Chaos in the 21st Century Cultures Paper



We have transverse American literature this semester, stopping at many destinations, picking up a few theories and narratives; personal truths as we move forward in what we’ve proven to have unique or intrinsic “American-ness:” American values, believes, moral leanings; American conceptual ideas within essays, fiction, articles, and poetry.

Your assignment is simple enough with a few complexities. American Literature in the 21st century, or rather the Post-Modern time period is a century infused with the similar issues and concepts you’ve found in the 18th, 19th, and 20th century, in terms of what your previous authors were focused on and writing about in those centuries.

Paper Instructions:

This paper will be a six to seven page literature analysis on your 2-3 author’s work, why and how three issues or concepts from the American 21st century are depicted, explained, or/and defined AND how the work(s) themselves depict, explain, and define the Human Condition.

Paper Instructions Break Down:

After you’ve selected 3 issues or concepts from the American 21st century, you will pick One 21st century author from the ENGL 2130 textbook. You may choose One or Two more authors from outside of the ENGL 2130 textbook. You may only have three, 21st century American authors. These chosen authors’ 21st century work, or rather pieces of literature, must argue for, demonstrate, define, or/and depict a movement in America as well as argue for, demonstrate, define; depict the “Human Condition” in the American 21st century society. You’ll follow the same process as the Presentation paper for the 20th century.

(Long Example: Concept A,B,C are found in the American 21st century. James Baldwin’s collection of essays entitled The First Next Time depicted an evolution of Civil Rights in the overarching American, 21st century society. In the collection of essays, foundational elements of the Civil Rights movement such as____,______,______ are important to demonstrating the human condition due to ABC.)

Note: Social movements? Post-modernism literary period? Check the “Final Theory

         Paper/ Final portfolio” folder.


Prompt Questions to Consider:

How does this body of work (the literature you’ve chosen from your 2-3 authors) expand, explain, define, and expose what America is and how America/Americans might deal with certain issues: war, sexism, religion, nature/environment, minorities, technology, music, etc. Think to yourself: What new meaning and what new lens can I bring to the ongoing conversation about this text? What can I teach my reader, in terms of defining America through its literature? What themes do I see and what themes are important to the literary period and my overarching argument?

Re-Cap Requirements:

1) You will use at least 4 sources. The sources must be relevant and must support your thesis.

2) The readings (poems, short stories, speeches) must be cited in the Work Cited page, but these readings do not count towards your 4 resources.

3) You may only use ONE “.edu” website as a resource, if you want to use a website.

4) All research sources must come from books, academic journals, or academic articles. You may also use any source from “Readings Folder” or in the 2130 textbook as a resource.

5) You should use the concepts you’ve gathered from either 18th, 19th, or 20th century and incorporate those concepts and paragraphs into this paper.

6) Though you may use a concept and its subsequent paragraphs, you will not use the entire or 2/3rds of the 20th century Presentation group paper.

This literature analysis will do/ answer a few items:

1) Form a thesis. Create an argument. Come up with a theory about how and why your author’s work defines American Literature. <<Required. Place in Paper

It would behoove you to go through your own process and come up with a definition of American Lit., a process you’ve engaged with all semester. After you finish going through the process, compare and contrast how your author’s came to their individual conclusions. Think of American literature characteristics and how a foreign visitor might find our literature strange, intriguing, abrasive, hopeful, and onward. <<Not Required (these steps). This brainstorm is not place in Paper.

2) You must show that you understand the concept of Literature and that you understand the literary period (21st century/Post-Modernism).

(Long Example:

Thesis Template Example Without the Key Specifics: “Because of this….this occurs in both short stories, and because this occurs in the short stories, the reader sees this and this whiche marks the emergence of poignant characteristics of this wave/ movement in American literature and history. These characteristics are depicted and mandated by ABC.” The latter is a vague template you may fill in with specifics and details. This might serve as a part of your introduction and your thesis.)

3) Identifying and Adding to the Conversation: Remember, at this point, you are an expert on American literature, thought process, and definitely critiquing Amer. Lit. in its 20th/21st century forms.   It’s not how much you agree or disagree with the literature period or/and the American history, but what matters is the different perspective you will bring and add to the ongoing conversation about your chosen text. You will question yourself and the text, asking what is the purpose; what is the intent of American literature and your particular body of work?

Remember our Fiction Tools list/Questions:

Crafting Fiction:

1) Curiosity

2) Submitting to the voices, the experiences, the otherness, or similiarness of

the narrative…

3) Importance of characters. Are they reliable, can you trust them, what

makes those characters complex? What do we want from them?

4) What is/could be the goal or purpose of the novel…not particularly the


5) Is the setting important to the narrative?

6) What scene(s) grab you…are attention grabbers?

7) Can you list the conflicts present…seen and unseen?

8) Themes that grab you…

9) What ideals create conflicts, create contradictions, and are American ideals? How are they American ideals? Are the ideals working? How are these ideals universal? How do they give the overarching theme depth?

*All of these questions/topics are items that you may want to (or not) look at as you cultivate an argument. Also remember the literary criticism PowerPoint as well.

Special Note:

Note: These items are important and act as your Final for this class. I will not accept late work, per the usual, and I cannot accept any excuses. Failure to turn in Both items will result in a major deduction to your overall grade and work ethic score.

Looking forward to reading your work!

7 Pages

MLA 4 References

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