242 Essay #1

So far this semester we have looked at three texts that, although many would not think so at first, could be reframed as “North Carolina literature.” Compose an essay 4-5 pages in length (1100-1300 words) responding to one of the following prompts. You must have a clear, well-argued thesis, and it is a good idea to cite the work (or works) you are writing on as evidence of the position you take. You are required to include 2 peer-reviewed sources not read in class, citing them in proper MLA format and listing them in a Works Cited. The best sources on these texts will be found through Hunter Library’s website with a simple search concerning these specific authors.

You are also welcome to use three outside sources and annotate them for use in the side project we discussed. Be very careful about using block quotes (as in: do not use them to fill space).

  • Eurocentrism and colonial encounters We spent a good deal of time in class discussing how each writer’s perspective shaped what he wrote and how, whether this was in regard to the Christianity of Cabeza de Vaca and Pardo, or to Said’s Muslim faith and questionable conversion. How does the writer’s religious belief shape his experience and his subsequent telling of it? Why must the reader take these perspectives into account when reading these texts, particularly in the context of the multiple power relations surrounding these documents, when they were written, and how they were originally read?
  • North Carolina Literatures As these texts show, North Carolina has never been a culturally, racially, or linguistically homogenous state, and the so-called “non-West” has always been present within the “West” (and vice versa). Take a position on whether or not these works should be included in the canons of US and North Carolina literature. How do these texts challenge what we think of as regional history with regard to Spaniards, Native Americans, and enslaved Africans? If you argue these should be included, how do they shift perspectives on the state of North Carolina’s past, present, and future? What perspectives are replicated via these texts’ continued exclusion?