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African American Literature Questionnaire

Question 1:

Identify the author of the following passage and, in a short paragraph (5-10 sentences), comment on the passage’s significance. Your commentary should include:

  • A brief explanation of the passage’s meaning, or, of what is happening in the passage (i.e. whose perceptive it expresses, the scene that’s occurring, how the passage relates to the larger story or poem that it’s excerpted from)
  • A discussion of how the passage expresses various themes, concepts, or historical issues that mattered to the author

“I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant. I do not remember to ever have met a slave who could tell of his birthday.”

2. Identify the author of the following passage and, in a short paragraph (5-10 sentences), comment on the passage’s significance. Your commentary should include:

  • A brief explanation of the passage’s meaning, or, of what is happening in the passage (i.e. whose perceptive it expresses, the scene that’s occurring, how the passage relates to the larger story or poem that it’s excerpted from)
  • A discussion of how the passage expresses various themes, concepts, or historical issues that mattered to the author

“One day near the end of my second term at school the principal came into our room and, after talking to the teacher, for some reason said: ‘I wish all of the white scholars to stand for a moment.’ I rose with the others. The teacher looked at me and, calling my name, said: ‘You sit down now, and rise with the others.’ I did not quite understand her, and questioned: ‘Ma’am?’ She repeated, with a softer tone in her voice: ‘You sit down now, and rise with the others.’ I sat down dazed.”

3. Identify the author of the following passage and, in a short paragraph (5-10 sentences), comment on the passage’s significance. Your commentary should include:

  • A brief explanation of the passage’s meaning, or, of what is happening in the passage (i.e. whose perceptive it expresses, the scene that’s occurring, how the passage relates to the larger story or poem that it’s excerpted from)
  • A discussion of how the passage expresses various themes, concepts, or historical issues that mattered to the author

“But, O, ye happy women, whose purity has been sheltered from childhood, who have been free to choose the objects of your affection, whose homes are protected by law, do not judge the poor desolate slave girl too severely! If slavery had been abolished, I, also, could have married the man of my choice; I could have had a home shielded by the laws; and I should have been spared the painful task of confessing what I am now about to relate…”

4. List of Concepts:

-Close Reading

-Autobiography

-Abolitionism

Select 1 concept from those listed above. In 2-4 sentences, define and briefly explain the concept using your own words. Then, in 5-10 sentences (a short paragraph), explain how your chosen concept applies to 1 of the works that we’ve read this semester. Be sure to name the author and the title of the work (you can choose from anything on the Course Syllabus Weeks 1-7) and clearly explain how the concept is relevant to the work.

5. List of Concepts:

-One-Drop Rule

-Racialization

-Double Consciousness

Select 1 concept from those listed above. In 2-4 sentences, define and briefly explain the concept using your own words. Then, in 5-10 sentences (a short paragraph), explain how your chosen concept applies to 1 of the works that we’ve read this semester. Be sure to name the author and the title of the work (you can choose from anything on the Course Syllabus Weeks 1-7) and clearly explain how the concept is relevant to the work.

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