After reading A Raisin in the Sun and the cultural and historical contexts of the play’s subject matter, you should develop an interpretive question
After reading A Raisin in the Sun and the cultural and historical contexts of the play’s subject matter, you should develop an interpretive question about a cultural or historical element of the play that can be read, understood, or interpreted in more than one way. To help you develop a question, consider the elements of literature and drama we have discussed in this course to date as well as the types of questions you have already been asked to answer about the play. If you are stuck, consider the points of the play that stand out to you—what is significant about them? (If you’re stuck, please see some suggestions below the assignment criteria).
Write an essay in which you answer an interpretive question about A Raisin in the Sun. Your interpretive question should be clear from the introduction (though it need not be in the form of a question—you may also describe it). Your thesis will provide an answer to the question, as well as forecast the organization of the rest of the paper. Use ample evidence in the form of analysis of quotations from both the text of the play and two of the contextual material to support your interpretive points. Your essay should be approximately 3 double-spaced pages, formatted in MLA style.
REMEMBER! Be sure to review the course materials we have studied about the conventions for writing about literature, and drama specifically.
Successful essays will:
Introduce and identify the play and the focus of the essay in the introduction.
Employ a clear thesis statement that summarizes your interpretation and forecasts the organization of the essay.
Address an audience of readers that are familiar with the story and author’s work but unfamiliar with your interpretation of it (in other words, you need not summarize the stories).
Follows the conventions for writing about drama.
Organize the paper and each paragraph effectively, given the purpose and audience.
Foreground your ideas and interpretation as main points (topic sentences about the interpretation).
Show your critical thinking about the play by supporting your ideas and paragraphs with textual evidence in the form of quotations from the play to support interpretations, and explication (explanation of your reasoning—how you understand and interpret the evidence).
Reference at least 2 of the cultural and historical contexts from the text.
Use Standard Edited American English.
Follow MLA formatting conventions.
Suggestions for Topics:
Much of the contextual materials refer to the historical experiences of African Americans in the Twentieth Century, specifically the Civil Rights Movement How does Hansberry’s play relate to the external historical contexts? In what way are the Youngers’ experiences representative of these contexts? How does each character represent a different aspect of or approach to the conflicts of the historical context?
How do the different contextual materials relate to the theme of dreams in the play?
How does the play reflect or reject gender roles contemporary to its publication?
In what ways does Africa or Africanness reflect the concerns of the play as well as its cultural contexts?
Read the assigned example essay in your textbook. (Keep in mind that it is an example of writing a research essay about a play, and not an exact example of the essay you are assigned.) Re-read the directions for Essay 3.
Write a rough outline of your essay that includes the following information. You may use any format that is helpful to your writing process.
What is your interpretive question that you plan to use as the basis for Essay 3?
What historical or cultural contexts do you plan to integrate into your essay?
What literary elements of the play do you plan to analyze in relationship to the historical and cultural contextual material?
At the end of the outline, answer the following question:
After reading the example and writing an outline of the assignment, what questions about the essay do you have about the assigned essay
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