development(s) do you see emerging after reviewing these arguments? What kind of specific evidence do you see in your primary text that guides you to either accept or reject a critic’s reading? (This should be at least 4-5 paragraphs)
Style Guidelines: Use MLA style guidelines to format in-text citations and compose a works cited section.
For a detailed overview of the unit 3 essay, watch this video of the zoom lecture/discussion about the essay.
To watch the video, enter passcode: q=r7%3e6
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