Our semester is ending in about five weeks, and you have one more paper to write
for this class. This assignment is fundamentally the same as the first essay assignment (due about a month ago). The one thing I ask is that you do a different topic
and/or a different story this time.
The essay is due on Tues., Dec. 12. (I think our syllabus says its due on Mon., Dec. 11th, but its okay to take one extra day.) Please try to make your essay at least five pages long. You can choose one of the topics below, or you can choose one of the topics from the first essay assignment (again, as long as it’s not the same topic you did the first time around). The pdf file describing the first essay assignment is still on the Blackboard site. Look under “course materials,” scroll down to the bottom of the page (after “week 16,” “week 17,” etc.), and look for the file called “Information about Your First Essay” (or something similar to that).
I know I’m repeating myself in annoying fashion here, but once more, you can
pick one of these (below), or you can go back to the first essay assignment and choose one of those. In other words, you can either write about a post-midterm story or a pre-midterm story.
In this essay you have to:
1. Explore the theme of self-discovery in James Baldwin’s remarkable “Sonny’s Blues.” Perhaps, in your paper, you could basically chart the development of the narrator. Where is he (psychologically speaking) in the beginning of the story? Where (again, psychologically or emotionally) does he end up? How does he get from point A to point Z? What role does the younger brother (Sonny) have in the narrator’s developmental journey? Baldwin’s story is an account of a reconciliation between two brothers from Harlem, but it’s also, in a sense, an account of the narrator’s reconciliation with his own self and his own black heritage. So . . . one way to approach this essay would be, once again, to explain the ways in which the narrator is “divorced” (so to speak) from his brother and his heritage in the beginning, and the ways in which he grows more and more connected to his brother and his African American-ness by the story’s end.