Selected Poems

Discuss why selected poems by Gwendolyn Brooks (p.326-343) represent the literary tradition of realism, naturalism, and/or modernism. Review p. 103 to  the end of the first paragraph on p. 104 (“POETRY”) in Norton as well as the introduction to Brooks on p. 324-325 to support your discussion. Also, select 1-2 poems that best represents your position. 

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  1. To what extent do the historical allusions in Malcolm X’s autobiography support his assertions about the education system of the United States?

  2. How do you interpret Etheridge Knight’s assertion that “life and art cannot be separated”? Identify passages in the anthology selections of his poetry that illustrate this contention.

  3. To what extent does Knight’s poetry deploy conventions of black vernacular orality?

  4. What implicit definition of Black Nationalism emerges in Dutchman by Amiri Baraka?

  5. What rhetorical devices does Toni Cade Bambara use to expose sociopolitical hypocrisies in U.S. systems constructed or endorsed by white supremacy and capitalism?

  6. What does James Alan McPherson’s “Problems of Art” reveal about white attitudes toward blacks? About black attitudes toward whites? What techniques does McPherson use to force the reader to confront his/her own attitudes?

  7. Examine work by Baraka, Cleaver, Bullins and Neal and consider the role prescribed for females by these writers. Now, read texts by Jordan, Sanchez, Bambara, and Lorde and look for areas of agreement and disagreement.

  8. Consider violence in Black Arts-era writing (you might think about Baraka’s Slave Ship, Bullins’s Clara’s Ole Man, and Henderson’s “Keep on Pushing”). Is violence a tool for liberation? A trap into which black characters fall again and again?

  9. Using the manifestoes by James Stewart, Larry Neal, and Haki Madhubuti, draft a short statement of the guiding principles of the Black Arts movement and name one work that seems to embody those principles in terms of both form and content.

  10. According to Cortez, what is the role of the artist in the black community?

  11. What images or phrases in Nikki Giovanni’s poetry can be argued as expressing a militant disposition?

12. Discuss the effect of listening to “Black Art” by Amiri Baraka set to jazz rhythms and compare/contrast Baraka’s writing style to other poets you’ve read this semester.

13. Would you consider him a modernist poet (in the true sense of that literary tradition)? Why/why not?

14. Read in Norton the introduction to two or more Black Arts poets that we viewed in class, and discuss why those poets exemplify Neal’s definition of “Black Art.”  

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Practitioners Guide To Ethical Decision Making

Using the  “Practitioners Guide to Ethical Decision Making”, describe each step of the ethical decision making process in your own words. Please do not just reiterate what is given in the document, but rather provide your interpretation of it. 

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Cathedral By Raymond Carver

develop a response to the following:

  • Identify the point of view used in the narration of the story. 
  • Provide a specific example from the story to illustrate your argument. 
  • Discuss how this perspective affects your reading and interpretation of the story. 
  • Consider how a different type of narration might alter the effect of the story.  

Point of view refers to the perspective from which the story is narrated. 

  • First person: In first person, the story is told from the perspective of the narrator, using first-person pronouns. (“We are driving off the bridge!” I screamed.)
  • Second person: This is not commonly used. In second person, the narrator addresses the reader as “you,” which gives the audience the feeling that they are a part of the story. (Example: As you drive off the bridge, you scream, but no one hears you.)
  • Third person: The story is told using third-person pronouns (“The car is driving off the bridge!” he shouted), and the narrator is either godlike in the ability to see and know everything (third-person omniscient) or not all-knowing with knowledge limited to the perspective of only one character (third-person limited). 


Remember to provide evidence for your claims in the form of quoted passages from the story. Quotations, paraphrases, and summaries should be cited according to APA rules of style, including in-text and reference citations. Quoted material should not exceed 25% of the document.

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