Students will analyze a poem by Langston Hughes

Requirements:Length:  500 wordsFormatting Style:  MLA, including full header, title, and Works Cited pageSources:  3 used and cited, including but not limited to 1)reputable poetry website (,, Famous Poets and Americanpoets);2) Literature database on the Shake Library – see link on Bb in Module 43) One relevant essay from our text that ties into your thesis Assignment Explanation:Choose one of Langston Hughes’ poems to analyze and connect to our readings on racism. 1. Find a poem by Langston Hughes that is no shorter than 10 lines long and then print or write it out fully, using the exact same spacing and line breaks.2. Read the poem no less than five times.  Be sure to read the poem outloud so that you can hear the language and the rhythms that the poet uses.3. Underline key phrases and ideas in the poem, making notes about the poets’ use of poetic elements like imagery, alliteration, repetition, simile and metaphor, point of view/narrator, tone, diction and style,rhyming and rhythms, irony, paradox and personification, and of course, theme.4. Brainstorm by answering the following questions and then write out a working thesis.Who is speaking, who is being addressed? What images can I find? What emotions might be connected to the images? Is there a story? Or is there a meditation on a particular topic? Or both? What poetic devices can I find? How do these devices help the poet to communicate? What is the tone of the poem? What emotions does the poet wish to evoke? What is the title? What does it mean? What is the theme here: reading between the lines, what is the poet’s point? (To entertain, to inform, or to make a case for some idea?)  Use these in your paper!5. Create a working outline that you can follow as you write.I.  Introduction    a. background and lead-in on Hughes and his importance    b. introduction of poem being analyzed and its connection to racism    c. thesis- answer the question of how Hughes’ poem is an expression of the struggle for identity and fulfillment by many black Americans II. First Supporting Point-poetic element    a. identify one poetic element Hughes uses in the poem and define it    b. connect that element to its use in the poem- be sure to quote directly from the poem    c. explain its connection to the thesisIII. Second Supporting Point-poetic element    a. identify another important element Hughes’ uses and define it    b. connect that element to its use in the poem-be sure to quote directly from the poem    c. connect it to your thesisIV. Third Supporting Point-theme     a. tell the theme of the poem you are analyzing    b. identify the essay that you are using and briefly summarize it    c. connect the poem and the essay and how they connect to our discussion of black Americans’ struggle for identity in a racist cultureV. Conclusion    a. wrap up the essay by coming back to Hughes’ and his importance to American culture     b. summarize how the poem addresses some of the major issues that still plague our country when it comes to race.6. Write a rough draft.  Be sure that you use past tense when discussing Hughes’ biographical information (Hughes wrote the poem in 1918), and present tense when discussing the poem itself (The poem “Harlem” uses alliteration and repetition to give readers a sense of …..).Put quotation marks around lines of poetry you quote, but use a back slash to indicate line breaks:“I am the darker brother./They send me to eat in the kitchen/When company comes,/But I laugh,/And eat well,/ And grow strong.”7. Write a final draft and submit it on Bb by the deadline.  After you finish writing your rough draft, put the paper away for a day and then get it back out to reread, revise and edit.  Minimum writing standards as used by ENGL 101 and the VU English department will be followed.  A Grading Rubric is provided as a separate document.

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