English composition


Chapters 25 (pages 713-725) and 26 (pages 739-744); 
Langston Hughes’s “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (916), “Harlem” (760), “Theme for English B” (920) and “Birmingham Sunday” (922); 

Gwendolyn Brooks’s “What Shall I Give My Children” (731); 
Countee Cullen’s “Incident” (779) and;
Dudley Randall’s “Ballad of Birmingham” (708)
PART ONE-s week we read two poems that responded to the tragic bombing of a Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama: Hughes’s “Birmingham Sunday” and Randall’s “Ballad of Birmingham.” To prepare for this paper, make sure you have done some brief background reading on the bombing. You should also have read both of these poems carefully and taken time to reflect on them. Jot down what images and details strike you the most and start thinking about which poem you found to be more powerful and why.
Paragraph 1: Introduction. How can you grab your reader’s attention? Is there a detail from a poem that really strikes you that may strike them, too? Consider beginning with that.

Paragraph 2: Analyze how each writer creates sympathy for the young girls killed in the bombing. Provide examples from both of the pieces that demonstrate the pain experienced by this tragedy and these girls dying. Of the two, which poem was more effective at creating that sympathy and why?
Paragraph 3: Analyze which detail/line from each poem is the most powerful. What images really resonated with you when you read these poems? After discussing one image/detail from each poem, explain which you find to be more powerful and why.
Paragraph 4: Determine which of the two poems resonates with you more and why. Include specific examples to support why you selected the poem you did, even though they both respond to the same event. Basically, which of the two did you appreciate more and why?
Paragraph 5: Conclusion. What final thoughts do you want to leave your readers with? Also, why is it important for us all to read poems like these two in particular?   
PART TWO-The Poems we read this week focus primarily on racial issues. While analyzing these poems, continue the skill you practiced last week by including specific citations from the text to support your analysis, which is critical. Please answer each of the following questions:
Consider “Theme for English B” and “Incident.” What shared qualities do you see in these poems that represent works of the Harlem Renaissance? What theme do both of these poems address? Which poem illustrates that theme more effectively?
“Harlem” is one of the most famous poems in American literature. What about the poem helped it achieve this status? What similes are used and why do you think they are so effective?
What is a common theme in “What Shall I Give My Children?” and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”? Which poem portrays the theme more effectively? Which poem uses figurative language more effectively?

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