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Essays evaluate your engagement with the themes and texts of this course. Select

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Essays evaluate your engagement with the themes and texts of this course. Select ONE of the posted prompts OR develop and respond to your own prompt. If you choose to respond to your own prompt, you must include the prompt above your response. Your essay must be 1,000+ words. Your essay must offer and support an argument related to the prompt you select/develop. If you elect to generate your own prompt, your prompt must address Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo.
Regardless of what you choose to argue, your essay must remain focused on the work under study. Your essay must incorporate textual support from at least TWO sources (support from the primary text AND one scholarly source). While you are free to include additional sources, your essay should balance analysis and support.
Your essay must present a compelling, coherent, and specific thesis that is consistently and thoroughly developed. I hope that you will see this as an opportunity to exhibit creativity and critical thinking. Your essay must support assertions with relevant examples from the texts. Summarizing the readings or relying on personal reaction will result in a lowered score or a grade of zero. Your essay should not offer plot summary but should instead present a debatable assertion that is situated in the introduction and supported throughout the essay. Failure to meet the minimum word count and/or incorporate the required number and type of sources will result in a significant grade reduction. Your work will be graded on the quality of your ideas as well as your writing. Criteria for grading include completeness, thoughtfulness, and development and support of a particular argument.
Works Cited entries do not count towards the minimum word count. Per the plagiarism policy, you must cite ideas that are not your own. Your essay must include proper MLA in-text citations, proper formatting, and a Works Cited page. Your work must be submitted to the proper Assignment folder by the respective deadline. Work must be submitted in .doc, .docx, or PDF format. Work submitted in alternate formats will be considered late (and lose one letter grade per 24-hour period) until resubmitted in the proper format.
1) What does this text have to say about procreation, maternity, and/or motherhood? What role does motherhood, or lack thereof, play in this novel? What kind of a mother figure is Mama?
2) Discuss how the god-like forces of gender and race function in Shange’s work. In what ways does this text reinforce gender roles? How, overall, does this novel depict race and race relations?
3) What role does creative expression play in this novel? What specific benefits do music, dancing, and/or weaving provide? How, if at all, does creative expression afford healing?
4) In what ways is Indigo in a position of exile? What kind of a childhood does she have? Who serves as an “othermother,” or supplementary maternal influence, for her and what do they teach her?
5) What function do the recipes play in Shange’s text? How, textually, do they work? Why might Shange include them?
As a reminder, the questions above are jump-starters. Feel free to combine/discard questions as you see fit. In other words, the questions are provided to assist you with developing a narrow and compelling argument. As the essay directions indicate, you are welcome to develop and respond to your own prompt.

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