10 Essay Options

by | Jan 28, 2021 | College (3-4), English, Essay

“Answer 2 of the following, each in a length of about 400 words (one and a half typed pages total, more or less). I expect that you will make a direct reference to passages from the text(s), although you need not use direct quotes with page numbers since these essays are expected to be completed mostly from memory. Also, you can answer a third question for up to 5 points bonus (pay attention to the bolded text to determine the actionable parts of the questions from the background portion of the questions). “



Please compare the different poetic techniques of MC Shann “The Bridge” and Rich Gagne and Young Thug “Lifestyles” or Big Baby Dram’s “Brocolli”. …….these are songs just in case haha.

Please assess the complexity of each song’s poetic techniques, using terms such as internal rhyme, feminine rhyme, couple, enjambment, end stop, and the like. Make a case for either artist as being more advanced lyrically, and make a case for the importance of form over content or vice versa. Finally, offer a “so what” argument (of your own making) about lyrical progression and colonialism.


Please write an essay that responds to the use of Vodun in the novella Love. Discuss how it is used, its effectiveness, and then discuss how the use of Vodun made you react personally.

Questions to pursue: Did it make you uncomfortable? Did you gain a deeper understanding of the religion? Did it detract from the novel somehow? Did it make you think differently of the main character when we went over in class the extent to which the novelist wrote Vodun into the plot?


Here is a problem: Cesaire says all colonialisms will result in their own Hitler. He then goes on to identify the tendency towards violence and egomania as a result of colonialism that manifests in novelistic characters and has helped to develop European literature as symptomatic of the evils of colonialism. Fine, a little difficult to follow but it makes sense. Characters like Byron are not a lot different in the literary realm than characters like Hitler are in the real world. They each sort of go crazy, but in their crazy allow the dominant narrative to flourish (“the non-crazy” is created to justify the “crazy”). But, such violent characters also exist in post-colonial literature that critiques colonialism.

So the question is, if a critique of colonialism never escapes the aesthetic forms of colonialism (i.e. novelistic hyper-violent characters), can such a critique be effective for change or does the critique actually reinforce the colonialist system? (Please reference one or two of the following: Manmuswak and Mene, Ivan from The Harder they Come, or one of the songs the Dancehall Calypso material.)


Please go to YouTube and access “It Ain’t Hard to tell,” the second single from Nas’s debut album, Illmatic, or “The World is Yours” another single from this album.

Please give me a reading of one or both of the songs (and visuals of the video) as an example of colonial realism as well as a Byronic character. In addition, do a formal analysis of poetic technique and how Nas’s poetic forms and effects reinforce the themes and content of the song (use at least three of the following terms: enjambment, caesura, end rhyme, initial rhyme, internal rhyme, anaphora, stress, feminine rhyme, end stop, alliteration).

Present a thesis in the first paragraph, present a contextual summary of the song(s) in the second, and then support your thesis in the third and subsequent paragraphs. In the conclusion, provide some implications that include a brief and general discussion of the history of hip hop.


Please write a comparison and contrast paper analyzing the relationship of Mene and Manmuswak and Ivan and Jose. Is anything the same? What’s different? Pay particular attention to Manmuswak and Jose as representatives of colonial power that hold information that the main characters of each work are lacking and the way in which ignorance of colonial power in some fashion plays the role of antagonist in the novel and film, respectively.

Provide a thesis for this comparison that includes not only what’s similar and different, but also some implications for these similarities and differences. Do not discuss the relative merits of film and literature in getting us to be able to relate better to the story. I don’t care about that. Just analyze the relationships.


What part does the emasculation/feminization of the main character of The Autobiography of an Ex Colored Man play in James Weldon Johnson’s critique of race relations in turn of the century in America?


In James Weldon Johnson’s novel, the narrator is a character with a fluid identity who is able to pass between many ethnicities and situations by virtue of his indeterminate race. Through this ability, he is able to give the reader a comprehensive look at not just American politics and social/economic conditions but also the place of American politics in the world capital system. Essentially, by being a non-character, the narrator is able to expose the entirety of the colonialist system.

Respond to the idea that this is the first and only work we have read this semester that truly allows us to see the totality of the effect of colonialism and the primary reason it is able to do this is because James Weldon Johnson rejects the traditional form of realist narrative that requires a dominant, Byronic character to structure the story.


In both Souza Boy and The Autobiography of an Ex Colored Man, the narrator progresses from unknown to the reader to more familiar, and then eventually disappears. In this sense both novels seem to be suggesting that colonialism offers no final hope for colonized people to become whole and complete. As in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the only way to escape the problems of colonialism seem to be to become a sort of ghost.

Referencing the progress of the characterization of the narrators in both novels, assert a claim concerning what you feel to be each novel’s ultimate critique of colonialism and how each narrator supports this critique. Additionally, provide a response to the argument of each concerning colonialism. Do you think the arguments are valid?


Please analyze the relationship of Meme and Manmuswak in Soza Boy. In this analysis, please respond to the notion that colonialism ultimately distorts the relationships between different groups of colonized people because it generally picks one group as the instrument of colonial power and pits that group against other colonized people. In the case of Soza Boy this is The Yoruba and Housa people against those trapped in the middle.

After analyzing this twisted up relationship, please assess the extent to which part of the argument of each of this book is that a part of the healing process of post-colonization is indeed an increase of un-distorted communication between formally colonized peoples (“The Afrika Bambaata theory from “Planet Rock”).


A few years ago, the Wu Tang Clan have sold the exclusive rights and only existing copy of their unlistened to album, Once Upon A Time in Shaolin (http://scluzay.com/ ), to Martin Shrkeli for several million dollars.

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (Links to an external site.)
Martin Shkreli reveals why he bought the $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album (Links to an external site.)
Until this sale it had been stored in a vault in Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco (you literally cannot make this up. It’s like a modern day fairy tale quest thing). The point, according to GZA, The Genius, is to restore aesthetic value to music as an art object. Particularly, he would like to take art back to the era of patronage, where rich benefactors bought art for their own private pleasure. Detractors, including the Wu’s own Method Man, suggest that the idea of selling an album with a strict injunction against reproduction for 88 years is antithetical to the spirit of hip hop

Method Man says Wu-Tang Clan’s 88-year ban on releasing album is ‘stupid’ (Links to an external site.)
Given what we have discussed thus far in class about hip hop and its significance for post-colonization (Afrika BamBaata), please evaluate GZA (and Cilvarings)’s concept for the album, coming to an assessment of whether you think Method man is right, and it is stupid, or GZA has a valid point about the state of value in the recording industry today.

Remember, answer 3 prompts (2 plus one 1 additional bonus one), each only needing to be 400 words, which is around one and a half typed pages total, more or less (double spaced). 

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