THEMES AND SYMBOLS

THEMES AND SYMBOLS
Order Description
We’ve discussed the family of Lin” rel=”nofollow”>incoln and Booth in” rel=”nofollow”>in relation to several themes: the American Dream and success/work, the American Dream and the struggle of the American family, masculin” rel=”nofollow”>ine identity and manhood, and violence and racism in” rel=”nofollow”>in American life/history, namin” rel=”nofollow”>ing and identity. While Suzan Lori Park’s Topdog/Underdog in” rel=”nofollow”>investigates these themes in” rel=”nofollow”>in relation to race and African-American life in” rel=”nofollow”>in America, the play’s themes resonate for all American families. In your paper, you will make an argument about the importance of a symbol (or two) in” rel=”nofollow”>in the play that relate to one of these themes. In makin” rel=”nofollow”>ing your argument, you will carefully analyze the appearance and meanin” rel=”nofollow”>ing of the symbol in” rel=”nofollow”>in different parts of the play. What does the symbol seem to mean when we first encounter it? What about later at other poin” rel=”nofollow”>ints in” rel=”nofollow”>in the play? What does this symbol ultimately mean in” rel=”nofollow”>in terms of the play’s tragic endin” rel=”nofollow”>ing? What does this symbol have to do with any of Suzan Lori Park’s goals in” rel=”nofollow”>in writin” rel=”nofollow”>ing her plays? (you will learn what she is tryin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to accomplish in” rel=”nofollow”>in her plays through in” rel=”nofollow”>interviews and research articles). Throughout your paper, you should carefully discuss relevant quotations from the play and from any secondary sources, and cite them in” rel=”nofollow”>in MLA format.
First, pick a symbol and theme that in” rel=”nofollow”>interest you:
Examples for a possible paper topic might in” rel=”nofollow”>include:
The importance of Booth’s costume and violence as acceptable entertain” rel=”nofollow”>inment in” rel=”nofollow”>in America or as an recurrin” rel=”nofollow”>ing part of American history. Perhaps guns (and Booth’s gun) are also symbolic in” rel=”nofollow”>in this context.
The family’s photo album and/or the brothers’ in” rel=”nofollow”>inheritance as symbolic of the struggle of American families. What is do these symbols tell us about the fate of the American Family in” rel=”nofollow”>in modern America for Parks?
3 Card Monte and/or Lin” rel=”nofollow”>incoln’s job as a symbol for the American workin” rel=”nofollow”>ing class dream.
3 Card Monte, “boosted merchandise,” and “diamondesque” rin” rel=”nofollow”>ings: Is the promise of success and the American dream a “scam” in” rel=”nofollow”>in the play?
Guns as symbols of manhood in” rel=”nofollow”>in the play and the brother’s rivalry to be “Topdog”
Booth’s name and/or Lin” rel=”nofollow”>incoln’s name and the American promise/dream of creatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing a new identity for oneself.
Next step: Lookin” rel=”nofollow”>ing at your evidence from the play and then from any secondary sources, what argument do you want to make about the topic you choose?
Secondary Research: To receive full credit, you must use four kin” rel=”nofollow”>inds of secondary sources for a total of 6-8 sources listed on your MLA Works Cited page.
[ ] The Biederwell textbook’s pages on symbolism 1147ff.
[ ] Watch the youtube.com documentary Topdog Diaries (Take short specific notes and copy out any important quotes). Watch it once, then skim it.
[ ] 2-3 in” rel=”nofollow”>interviews with about Suzan-Lori Parks (Take short specific notes and copy out any important quotes). You may use other onlin” rel=”nofollow”>ine videos and or search the library databases JSTOR and Project MUSE for published in” rel=”nofollow”>interviews prin” rel=”nofollow”>inted in” rel=”nofollow”>in literary journals.
[ ] Excerpts of journal articles Prof. Fox uploads to Blackboard

An extra possibility:
[ ] 1-2 reviews of the play in” rel=”nofollow”>in performance You can use the library databases Lexis Nexis and/or EBSCO (academic search complete), the nytimes.com, or nymag.com.

*Poin” rel=”nofollow”>ints that Suzan Lori Parks makes about other plays durin” rel=”nofollow”>ing an in” rel=”nofollow”>interview might also be relevant to what she is tryin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to accomplish in” rel=”nofollow”>in Topdog/Underdog

Use MLA style documentation for in” rel=”nofollow”>internal quotations and paraphrases. Use the MLA Style as it was updated in” rel=”nofollow”>in 2009. Have an MLA style Works Cited Page.

If you choose to paraphrase from a written article or in” rel=”nofollow”>interview, you still need a parenthetical citation after the sentence. Make sure you work from very brief, specific notes (do not try to write your own origin” rel=”nofollow”>inal sentence by lookin” rel=”nofollow”>ing repeatedly at the article)! You will most likely copy/plagiarize it if you do this! For a paraphrase, put any ideas or facts entirely in” rel=”nofollow”>into your own words usin” rel=”nofollow”>ing a new, origin” rel=”nofollow”>inal sentence pattern.

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