Determine the message/opinion expressed in the essay

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  • Ch. 11 Up Close: Thinking about Literary works and Literary Forms, (pp. 316-327)
  • Ch. 12 A Brief Guide to Writing about Literature, (pp. 327-332)
  • Ch. 13 Reading and Writing about Essays, (pp. 332-350)
  • “Salvation” by Langston Hughes p. 343
  • “On Going Home” by Joan Didion, p. 635
  • “It’s Hard Enough Being Me” by Anna Lisa Raya, p. 1112
  • “The Opposite Sex” by Seven Dorloff, p. 741
  • “Hookups Starve the Soul” Laura Vanderkam, p. 345
  • “About Men” by Gretel Ehrlich, p. 743
  • “A Conflict of Interest” by Zora Neale Hurston, p. 1293
  • “Persian Letters” by Montesquieu, p. 638
  • “Wal-Mart Orientation Program” by Barbara Ehrenreich, p.994


• Select one of the pieces above. Other selections are available in the text if none of these interest you.

• Determine the message/opinion expressed in the essay. Is the date relevant to the message in terms of the timing in history or cultural norms? In the years since publication, has anything changed?

• How does considering the time frame, educational experiences of the people involved, or social attitudes influence the message of the essay or your reaction/interpretation of this message?

• Do you agree with the author?

• What elements/evidence worked or did not work in your opinion? Include quoted passages from the essays and examples/details offered in the essay to defend your opinion.

• You will need a works cited page for your essay.

STEP 3: Integrate pieces of research of the African American experience in the early 20th century into your analysis of the essay. Consider how your research of this time period, 1900-1940, and the black authors enhanced your understanding of the selection.

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