Research Papers on African-American Literature

Click on any of the term papers to read a brief synopsis of the research paper. The essay synopsis includes the number of pages and sources cited in the paper.

  • 'Over There, World War II,' and 'I Sing, Too, America' by Langston Hughes

    An 8 page research paper/essay that analyzes two of Hughes poems, "I, too, Sing America" and "Over there, World War II." First, the writer gives a brief biography of the poet, then discusses critical opinion of his work, and then, critically analyzes these two poems. The writer demonstrates how the political content of these poems was aimed at both a black and white audience. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Psychological Theory and 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' by Maya Angelou

    3 pages in length. Cultivating such intestinal fortitude after growing up surrounded by fear, self-loathing, sexual abuse and a sense of abandonment, Maya Angelou proved how one can rally back amidst what may otherwise be a lost and troublesome existence. Examining her remarkable path from an awkward and insecure childhood to a poised and self-assured adulthood, one may well attribute much of this progression to John Dewey's Progressivism Theory. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

  • 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' by Langston Hughes

    A 5 page essay that explicates the many layers of meaning in this poem by Hughes. The writer argues that this poem presents a vision of African American culture and life that was totally different from the one that existed at the time of the poem's publication (the 1920s). No additional sources cited.

  • DOUBLE STANDARD BY ELLEN WATKINS HARPER

    This 3-page paper discusses how Ellen Watkins Harper's poem "The Double Standard" explores the relationship between the sexes during the 19th century.

  • 'Move' by Lucille Clifton

    A 4 page explication of Clifton's poem "Move," which was written to commemorate the bombing of Philadelphia Afro-centric movement in Philadelphia in 1985. The writer argues that Clifton's poem is an indictment against the black mayor of Philadelphia at that time for authorizing the attack. No additional sources cited.

  • Langston Hughes/Critical Response to 2 Poems

    A 9 page research paper that discusses 2 poems by Langston Hughes (1902-1967), who has been termed the “Shakespeare of Harlem,” as he is credited with some of the finest poetry to emerge from that “great flowering of African-American literature known as the Harlem Renaissance” (Sundquist 55). Two of his poems, “Harlem,” which is also known under the title “Dream Deferred,” and “I, Too, Sing America” exemplify the radical protest spirit that characterizes a great deal of Hughes’ verse. Bibliography lists 9 sources.

  • 'Blackberry Sweet' by Dudley Randall

    A 3 page essay that explicates this seduction poem by Dudley Randall. Also known as "Black Magic," this poem concerns Randall's description of a black girl's beauty and the effect that this has on the poet. No additional sources cited.

  • 'Cross' by Langston Hughes

    A 3 page essay that explicates Langston Hughes' poem "Cross," which refers to the "cross" that the narrator has to bear, which is his mixed-race heritage. Due to this heritage, the narrator of the poem feels that he has no cultural "home," as he does not fit with either white or black society. Unlike current society in which mixed-raced individuals, such as golfer Tiger Woods, are regarded simply as "people," in the first half of the twentieth century, which is when this poem was composed, this was not the case. No additional sources cited.

  • Maya Angelou/Phenomenal Woman

    A 4 page essay that offers an explication and analysis of this poem. Throughout the course of human history, men haven been primarily admired for their accomplishments, but the focus of admiration for women has been on whether or not their appearance fit with what a particular society considered beautiful. In her poem "Phenomenal Woman," Maya Angelou challenges this pervasive cultural feature and asserts that she is extraordinary and immensely attractive, without fitting within any of society's preconceived notions of how female beauty and attractiveness should be defined and conceptualized. No additional sources cited.

  • Langston Hughes, An Overview

    A 5 page essay that offers background on the biography of Langston Hughes and then discussion of five of his poems: "Bad Man," "Cross," "Let American be America Again," "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and "Silhouette." Bibliography lists these poems and 2 additional sources.

  • 'Over There, World War II,' and 'I Sing, Too, America' by Langston Hughes

    An 8 page research paper/essay that analyzes two of Hughes poems, "I, too, Sing America" and "Over there, World War II." First, the writer gives a brief biography of the poet, then discusses critical opinion of his work, and then, critically analyzes these two poems. The writer demonstrates how the political content of these poems was aimed at both a black and white audience. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' by Langston Hughes

    A 5 page essay that explicates the many layers of meaning in this poem by Hughes. The writer argues that this poem presents a vision of African American culture and life that was totally different from the one that existed at the time of the poem's publication (the 1920s). No additional sources cited.

  • DOUBLE STANDARD BY ELLEN WATKINS HARPER

    This 3-page paper discusses how Ellen Watkins Harper's poem "The Double Standard" explores the relationship between the sexes during the 19th century.

  • Maya Angelou/Phenomenal Woman

    A 4 page essay that offers an explication and analysis of this poem. Throughout the course of human history, men haven been primarily admired for their accomplishments, but the focus of admiration for women has been on whether or not their appearance fit with what a particular society considered beautiful. In her poem "Phenomenal Woman," Maya Angelou challenges this pervasive cultural feature and asserts that she is extraordinary and immensely attractive, without fitting within any of society's preconceived notions of how female beauty and attractiveness should be defined and conceptualized. No additional sources cited.

  • Langston Hughes, An Overview

    A 5 page essay that offers background on the biography of Langston Hughes and then discussion of five of his poems: "Bad Man," "Cross," "Let American be America Again," "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and "Silhouette." Bibliography lists these poems and 2 additional sources.

  • 'Weary Blues' by Langston Hughes

    A 5 page research paper that examines Hughes' poem "The Weary Blues. The writer argues that Hughes attempted to convey an understanding of blues values through his verse to the wider modern world. Bibliography lists 4 sources.

  • 'Black Magic' by Dudley Randall

    A 3 page essay that explicates "Black Magic" by Dudley Randall, which is also known by the title "Blackberry Sweet." The writer argues that this homage to the beauty of a young black woman is in the tradition of English seduction poems. No additional source cited.

  • Nature Imagery in the Works of Zora Neale Hurston and William Wordsworth

    A 3 page paper which discusses the nature imagery as presented in Wordsworth's poem "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" and Nora Zeale Hurston's novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God." Bibliography lists 2 additional sources.

  • Countee Cullen's 'Heritage' and African American Ancestry Perceptions

    A 5 page paper that examines early twentieth-century poet Countee Cullen's perception of his African-American ancestry as expressed in his poem "Heritage". Discussed are the conflicts and contradictions Cullen found in this perception and the factors and emotions that contributed to these conflicts. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • Langston Hughes' Blues Poetry

    In five pages this paper examines the interplay between rhythm, metaphor, and imagery in five of Langston’s blues poems: “The Weary Blues,” “Young Gal’s Blues,” “Dream Boogie,” “Listen Here Blues,” and “Ballad of the Landlord.” Six sources are listed in the bibliography.

  • Analyzing 'We Wear the Mask' and 'Accountability' by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    A 5 page paper analysis of the tone, style and subject matter of two seemingly dissimilar poems. No additional sources are used.

  • Maya Angelou/Caged Bird

    A 4 page essay that discusses aspects of Angelou's autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The first section of this report discusses the significance of this title, which is taken from a poem by Paul Dunbar. The second half offers a detailed description of Angelou's family tree, drawing description of each member of her family from the text. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

  • Shange/For Colored Girls…

    A 4 page essay that consists of 4 short answers to specific questions on Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf.” No additional sources cited.

  • Spiritual Emptiness in The Rocking Horse Winner, by D.H. Lawrence and A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor

    A 6 page paper which examines how each story explores the theme of spiritual emptiness. Bibliography lists 11 sources.

  • Past and its Importance in Black Culture and Black Consciousness Afro American Folk Thought From Slavery to Freedom by Lawrence W. Levine

    An 8 page paper which examines how the African-American present culture is influenced by the past, with particular emphasis on the chapters “The Rise of Secular Song” and “A Pantheon of Heroes.” No additional sources are used.

  • Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison

    A 4 page book review that summarizes and analyzes the points made by Toni Morrison in her text Playing in the Dark, which deals with the traditions of American literature. Morrison begins her exploration of the literary imagination by voicing her intention to "draw a map...a critical geography" than what is typically presented in American literature (Morrison 3). This "map" is laid out in three sections that build upon each other, revealing a landscape in American literature that is largely unexplored and indicative of African Americans abiding influence on all things considered to be "American." No additional sources cited.

  • Analysis of Literary and Film Versions of The Color Purple

    A 5 page paper which examines how a literary work will manifest itself in a very different way when put into film. The novel/film discussed is “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, film directed by Steven Spielberg. No additional sources cited.

  • A Review of of Beloved by Toni Morrison

    A 5 page paper which discusses how Toni Morrison's "Beloved" presents us with the ghost of Beloved as a symbol of individual history and the collective history of a people. Bibliography lists 1 additional source.

  • Literary Portrayals of Blacks in Works by Eldridge Cleaver, Amiri Baraka, and Zora Neale Hurston

    A 3 page paper which examines how Hurston’s concerns about the representation of blacks in literature in her essay, “What White Publishers Won’t Print” differs from the concerns of Black Arts Movement writers Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Eldridge Cleaver. These African-American authors beliefs about black arts and literature should be are compared and contrasted. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • Black Boy by Richard Wright and History

    A 3 page paper which examines some of the key historical points made within Richard Wright’s novel “Black Boy.” No additional sources cited.

  • Literary Image of Mulattos

    A 4 page paper which examines the Mulatto image presented in “Plum Bun” by Jessie Fauset and “Quicksand” by Nella Larsen. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • Singing the Song of the People in African American Literature

    A five-page critical analysis on the state of African-American literature, with an emphasis on poetry. Includes an overview of black poetry from Phillis Wheatley through James Weldon Jonson, Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou to the cutting-edge poets like the Last Poets and rap artists, detailing how they present the condition of African-Americans and how they deal with discrimination. Cites five sources.

  • Literary Considerations of Greed

    This 5 page paper looks at Willy Loman of Miller's Death of a Salesman and Milkman in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon to explain how these characters are driven by greed. The characters are compared and contrasted. The subject of greed and the American Dream are explored as thematic elements of these works. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Feminist Literature's Portrayal of Prejudice and Oppression

    This 11 page paper looks at Zami: A New Spelling Of My Name" By Audre Lorde and the way in which we can see social criticism of different forms of prejudice include gender, race and sexuality. The way this is communicated in the book, and the underlying message are considered by looking at social norms and the way in which, as a reader, we may interpret the book. The bibliography cites 4 sources.

  • British Literature's Mainstream Tradition and Peripheral Culture

    A ten page paper which looks at the mainstream tradition in British literature and the way in which peripheral culture and literature is gradually being redefined, particularly with reference to the works of such writers as Chinua Achebe and Derek Walcott. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Alice Walker's Literature

    This 10 page paper discusses Alice Walker and compares and contrasts two of her most famous works: "The Color Purple" and "The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart". Discussion of Walker's life is also included. Bibliography lists 6 sources.

  • Postcolonial Literature and Displacement

    A six page paper which considers the concepts of sense of place and displacement in postcolonial literature, especally with reference to hybridisation and the reification of indigenous culture. Bibliography lists 9 sources.

  • Spirituality as a Concept in Black American Literature

    This 5 page paper discusses the issue of African American Literature and the evidence of spirituality in that medium. Furthermore, this paper cites many African-American writers and their works as examples. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Literature, Female Characters, and the Theme of Phenomenal Women

    A 5 page discussion of the theme of phenomenal women as reflected in the female characters of Andrienne Rich, Joyce Carol Oates, Marge Piercy, Maya Angelou, Linda Paston, and Susan Glaspell. This paper acknowledges each of these authors and their female characters as having a positive role not only in the personal development of the author but also in the development of the world as a whole. They are, indeed, phenomenal women. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • Literature, Self, and Identity

    A 7 page paper which examines the theme of identity and sense of self in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates, “Joe Turners Come and Gone” by August Wilson, and “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver. No additional sources cited.

  • Literary Fiction and Self Discovery

    A 5 page paper which examines how modern literature offers a different look at self discovery than does literature from previous times. The works discussed in the examination of self discovery are Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening.” Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Black Literature and Violence

    A 15 page research paper/essay that examines the theme of violence in Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and W.E.B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk. The writer argues that the violence regularly perpetrated against people of African descent is a common thread connecting these works. While, naturally, these authors address other issues and complications of the institution of slavery, violence provides a background theme that serves to underscore all else. It is the coercive and pervasive element that white mainstream culture uses to keep blacks "in their place" during the antebellum era, and long after African Americans theoretically were free. In regards to the slave narratives of Douglass and Jacobs, the writer focuses on the differences between male and female slave experience. Bibliography lists 7 sources.

  • The Literature of Black America

    An 11 page research paper that begins with brief synopses of four African American novels: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison; Native Son by Richard Wright; The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James W. Johnson; and Cane by Jean Toomer. These synopses are roughly 2 pages each. The remainder of the paper is an essay that compares the endings of Native Son and Song of Solomon. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Literature By and About Women

    A 6 page paper which examines what a reader could gain from reading three different pieces of literature written by, and about, women. The books are “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, and “Ghost Country” by Sara Paretsky. No additional sources cited.

  • Literature and the Theme of Appearance versus Reality

    A 6 page paper which compares and contrasts “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams and “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker as they touch on the theme of appearance vs reality. Bibliography lists 6 sources.

  • Literature and Life

    A 3 page paper which examines Arnold Weinstein’s thesis, in his book “A Scream Goes Through the House: What Literature Teaches Us About Life,” which indicates that literature provides us information regarding human conditions. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • The Vernacular Tradition and African-American Literature

    This 3 page paper explains what vernacular tradition is and why Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech is an example of that tradition. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

    A 3 page paper which examines the work How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • American Ethnic Literature

    This 7 page paper defines what American ethnic literature is, and what it means, and why it’s important. Bibliography lists 4 sources.

  • Alienation in Literature

    A 3 page paper which examines the alienation that the protagonists experience in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. No sources cited.

  • Comparing DuBois and Baldwin in Early African American Literature

    This is a 5 page paper that provides an overview of DuBois and Baldwin. Similarities such as the questioning of the role of church in African American society are explored. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and Music

    This 7 page paper discusses why music is such an integral part of Ralph Ellison’s classic novel. Bibliography lists 4 sources.

  • Blues People Negro Music in White America by Leroi Jones

    A 3 page analysis of Blues People: Negro Music in White America by Leroi Jones. This book is a comprehensive and highly readable account that traces the birth and development of African American music and the considerable effect that it has had on white mainstream culture. No additional sources cited.

  • Harlem's Poet Laureate Langston Hughes

    A 5 page research paper that examines the life an career of Langston Hughes. The writer, in particular, regards those elements in Hughes' life that influenced his writing, such as black music. Bibliography lists 6 sources.

  • Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and the Blues of the African-American Experience

    In ten pages this paper examines how the literary artistry of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston represented the uniqueness of the African-American experience through their stylistic interpretations of blues music. Seven sources are cited in the bibliography.

  • Blues and James Baldwin’s Short Story “Sonny’s Blues”

    In three pages this thematic analysis of James Baldwin’s ‘Sonny’s Blues’ focuses on the symbolic significance of ‘the blues’ and what the color and the music represent throughout the story. Four sources are listed in the bibliography.

  • Blues Music and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

    A 5 page paper which examines the power of music, the blues, in Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.” Bibliography lists 1 additional source.

  • Music and Brotherly Love in Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

    A 5 page research paper that analyzes James Baldwin's short story Sonny's Blues. The writer contrasts the character of two brothers, one of whom, Sonny, is a musician who has recently been released from prison for possession of heroin. The narrator comes to understand his brother through his music. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Literature and Life

    A 3 page paper which examines Arnold Weinstein’s thesis, in his book “A Scream Goes Through the House: What Literature Teaches Us About Life,” which indicates that literature provides us information regarding human conditions. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • A Look at James and Ruth in The Color of Water

    This 3 page paper examines these characters in the classic work. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • Character Comparison of James and Ruth in The Color of Water by James McBride

    A 2.5 page paper which compares and contrast the novel and son of this autobiographical tale. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

  • Racism, Imagination, and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

    Toni Morrison's 1970 novel has become a classic definition of the destruction of racism, as well as how one can "cope" through imagination. The power of the tale is staggering, and provides the core of this 5 page discussion.

  • Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Women's Roles

    Alice Walker's 1982, Pulitzer Prize award-winning novel, The Color Purple has become a classic in defining the role of women of color. This 7 page discussion will look at some of those stereotypical roles of the past and make an effort to determine whether they have changed or just taken on another disguise, in relationship to the society today.

  • The Bluest Eye & The Color Purple

    A 5 page essay that discusses Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which are similar in that both authors use the structure of their novels as a tool that facilitates the achievement of their thematic purposes. In The Bluest Eye, Morrison’s references to the Dick-and-Jane reading primer aids Morrison in contrasting the mainstream cultural ideal, that is, the world represented in the Dick-and-Jane stories, against the violence of her protagonist’s world. This contrast also serves to underscore the way in which mainstream white ideals are assimilated by black Americans and contribute to their dysfunction and unhappiness. Similarly, in The Color Purple, Walker uses her novel’s epistolary format to dramatize her protagonist’s evolution from an insecure, brutalized girl toward an independent, secure woman with her own voice. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Women Rising Above Oppression in The Color Purple

    A 6 page paper which examines female characters in The Color Purple by Alice Walker and how they rise above oppression. No additional sources cited.

  • Written on the Body, The Color Purple

    A 4 page essay that contrasts and compares ideas about love in Jeanette Winterson's novel Written on the Body and the film The Color Purple, which was adapted from the novel by Alice Walker. Bibliography lists 1 source.

  • Langston Hughes' Blues Poetry

    In five pages this paper examines the interplay between rhythm, metaphor, and imagery in five of Langston’s blues poems: “The Weary Blues,” “Young Gal’s Blues,” “Dream Boogie,” “Listen Here Blues,” and “Ballad of the Landlord.” Six sources are listed in the bibliography.

  • African American Theater and Blues and the Influential Works of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes

    A 10 page paper which examines the influences provided by poet Langston Hughes and novelist/short-story writer Zora Neale Hurston on African-American blues and theater, by comparing and contrasting their perspectives, through such works as (among others), Hughes' 'The Weary Blues' and 'Po' Boy Blues' and Hurston's short story, 'How It Feels to Be Colored Me,' and the novel, 'Their Eyes Were Watching God.' Bibliography lists 13 sources.

  • Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

    This 5 page paper provides an overview of the book but critically evaluates it in respect to characterization and the thematic element of race. The mother is the focus of this analysis which sees her as important in shaping her son's life. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

  • DOUBLE STANDARD BY ELLEN WATKINS HARPER

    This 3-page paper discusses how Ellen Watkins Harper's poem "The Double Standard" explores the relationship between the sexes during the 19th century.

  • Marriages: Their Eyes Were Watching God

    A 4 page paper which examines arranged marriages v love marriages based on Sora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. The paper argues that in reference to the novel arranged marriages fail in comparison to love marriages. No additional sources cited.

  • James Weldon Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex Colored Man and Identity

    A 6 page paper which examines the search for identity through music, learning, and people in James Weldon Johnson’s work “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.” No additional sources cited.

  • Study Guide/Oedipus the King & Darker Face of the Earth

    A 5 page research paper that offers a study guide and suggestions on how to understand and approach the task of essay writing on 2 plays: Oedipus the King by Sophocles and The Darker Face of the Earth by Rita Dove. To repeat this, this paper is not an essay but it rather suggestions and a study guide. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and the Characters of Tea Cake and Janie

    A 3 page paper which analyzes why Janie sticks with and loves Tea Cake in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” No additional sources cited.

  • Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and the Theme of Material Happiness and Money

    This 5 page report discusses the attitude of the play's main character, Walter Lee Younger, and his belief that only enough money and possessions can make him and his family happy and successful leads only to disaster. He learns that much greater values are at stake than simply having the most 'stuff.' No secondary sources.

  • Walker: “Everyday Use”

    This 4 page paper discusses Alice Walker’s short story, “Everyday Use.” Bibliography lists 1 source.

  • Alice Walker’s Everyday Use

    An 8 page paper which compares conflicts of the characters in Alice Walker’s short story Everyday Use. Bibliography lists 4 sources.

  • Comparison and Contrast: Alice Walker and James Baldwin

    A 4 page comparison and contrast between Alice Walker’s Everyday Use and James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues. No additional sources cited.

  • Alice Walker/Everyday Use

    A 3 page research paper that first briefly discusses biographical background on author Alice Walker and then discusses the themes and characterization used in her short story “Everyday Use.” Bibliography lists 4 sources.

  • Langston Hughes/Critical Response to 2 Poems

    A 9 page research paper that discusses 2 poems by Langston Hughes (1902-1967), who has been termed the “Shakespeare of Harlem,” as he is credited with some of the finest poetry to emerge from that “great flowering of African-American literature known as the Harlem Renaissance” (Sundquist 55). Two of his poems, “Harlem,” which is also known under the title “Dream Deferred,” and “I, Too, Sing America” exemplify the radical protest spirit that characterizes a great deal of Hughes’ verse. Bibliography lists 9 sources.

  • 2 African American Poets/Cullen & Hughes

    A 3 page essay/research paper that discusses and analyzes 2 Harlem Renaissance poets, Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. The writer briefly discusses the historical context and background of each poet and analyzes Hughes' "Mother to Son" and Cullen's "Saturday's Child." Bibliography lists 3 sources that were drawn from the Norton Anthology of African American Literature.

  • Maya Angelou/Phenomenal Woman

    A 4 page essay that offers an explication and analysis of this poem. Throughout the course of human history, men haven been primarily admired for their accomplishments, but the focus of admiration for women has been on whether or not their appearance fit with what a particular society considered beautiful. In her poem "Phenomenal Woman," Maya Angelou challenges this pervasive cultural feature and asserts that she is extraordinary and immensely attractive, without fitting within any of society's preconceived notions of how female beauty and attractiveness should be defined and conceptualized. No additional sources cited.

  • Toni Morrison’s Sula: Moral Ambiguity

    A 3 page paper which examines moral ambiguity in Toni Morrison’s novel Sula. No additional sources cited.

  • The Importance of Memory in Beloved by Toni Morrison

    A 3 page essay discussing the essentiality of memory, re-call memory, and disremembering. The writer compares and discusses the painful memories of several key characters including : Sethe, Baby Suggs, and Paul D. Elements of the comparison include the effects of memory on each character and how they deal with it.

  • Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, American Identity and Education

    A 5 page paper which examines Maya Angelou’s “Graduation” and Langston Hughes’ “Salvation” as they relate to the importance of education and finding one’s identity. Bibliography lists 6 sources.

  • Economic Institution of Slavery in Beloved by Toni Morrison

    A five page paper looking at Toni Morrison's novel in terms of its depiction of slavery from an economic standpoint. The paper points out that slaves suffered not only physical maltreatment but dehumanization because the emphasis was on their economic productivity, not their development as people.

  • Spirituality as a Concept in Black American Literature

    This 5 page paper discusses the issue of African American Literature and the evidence of spirituality in that medium. Furthermore, this paper cites many African-American writers and their works as examples. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Spirituality and Storytelling in Beloved by Toni Morrison

    A 3 page paper which examines Beloved’s need for Sethe and for her mother’s storytelling. Specifically considered are the ways in which Beloved is nourished by Sethe’s stories, the experience of silence as a protective shield, and Baby Suggs’ spirituality as compared with the women’s spirituality in Alice Walker’s short story, “Everyday Use.” No additional sources are used.

  • Gender Relations in Zora Neale Hurston's 'Sweat' and Their Eyes Were Watching God

    A 4 page research paper that examines two of her works, a short story entitled "Sweat" and her most famous novel The Eyes Were Watching God in regards to how Hurston portrays gender relations. The writer argues that, for the most part, this is pictured as a battleground between the sexes in which women have to defend themselves from male domination; however, the writer also points out that the relationship of Janie and Tea Cake in Eyes is a notable exception. Biography lists 6 sources.

  • Religious Symbolism in Hurston’s “Sweat”

    This 4 page paper discusses the religious symbolism in Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Sweat.” Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • How Women Are Treated in "Sweat" by Zora Neale Hurston

    In six pages (5 pp. + 1 pg. outline) discusses how the author treats women in this short story of revenge in the characterization of protagonist Delia Jones. Four sources are listed in the bibliography.

  • The Bluest Eye and Abuse

    A 5 page paper which examines the social reality of abuse, as seen in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. The paper examines why such issues still exist today despite the society having made many other strides. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and Pecola

    A 4 page paper which analyzes the character of Pecola in Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.” Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Depiction of Women in The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    A 3 page paper which examines how the women in Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple" suffer because they are black, impoverished and women. No additional sources cited.

  • Women’s Friendship: “The Color Purple”

    A 5 page paper which examines the friendship of women regarding Celie and Sofia in “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker. No additional sources cited.

  • The Themes of Motherhood and Maternalism in Dessa Rose by Sherley Ann Williams and Beloved by Toni Morrison

    A 5 page paper comparing and contrasting the protagonists' ability to assume the responsibilities of motherhood. The paper argues that Because the slave does not have any autonomy of her own, she cannot function in a typical maternal relationship to a dependent child; therefore, she needs to either break out of her cycle of submission, or have someone else to do her mothering for her. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

    5 pages in length. Analytically examines three social issues explored in Toni Morrison's classic 'The Bluest Eye' from an Afro-centric perspective. Issues are social class & structure, stereotypes, and race. Uses three pertinent references (listed in bibliography) to support ideas.

  • Violence and Socialization in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

    A 5 page paper that looks at the interactions between Junior and Pecola and evaluates a passage describing Junior's nurturing as a precursor to their violent interaction. No additional sources cited.

  • Men and Women in the Texts In Love and Trouble and The Color Purple

    A 5 page paper discussing the relationship some of characters experience. In 'The Color Purple' the relationships defined are those of Celie and Mr._____, Andrew and Shug. In the book of short stories, 'In Love and Trouble' the relationships are those of Myrna and Ruel, Myrna and Mordecai. The differences between the males and the females expectations and outlooks in regards to their relationships is detailed. Bibliography lists 4 sources.

  • Selfhood in Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan and The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    A 7 page paper comparing Alice Walker's The Color Purple to Linda Hogan's Mean Spirit. The paper focuses on the two protagonists, Walker's Celie and Hogan's Belle, and observes that Celie is the more fully realized character because the book is centered on her quest for selfhood; Belle is just a symbol for the Indian race. Bibliography lists one source.

  • The Afrocentricism of Dee in 'Everyday Use' by Alice Walker

    A 5 page research paper that examines the way that Walker uses the character of Dee to make some profound statements on what it means to be African-American. The writer argues that this short story contrasts Dee's faddish 'Afrocentricism' against the very real, nurturing values of her mother and sister. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • The Disturbing Conflict in Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker

    A 5 page paper that provides an overview of the major points and characters in Walker's work. Bibliography lists no additional sources.

  • Willa Cather's My Antonia

    This 6 page paper discusses one of Willa Cather's best known and best-loved novels. The report covers the plot, characters, setting, and tone of the narrative voice. No additional sources cited.

  • Helga Crane and Quicksand by Nella Larsen

    A 5 page paper discussion about the book, 'Quicksand,' by Nella Larsen. The discussion addresses the issues surrounding Helga Crane. These issues include race, gender, and social class. The characther most heavily discussed is the character of Helga Crane, who illustrates very well how the issues involved are heavily interrelated for they are nothing more than the fine details of a larger picture. No additional sources provided.

  • Historical Fiction Analysis of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    In this 10 page paper, the writer discusses how fictional works such as Uncle Tom's Cabin demonstrate how fiction can be successfully used to explain a situation on a personal basis to influence others. Issues concerning gender and racial stereotyping are examined as elements of Stowe's theme in an attempt to determine their level of historic realism. Bibliography lists 7 sources.

  • Topsy Stereotyping in Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    A 10 page essay analyzing the characterization of this little girl in Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic work. The paper concludes that Harriet Beecher Stowe intended to show through her portrayal of Topsy that blacks are not inherently morally bankrupt, but simply unsaved souls who have never been shown the true path to salvation. Thus it was intended to be a symbol, not a realistic characterization. Bibliography lists 4 additional sources.

  • Racist Description of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    A 7 page paper that describes the fact that Stowe's novel is influential and derived from an abolitionist perspective, but at the same time is clearly racist. The author attempts to support this belief by demonstrating the racist off shoots of the abolitionist movement, including colonization, that Stowe supports in her work. Bibliography lists 10 sources.

  • Christ Symbolism in Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    A 6 page essay analyzing the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's work. It points out that Uncle Tom was never intended to be realistic, because he is a symbol for Christ and therefore for the holiness of the black man. Numerous correspondences between the life of Christ and the Uncle Tom narrative are provided. Bibliography lists 3 additional sources.

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    A general 3 page plot summary of Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' The writer covers specific events as they relate to characters. No other sources cited.

  • Disillusionment in Babylon Revisited by F. Scott Fitzgerald and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennesse Williams

    In this 6 page paper, the writer demonstrates how the theme of disillusionment is developed through the characterizations of Blanche DuBois and Charlie Wales in these two short stories. No additional sources cited.

  • Communication in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

    A 6 page research paper which examines how a failure to communicate impacts the characters in three of Williams' most famous plays, The Glass Menagerie , Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and A Streetcar named Desire. The writer demonstrates how Williams illustrates his view that an inability to communicate meaningfully with other human beings is one of the most tragic situations in modern life. Bibliography lists 6 sources.

  • Dust Tracks on a Road Autobiography by Zora Neale Hurston

    A 5 page essay on Zora Neale Hurston's autobiography. It describes Zora's life briefly, then analyzes two major problems with the book, namely Zora's lack of closure regarding her prophetic 'visions' and her inability to perceive herself as a member of an oppressed race. No additional sources cited.

  • Token Whites in the Works of Zora Neale Hurston

    A 6 page analysis of Jonah's Gourd Wine, Guilded Six-Bits, Sweat, Spunk, Drenched in Light, & John Reddding Goes to Sea -- looking at how Hurston uses the white token to bring about the black experience in regards to separatism and belonging--from a societal viewpoint. The paper discusses Hurston's goals of bringing together both societies for an egalitarian purpose rather than promote a separatist viewpoint for either black or white society.

  • Ain't I A Woman by Bell Hooks

    A 5 page paper that provides an overview of Hooks' book, while also concentrating on her philosophical perspective. This paper contends that Hooks bases her work on the racial aspects that have led to racial and gender oppression, and provides a discourse for change. No additional sources cited.

  • Bell Hooks' Postmodern Blackness

    A 7 page paper which discusses various aspects of the work on postmodern blackness, written by Bell Hooks. The work of Bell Hooks, especially in relationship to postmodern blackness which involves aesthetics and critical thought as attainable, if not possessed, by the black population, is considered incredibly controversial as well as contradictory. Bibliography lists 2 additional sources.

  • Analysis of Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

    In 6 pages, the author gives an analysis of the book 'Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845).' This is the story of Frederick Douglass, a former slave. Through this narrative, the humanity of the slave, Douglass, is asserted. The narrative of Frederick Douglass tells of a chattel that was turned into a human being: a person. No source cited.

  • Women's Conventional and Unconventional Roles in My Antonia by Willa Cather

    5 pages in length. The duality of Willa Cather's portrayal of women in My Antonia represents the inherent dichotomy that exists between conventionality and unconventionality. A longstanding debate has raged ever since the author penned her account of a woman torn between traditional gender representation and that which is not considered conventional. The argument within the literary world revolves around the feminist approach, with some critics contending that Antonia represents the archetypal female who awakens to her innate functions as a woman. The writer presents a review of literary opinions in relation to how women's roles are portrayed in My Antonia. Bibliography lists 7 sources.

  • Analysis of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

    A 3.5 page analysis of Toni Morrison's novel, The Bluest Eye. In this novel, a little black girl, Pecola Breedlove, longs to have blue eyes because everyone she has ever met, and everything in her environment, either consciously or unconsciously, has consistently upheld an ideal of beauty in front of her, and that ideal is white‹white skin, long blond hair and blue eyes‹the cultural epitome of beauty, which is culturally equated with being good. Morrison dramatically reveals what happens to a person's sense of self-worth when their individuality and personal appearance are totally negated by the society in which they live. No additional sources cited.

  • Autobiographical 'Black Boy' by Richard Wright

    A 5 page analysis of Richard Wright's autobiographical account of his youth, in which he recounts what it was like to grow up male and black in the South during the first half of the twentieth century. It is a story of rage, fear, and oppression. Although he lived in a culture that had a well-defined place for him, a place that was based on the assumption that blacks were inferior‹sub-human, even‹Richard Wright never assimilated into himself the idea that he was inferior in any way to the whites that surrounded him. No additional sources cited.

  • Complexities of Maya Angelou's Autobiographical I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

    A 3 page analysis of Angelou's autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which is a complex work that not only details the events of Angelou's girlhood, but also illustrates the sociological structures that were in place in the South at that time to keep African-Americans 'in their place,' which is to say subservient to white interests. No additional sources cited.

  • All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou

    A 5 page analysis of All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou, which is the fifth volume in her serial autobiography. This volume is an account of Angelou's experiences in Ghana in the early 1960s. This narrative relates how Angelou found a job teaching at the University of Ghana and began working as an editor. While the narrative naturally includes the details of where Angelou worked, and the major details of her life, the motivating force behind the book is how Angelou worked to relate emotionally to Ghana and her African heritage. No additional sources cited.

  • Social Prejudice in Beloved by Toni Morrison and The Castles Of Athlin And Dunbayne by Anne Radcliffe

    5 pages in length. Assessing the prejudicial differences that exist between Anne Radcliffe's 'The Castles Of Athlin And Dunbayne' and Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' is to address the issue of social class. The reality of Scottish white privilege as it is bestowed upon Radcliffe's Mary is entirely separate and apart from the ravages of Morrison's enslaved Sethe. The writer discusses that the manner by which each character is influenced by prejudice of social class implores the reader to envision the glaring contrarieties between a white British woman a black African American female. No additional sources cited.

  • Symbolism in I Saw the Sky Catch Fire by T. Obinkaram Echewa

    5 pages in length. T. Obinkaram Echewa is a man whose writings dig deep to reveal the truth of the human heart. His classic works reflect a writer concerned with the darker, more disturbing aspect of humanity, while at the same time they also represent the benevolent side of womankind. The writer discusses that throughout his works, Echewa utilizes an extensive array of symbolism, which is particularly evident in "I Saw The Sky Catch Fire." No additional sources used.

  • Good and Evil in Sula by Toni Morrison

    A 5 page research paper that examines the characters of 'Sula' and 'Nel' as representations of 'good' and 'evil' in this work by Toni Morrison. Sula and her friend Nel, form the focal point for this narrative and it is around this duo that other relationships revolve. Sula comes to represent evil and social alienation. Nel, on the other hand, becomes a perfect example of social propriety. However, the writer argues that Morrison's point is that Sula and Nel's relationship demonstrates the very Eastern idea that good and evil are but two sides of the same coin. Bibliography lists 7 sources.

  • What Invisibility Means in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

    A six page paper looking at Ralph Ellison's novel in terms of the way certain classes of people are rendered invisible by a society that refuses to see them as individuals. The paper observes that by the end of the novel, the protagonist has moved from a socially-imposed invisibility that makes him personally inauthentic to a self-imposed invisibility where he can be truly himself. Bibliography lists ten sources.

  • Slavery as Presented in Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    In 5 pages, the author discusses Harriett Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly. 'When considering the institution of slavery in America, one must look to one specific text in order to understand what happened during that horrific time in America's past. That work is Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly, which exemplifies the injustices faced by the Black American in the 1800s. This book was written by Harriett Beecher Stowe and published in 1852. From this tome, one is able to examine how the institution of slavery and a condoning society conspired to destroy the souls of the enslaved Black Americans. As an author, Stowe appears to want the reader to comprehend those realities so that he/she can better understand how to become a human being instead of a virtual animal. Her thesis appears to be that slavery equals destruction, evil, and lack of humanity. Slavery has negative ethical, moral, and religious implications.' No other sources are cited.

  • Bigger Thomas in 'Native Son' by Richard Wright

    A 6 page paper which examines two opposing critical interpretations of the protagonist Bigger Thomas in Richard Wright's novel, "Native Son," to determine whether or not Bigger is a positive or negative African-American character. Bibliography lists 6 sources.

  • 'Low Lifes' in Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    A 7 page paper that examines Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. An analysis of the characters of Arthur Shelby, Mr. Haley, and Simon Legree is presented as well as the underlying theme that entwines these characters. Also included is an excerpt from Eliza's flight and its relation to the general theme as well as a short analysis of positive early twentieth century critiques. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall and Selina's Assimilation Quest

    A 5 page paper that examines Paule Marshall's 1959 novel Brown Girl, Brownstones and discusses the factors that make this novel a universal inside observation of immigration and its challenges. The basic story and central theme of the novel are outlined and corresponding parallels pertaining to the universal experience of immigration are noted. Bibliography lists 1 source.

  • Literary Considerations of Greed

    This 5 page paper looks at Willy Loman of Miller's Death of a Salesman and Milkman in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon to explain how these characters are driven by greed. The characters are compared and contrasted. The subject of greed and the American Dream are explored as thematic elements of these works. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • American Society and Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

    A 5 page paper which examines what James Baldwin's short story, "Sonny's Blues," represents, and how it serves as an inherent commentary on American society. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

  • Semantic Analysis of Ar'n't I a Woman?' by Sojourner Truth

    5 pages in length. Sojourner Truth exposes her defiance toward the system's rules, which, as she points out, have all been designed by men, for men. Eloquent in both style and approach, Truth does not allow her gender to get in the way of insisting that nowhere in the framework of human rights has it been established that men are in any way more deserving than women. The writer discusses the semantic interpretation of one passage of Truth's historic speech. No additional sources cited.

  • 'Interior Life' of Slaves and Toni Morrison

    8 pages in length. Slavery has shaped what Toni Morrison calls "the interior life" of slaves and former slaves, meaning the way in which an individual feels about himself, herself, the world, other people – with particular emphasis placed upon people of the dominant white race. Slavery has constructed the interior life of African-Americans, inasmuch as narrative style became the tradition in African-American literature. The distinctive elements of this literary style is quite easily recognized by their intensely personal attributes and quest to educate readers about racial prejudice and the tormented path each author has forcibly followed. The writer discusses Morrison's "Beloved," as well as Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass's writings as they relate to the interior life. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

  • Predestination, Life, and Relationships in Passing by Nella Larsen

    7 pages in length. Expressing one's feelings on family relationships, love, predestination and following dreams is not such an unusual occurrence; that is, of course, unless one is doing so in the early part of the twentieth century. Back during the time Nella Larsen wrote her groundbreaking story "Passing," these issues were dealt with in the privacy of one's own thoughts. Indeed, it was highly irregular to delve into such concentrated and personal subjects as these, especially in front of strangers. However, Larsen recognized the need to address the sometimes more difficult aspects of life, which she achieved so eloquently in "Passing." Bibliography lists 4 sources.

  • An Analysis of Conde's, I,Tituba, Black Witch of Salem.

    3 pages in length. Tituba, the only black woman to be accused of witchery, had many conflicting issues in her life, not the least of which were trying to distinguish a balance between suffering and happiness in order to construct a meaningful life. In her attempt to achieve this elusive balance, she must often make a choice between freedom and love. By having to make this choice, one might readily surmise that while freedom, love and happiness were of paramount importance to her, none of them could be achieved without suffering. The writer discusses this topic as it relates to Maryse Conde's "I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem." No additional sources cited.

 

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