Explain the primary concerns and aspirations of modernism.

Short Paper

Please complete 1 of the short paper topics. The short paper is worth 100 points. Short papers should be 2-3 typed pages (500-750 words), contain quotations from the text, and contain properly cited secondary sources if you choose to use any. Your textbook is an excellent source of information; avoid all mainstream Internet “notes” sites. Use MLA-style for your citations. Any plagiarism—accidental or intentional—will result in a zero for the short assignment and possible failure of the course. Please note that you may only write about the authors and texts assigned on our course syllabus.

Topic 1, Modernism

Explain the primary concerns and aspirations of modernism. Then identify and give examples of stylistic techniques and themes shared by three modernist poets that we studied in the LLTs. Compare and contrast one work from each poet by analyzing the structure and meaning of each poem; then explain how modernism is reflected in each work.

Topic 2, Violence

Examine the way that violence is reflected in early-mid 20th Century American literature. Choose two of the following authors—T. Williams, Faulkner, Welty, Hughes, or Stevens—and compare how each uses violence to impact character and theme in their texts. Consider whether violence is shown in an attractive or unattractive light. You may wish to compare relative violence—the intensity of violence experienced by different genders, classes, or races. Draw specific examples from each writer to support your explanations.

Topic 3, Constructing Self

Compare and contrast two works that reveal how an author or character creates his or her identity or constructs themselves. Describe the identity (woman, man, lover, fighter, young, old, artist, politician). Using specific examples, examine how this construction of self relates to a major theme of the text. Explain how the constructed self responds to conflict, character, or other elements of the text.

Topic 4, Writer’s Generation

Choose one of the following authors—Hurston, Hughes, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, or Welty—and read about his or her biographical influences. Be sure to cite ALL sources of information. Closely read one of the writer’s works and identify the work’s style and theme. Explain how the writer reflects the concerns and influences of his or her region along with the social and cultural concerns of the writer’s generation. (This topic has a hidden danger—sometimes students write a book-report/biography of the writer. That is NOT what the question asks for so please do not include the writer’s life story. Biographical influences are not the same thing as “where the writer went to college and how many kids she had” unless the text is about the writer’s college campus or children.)