the notion of the small town and its links to the American Dream from the standpoint of race and racial relations

Research Essay Instructions

You are expected to write 7 8 double spaced pages (in 12 pt. Times New Roman font) with 1-inch margins.

You are expected to generate your own focused thesis within the parameters set by one of the questions below

Please note that this is a research paper, which means that you are required to draw upon secondary material. You should read at least two secondary sources per primary text. Make sure you quote and cite all your sources correctly and please be aware that, in an essay as short as ours, it is very easy for research/secondary material to overwhelm your discussion/argument. Always be aware that the analysis of your primary texts ought to be your main focus, and it should thus take up the bulk of your discussion.

As most English/literary analysis papers, your essay must focus on and interpret primary texts. It should develop an interpretative and analytical argument that aims to present a sub-textual reading of these texts and/or the way these texts engage with their cultural/historical context.

Please note that, a thesis should be about your primary texts, focused, argumentative, and controversial.

~ The Essay Question ~

1. The notion of the small town in the American context is closely related to the American Dream, the ideal that, left to their own devices, each American has access to equality of opportunity. Yet, in his The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes the following:
Having been enslaved for 250 years, black people were not left to their own devices. They were terrorized. In the Deep South, a second slavery ruled. In the North, legislatures, mayors, civic associations, banks, and citizens all colluded to pin black people into ghettos, where they were overcrowded, overcharged, and undereducated. Businesses discriminated against them, awarding them the worst jobs and the worst wages. Police brutalized them in the streets. And the notion that black lives, black bodies, and black wealth were rightful targets remained deeply rooted in the broader society. Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising, Never again. But still we are haunted. It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us.
With this in mind, with reference to two of the primary texts we (will) have read this semester, critique the notion of the small town and its links to the American Dream from the standpoint of race and racial relations.

Home by Robinson Marilyn, Medicine River by Thomas King or Disgrace by J.M Coetezee ( pick 2 out of these three books as a primary text)