There are three prompts below each with four texts. For your literary analysis essay, choose ONE prompt and text pairing that interests you. Then, take a look at the guiding questions for the text you choose. You dont necessarily need to answer all of these questions in your paper. The questions are there to help get you thinking in a direction that will be more likely to lead you to a successful literary analysis.
Consider the role of setting, or context, in one of the works. For example, a story that takes
place in a wild and natural setting might include characters struggling against nature to survive.
A story set in a city might include themes of alienation and anonymity because of the
impersonal crowds and busy city life. Cultural contexts can combine with both urban and rural
elements to produce further meaning, as well. Consider the following questions as you
critically read one of the texts below: Does the protagonist conflict with the setting or have
particular interactions with it? Does the prot with his/her development as a character? Does the setting reveal other themes and conflicts?
Sonnys Blues (James Baldwin, 1957)
1. How do the characters interactions with the multi-faceted local color and communities of Harlem articulate the differences between those characters?
2. What does the story suggest about a neighborhoods cultural identity and the diverse life experiences possible, even when people seem to come from the same place?
3. What aspects of the setting (the neighborhood, the school, etc.) could be characterized as liberating or oppressive, and how is this reflected in the characters?