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Dudek - March 2021: Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

In the second unit of our class, “Ethics, Social Justice, and Warfare,” we have read and analyzed short stories, poems, and nonfiction articles that all examined society’s and individuals’ roles in furthering social justice or halting violence and other injustices. Please choose 1 of the 2 questions and construct a five-to-six-page essay that answers the question and analyzes the appropriate texts from this unit, as well as at least 1 outside source, effectively.

Question Option 1:

As we discussed in class, Ralph Ellison’s short story “Battle Royal” was highly influenced by two prominent African American leaders that came before him: Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois. How is “Battle Royal” influenced by texts from Washington and DuBois, and how does Ellison allow readers to understand these influences on his story? Additionally, how does the argument between Washington and DuBois, as reflected by Ellison, continue to impact American society today, if at all?

Sources required: Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal,” Booker T. Washington, “Atlanta Exposition Address (The Atlanta Compromise),” W.E.B DuBois “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington,” and at least 1 outside source of your choosing

Question Option 2:

Both Ilya Kamsinky’s poem “We Lived Happily During the War” and Sara Corbett’s nonfiction article “The Lost Boys” address themes related to the unintended consequences or side effects of war and violence.  What is the role of writers – whether they be nonfiction reporters or poets – in explaining and, perhaps, protesting the injustices of war, if any?  Does Corbett’s role differ from Kaminsky’s?  Why or why not?  Do each of these writers successfully fill that role? Why or why not?

Sources required: Sara Corbett, “The Lost Boys,” Ilya Kaminsky, “We Lived Happily During the War,” and at least 1 outside source of your choosing


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