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Washington State University
Donna M. Campbell Assignments

Paper 3 (Optional)

Deadline: November 14, 2019. Submit to Blackboard by 11:55 p.m.
Length: Length 3-4 typed, double-spaced pages (750-1000 words, but can be longer if you wish)


The following are suggestions for possible topics for your paper, but you can also develop your own topic in consultation with me or with your discussion leaders. Most of them ask you to compare and contrast at least two pieces of writing. These topics are quite general; it’s expected that you will narrow the topic when you write your paper.

You can use works from our book even if we have not discussed them in class.

1. Your own topic.

2. How does The Twilight Zone anticipate problems that have actually come to pass? What kinds of issues or problems have disappeared? What kinds of new beings, if any, are envisioned? Are these utopian or dystopian visions of the future?

3. What is the perspective on race and social justice of Morrison, Alexie, Walker, and Espada (discuss any two). Could you compare the perspective of one of these authors with that of one of the earlier authors (McKay, Douglass, and so on)? What has changed, and what remains the same?

4. Either in our textbook or on the web, find examples of short stories by contemporary authors and choose one or two to discuss in combination with some of the stories we’ve read this semester. You might want to compare an earlier story with a contemporary one (for example, an earlier story about race or courtship with a contemporary one, or an adaptation of an earlier story to a contemporary setting).

5. Based on our discussions during the Laptop Days in which we looked at internet genres, locate or identify an internet genre and analyze its properties. You might want to consider some of the following:

  • In what ways does this form differ from conventional short stories or poetry?
  • Does it require the use of visual media or sound, and, if so, how does that enhance the form?
  • Does it follow conventional rules of narrative, character development, theme, plot trajectories, and so on? How does it convey these ideas?
  • If it does not follow conventional rules, what rules does it follow, and how can you tell?
  • What does the writing in this form reveal about contemporary culture? What kinds of cultural assumptions does it make about its audience?
  • Could this form of writing be considered literature in the classic sense? Why or why not?

6. Many of the contemporary authors we’ve read discuss the implications of having one’s heritage stolen or of losing one’s heritage. Write an essay in which you explore the implications of this theme in two or three works. You can also use fiction and poetry in our book that we haven’t discussed in class; stories and poems by Yamamoto, James Baldwin, Louise Erdrich, Gloria Anzaldua, Joy Harjo, and Maxine Hong Kingston would work especially well with this topic.