Choose one of the following topics and present a well-written and clearly-argued response with the following elements:

1. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
2. Interpreter of Maladies by Jumpha Lahiri (at least two stories)
3. Two poems from Morning in the Burning House or two stories from Chinua Achebe’s Girls at War

ASSIGNMENT:
Choose one of the following topics and present a well-written and clearly-argued response with the following elements:
• a debatable thesis in the first paragraph
• topic sentences that relate to and advance your thesis
• well-chosen quotes as evidence in the body paragraphs and close and compelling analysis of them
• a succinct eye-opening conclusion.

 

TOPICS:
1. Motherhood, Girlhood, and Womanhood: Subordinated or Empowered: Each book/story features girls and/or women struggling in some way: with their identity, their sexuality, with their motherhood, or their being a daughter or young girl, or a girlfriend or wife. What do the authors have to say about oppressed or immigrant mothers or women? What particular challenges do they face? What role do men play in these stories or books? How do these women (young or old, married or single) find their way? What roads, routes, rebellions do they use or resort to? Feel free to ask any questions relating to womanhood or motherhood in the works. These are just to get your juices flowing.
2. Huts, Homes, Haunts, and Hubs, or, Contemplating Inner and Outer Worlds: These books treat—explicitly and implicitly—the realm of the home (or apartment), space, place, and/or domesticity. Explore the interiors in the books—interiors of houses, apartments, or specific rooms such as a kitchen or living room—and/or exterior spaces in the books (place, space, nature, cities, walkways, etc). What characterizes interior spaces? How are they different from or similar to the outside world? What happens in these spaces that is unique to the interior? How does an interior space mirror one’s own personal, emotional or psychological interior? Are the inside worlds you choose to address positive or negative spaces? Do they positively affect or negatively impact their inhabitants? These questions can lead you on an exploration of domesticity (or the home/apartment) and its upsides or downsides. Or, you can focus on external environments, and where they lead various characters or individuals. The conclusion you draw will be your own; there is no right or wrong answer.
3. The “Alien Experience”: Immigrants, Ostracism, and/or Assimilation:
Chinua Achebe wrote in his book Home and Exile the following words:

Well, it is not true that my history is only in my heart; it is indeed there, but it is also in that dusty road in my town, and in every villager, living and dead, who has ever walked on it. It is in my country too; in my continent and, yes, in the world. That dusty little road is my link to all the other destinations.

He also described his and his family’s experience in the U.S. when they first immigrated here “an alien experience.” What does this phrase and this quotation mean to you in the context of Achebe (choose stories from Girls at War), Danticat, and Lahiri, all of whom were (at one point or another) immigrants to the U. S. What is the immigrant experience like for Danticat and Lahiri as it comes through in their works, or for Africans under British rule/colonialism in Achebe?
REQUIREMENTS:

1. This paper should be 4 full pages minimum and 6 full pages maximum (6-8 pages if you are HONORIZING) and should follow all regular formatting outlined in class and in the syllabus. That is, please use one-inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman font, staple in upper left, number in upper right, and set up name, etc., in top left corner. Please do not forget to title your paper.

2. A minimum of 6 quotations: 2 from each book. Cite them in the text with parentheses and page number like this: (Achebe, 20). You only need cite the author’s last name at the first quote. Be sure to use at least two stories from Lahiri’s book and two stories or two poems from Achebe or Atwood.

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