For this essay, you will choose one of the following pairs of texts and write a 4-6 page comparative analysis:
• The film Get Out and Ralph Ellison’s short story “Battle Royal”
• Countee Cullen’s poem “Incident” and Natasha Trethewey’s poem “Incident”
• Billie Holliday’s song “Strange Fruit” and Kendrick Lamar’s song “Alright”
• Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade and Kate Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour”
• Beyoncé’s song “Freedom” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”
The purpose of writing a comparative analysis is to use one text to gain insight into or offer a new interpretation of another. Therefore, you will focus primarily on one text and use the other to make comparisons. Refer to the section in AAL on writing comparative essays for more information.
For this essay, you will want to focus on one or two aspects of the texts you choose in order to write a thorough, well-developed analysis. For example, you could discuss the representations of black men, particularly the perceived function of their bodies, or the role of white women in relation to the protagonists in Get Out and “Battle Royal”; compare the depictions of racism in both of the poems titled “Incident”; focus on the symbolism of the plight of African Americans in “Strange Fruit” and “Alright”; analyze the female protagonists’ views of marriage in Lemonade and “The Story of an Hour”; or examine the confinement and liberation of the female mind in “Freedom” and “The Yellow Wallpaper.” This list represents a few of the limitless options for exploration of these texts. Choose an idea that you find compelling, but make sure your finished essay is a focused and thorough examination of one major aspect of one of the texts you chose.
For more information and inspiration regarding how to analyze your chosen texts, refer to “Using Topics of Literary Studies to Get Ideas” (AAL 102-103), the appropriate section(s) in the chapter “Writing about Literary Genres” (AAL 149-206), and “Contemporary Schools of Criticism” (AAL 270-276). These sections in your textbook can help you find an appropriate lens for examining your chosen texts, as well as equipping you with the appropriate terminology for writing a comparative analysis of literature.
You will need a properly formatted Works Cited page and in-text citations for the texts you choose. Conducting outside research is not a requirement for this assignment, but you can include other sources as long as you cite them properly.
Before you begin drafting, you should make an outline that clearly states your thesis (i.e. your claim regarding the connection between the two texts you chose) and your support for that claim. Use the outline as you begin drafting.
As you draft and revise your essay, refer to this assignment sheet and the accompanying rubric. In addition, keep the following requirements in mind:
–do not use second (you) person
–avoid harsh or emotionally loaded language
–outside research is not a requirement for this essay, but can be used if properly documented in MLA format
–strive to present information in an interesting, organized way
–include plenty of detailed support (references to texts)
–avoid mechanical errors
Wednesday March 14 Peer Review: bring typed copy of rough draft to class. If you do not have a rough draft of your essay, or if you arrive after peer review groups have been establish that day, you cannot participate and will receive a grade of zero. 20 points
Monday March 26 Essay Due: bring typed copy of final draft to class and upload to Blackboard. Failure to submit a typed copy in-class on the due date will result in a 20 point grade reduction. Failure to submit a copy to Blackboard will result in the essay not being graded and receiving a grade of zero.
Essays may be submitted late, but they will be penalized one letter grade (20 points) per day. The other penalty is the missed opportunity to revise using my feedback. The late essay(s) should be submitted to the appropriate area in Blackboard. Late essays will not be accepted more than five days after the due date. Essays that do not fall between four and six pages in length will be penalized a percentage according to how much over or short they are.