English 111 – Essay #1 Word Count: 1,200 Words (approx. 4 pages) For this essay
English 111 – Essay #1
Word Count: 1,200 Words (approx. 4 pages)
For this essay you will write a 1,200 word response to one of the questions listed below:
1.) Compare the role that music plays in the stories “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin and “Let Them Call It Jazz” by Jean Rhys. Why is music important to the lives of the characters in these stories, in particular the lives of characters living under oppression and on the margins of society? To what extent does music play a liberating or empowering role in these characters’ lives? To what extent is music limited in its capacity to change or improve the lives of these characters? Why? What ideas might Baldwin or Rhys have wanted to convey about the importance of music in the lives of oppressed and/or marginalized peoples?
2.) What is the relationship between drugs and music in “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin and “Let Them Call It Jazz” by Jean Rhys? Why do the characters of Sonny (in “Blues”) and Selina (in “Jazz”) use drugs and/or alcohol, and how does their use of drugs impact their lives? How might their drug use be tied to their love of music? Does music seem to prompt or compel these characters to use drugs? Alternatively, might music serve as a deterrent from, or alternative to, drug use for these characters? What ideas might the authors have wanted to convey about the relationship between drug use and music–or, more broadly, the relationship between drug use and art? 3) For this question, choose any TWO of the stories we read to analyze. What similarities or differences do you notice between the ways the characters in these two stories are affected by and respond to adversity? Do the characters in these two stories seem to have similar or different perspectives on how to respond to adversity? Which way(s) of responding to adversity do you think the author of each story favors? Do the authors present hopeful and/or pessimistic outlooks on the capacity of their characters to overcome adversity? Do you agree with the outlook presented by the author? Please explain your answer.
Organization: Begin your essay with a creative and interesting title. The title should capture the reader’s attention and give some indication of the topic of the essay.
Following the title, include a fully developed introduction that provides any necessary background information on the short stories that you have selected to write about. You should assume that your readers have not read these stories, so you should briefly explain what the stories are about and when/where they were published. Your introduction should also generate interest in the story and help readers to understand why the story is worthy of their attention. Conclude with a thesis statement that directly answers the question you have chosen, in 1-2 sentences.
The body of the paper should present specific reasons in support of your thesis. Develop each reason in its own paragraph or sequence of paragraphs. When a paragraph introduces a new reason, state the reason directly and then support it with evidence or a chain of ideas. Along the way, guide your readers with appropriate transitions. The paper should end with a fully developed conclusion that reiterates your thesis and the main points made in your paper and leaves readers with a relevant takeaway message that they can apply to their lives.
Formatting and Citation:
Your essay must follow MLA guidelines for formatting (double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, with proper headers), in-text citation, and a Works Cited. Refer to the following pages from the Purdue Online Writing Lab for specific guidelines:
*Adapted from Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric With Readings p. 59.