Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin
Write the essay based on James Baldwin’s story “Sonny’s Blues” and using the tools of literary analysis at your disposal so far, to analyze either plot or narration/point of view in that story. That is, you will develop a literary argument based on what you see as the key interesting features of plot or narration/Point Of View in your story of choice.
1000 words minimum
An introduction, a conclusion, and several body paragraphs logically organized
Clear, arguable thesis
Paragraphs that mix summary, paraphrase, quotations, and analysis.
That is—avoid have paragraphs that are just facts, avoid paragraphs that are all inference (see Cooper and Patton, WLTC, p. 32-33. We will be practicing paragraphs like this in the discussion post due 10/5
Clear and effective sentences, correct grammar and spelling
Begin with a question that troubles you rather than a story that you feel you understand completely.
Don’t forget that your paragraphs should not just prove your point, but develop your argument. It should be complicated, not dumbed down.
Begin with notes, brainstorming, and freewriting to explore your ideas. Remember Ann Lamott’s idea of a “shitty first draft” (Cooper and Patton 9)? Try that out.
Avoid nailing down your thesis too soon. Let your thoughts run free until you hit on an idea that seems really interesting.
If you are stuck for an idea of where to begin, think about the “motives” Gordon Harvey suggests for literary essays
The truth isn’t what one would expect or what it might appear to be on the surface.
There’s an interesting wrinkle in the text—a paradox, a contradiction, a tension.
A seemingly tangential or insignificant matter is actually important or interesting.
Once you know what your main idea is, edit for focus and get rid of anything that doesn’t directly talk about your main point.
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