FORMAT: 6-8 pages (including the WORKS CITED page, which should be at the end of your paper). When completed, the written text of your essay should be at least 6 typed, double-spaced pages long (please use a 12-point font, preferably Times New Roman, and strive for 1’’ margins all around). You should follow the MLA guidelines for formatting your essay and quoting from your chosen text.
ASSIGNMENT: This paper will be an exploration of Global South literature and/or film in the context of a theme of your choice. The objective of this paper is to encourage you to flex your critical voice. You may refer to the questions posted on Canvas for topic ideas or come up with one of your own. I do not want a summary or paraphrase of the story, but an analysis or interpretation of a particular idea or theme that interests you in the text that you have chosen to write on. Remember that your paper should be thesis-driven and to the point.
TEXTS: A Small Place (Kincaid)
Although it is not required, you may refer to secondary sources as well as the shorter readings/texts we have encountered in class.
Please keep in mind that you MAY NOT write your final paper or present on the topic that you choose for this assignment.
Listed below are some guidelines that will help you write a strong paper:
- Title: The title of your paper should be relevant and should shed light on your work.
- Central idea or thesis: The central idea or thesis is the controlling idea in your essay; it is the statement of what you will prove or discuss. Your thesis should be clearly stated in the introductory paragraph and should make a point that calls for support, which you will provide throughout the rest of your essay.
- Introductory paragraph: Your introductory paragraph should include 1) your thesis; 2) the name of the author and the title of the work you are writing about; 3) ideas or categories to be developed in subsequent paragraphs. The introductory paragraph should also grab or capture the reader and pull him or her into your writing.
- Body of the essay: Body paragraphs (or development paragraphs) should provide support for the central idea or thesis statement of your essay. Remember that your paragraphs must logically connect with each other and must be thematically linked to the preceding one. Also make sure that you have smooth and effective transitions between paragraphs so that there is a sequence in your paper.
- Evidence or support: You should support your point of view with evidence. In this case, your evidence (or concrete support) will come directly from the text you have chosen to write on.
- Organization: Strong organization should be applied both within paragraphs and in your essay as a whole. Your essay should be organized so as to reflect a logical and smooth development of the central idea. EACH PARAGRAPH IN YOUR ESSAY SHOULD BE AT LEAST 8-10 LINES LONG.
- Coherence: The ideas within paragraphs should flow into one another logically, without obvious bumps, shifts or gaps.
- Prose style: Finally, I will also be grading you for your prose style. Grammatical correctness, sentence style and clarity and grace of expression are all virtues of a well-written paper. Some tips: Avoid cliches. Avoid sentences that are wordy, awkward, ambiguous, or pretentiously formal. Try to communicate your ideas as clearly, crisply, and effectively as you can. Use the PRESENT TENSE when writing about literature. A strong essay will have only rare or isolated grammatical, spelling and usage mistakes.
Writing Prompt Week 4
Beauty’s Illusion – “A Small Place”
First, let me note that the required novel “A Small Place” by Jamaica Kincaid was phenomenal. I am debating whether to discuss it for my midterm or final paper. I just traveled to Montego Bay this summer for a week. I will say this; I do not consider myself a regular tourist at all because when I travel to different countries, I do my best to immerse myself in the culture and motifs of the country. I bond with the locals and spend my time getting to know their individual stories. I wasn’t telling a story in my introduction to that class; everything I do professionally, academically, and personally revolves around the idea of understanding and advancing the human condition. My trip to Montego Bay started as a tourist experience, but as I got to connect with the locals and break bread with them so I could hear their individual stories, my heart broke. Topics mentioned in the novel, oppression, domination, and exploitation for Jamaicans, were still a reality for most. I asked multiple times why the locals did not just leave the island. They laughed at me and said they barely had enough to cover their basic needs in Jamaica, let alone move to a foreign country. My heart broke again. I felt useless. I felt like the ugly tourist as described in the book. As I engaged in deeper conversation, I learned that Jamaicans’ unofficial language, patois, is something they are proud of and defines them because it breaks away from the conventional English language that was given by the English Brits that took over their land. Much like my South African experience, I learned that the Natives of Jamaica do not own much of the land. The comment about my ancestors having the ability to reach another location other than Antigua, Jamaica, hit me like a ton of bricks. Because of the truth that lies behind the statement.
I am an African American woman born and raised in the sunny hills of California, which ancestry is from Mother Africa and the slave trade. Why should Jamaicans suffer for the corrupt government that manages it and the barbaric invaders that so-called “colonized the land? I know I cannot cover all of my thoughts in this minimal summary, but there was a quote that seemed so small but spoke volumes about why corruption runs rampant in Antigua and throughout Jamaica. “In Antigua, money can buy power. It doesn’t matter if you don’t live in Antigua, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t like the Antiguan people.” (Chapter 3) The government is for sale; anyone with money can buy whatever they want. This quote speaks volumes because there is no law and order or bill of rights that sustains the island of Jamaica. The corrupt beget corruption.
“You will forget your part in the whole setup, that bureaucracy is one of your inventions, that Gross National Product is one of your inventions, and all the laws that you know mysteriously favor you” (Chapter 2.6)
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