Critical Essay

(5-6) Pages

In this short, critical essay of 5-6 pages, please analyze any of the themes that have emerged from the texts we have discussed thus far; these include Eva’s Man, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Color Purple, and We Should All Be Feminists. This essay should not include secondary sources. Please focus your argument on one or two of the texts, and use MLA format for all in text citation and Works Cited.

The best way to approach a critical essay of this length is to choose a few passages from the text(s) that speak to your idea/argument, and analyze the passages closely to support your position. Your position is your argument. Please do not simply summarize the texts in this essay; you must think about what you want to argue.

Some helpful suggestions to get your started include:

  • Choose two passages from two different novels and analytically compare and contrast the ways in which the passages reveal something about gender/gender inequality, sexuality, romantic love, and/or abjection? Please provide evidence from text to support your claims.
  • Compare and contrast formal elements of one or two of the texts: for example, in Eva’s Man there is a direct connection between “the blues” and the novel’s development; in Their Eyes Were Watching God, the “framing narrative” is structured by Phoeby and Janie’s friendship, whereas the rest of the novel focuses on Janie’s journey through her relationship to three men; The Color Purple is shaped by a series of “letters to God” written by Celie. As you create your argument, think about how these formal elements create meaning in the novel, and why they are important. Please provide evidence from text to support your claims.
  • Consider the development of one or two characters in the texts. For example, there are couples whose lives mirror each other in Eva’s Man; why and how do they mirror each other? How does this mirroring shape the events of the novel? Please provide evidence from text to support your claims.
  • Compare and contrast Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God and the Queen Bee in Eva’s Man? In what important ways are the two character similar, and different? Please provide evidence from text to support your claims.
  • Women’s relationships to each other are of particular importance in all of the novels we have read thus far. Critically analyze one or two relationships between women from each novel: Eva and Elvira, Janie and Phoeby, Janie and Nanny, Celie and Shug, or Celie and Sophia. You may focus on the development of one relationship, or compare/contrast two relationships. Please provide evidence from text to support your claims.
 
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