242 Essay #2

A major theme this semester has been the relationship between literature and truth, particularly when an author is writing to represent a marginalized group in ways that defy the expectations of dominant culture. 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. The paper will be due Monday, March 30.

  1. Barracoon Hurston’s work uses a variety of meta-textual elements and aesthetic devices (dialect, etc.) to establish the validity of Cudjo Lewis’s voice. Pick and focus upon one of these, arguing  its relevance to the text as being a “truthful account” and demonstrating how it achieves this function. You can look up both Hurston scholarship, as well as theoretical works on different kinds of metatext.
  2. The Moor’s Account While Lalami’s novel revises the well known story of the Narváez expedition, it does so to give voice to the story of Mustafa/Estevanico, and to comment on current immigration policies. Although fictional, how does this novel get at the “truth,” particularly that which cannot be found in the expedition’s historical accounts?