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Writing Prompt

Paper #4


Annotated Bibliography: Tuesday, April 16
Outline with Draft Thesis, Topic Sentences, and Quotes: Thursday, April 18
Rough Draft for Peer Review: Tuesday, April 23
Final Draft: Thursday, April 25



The primary source for this paper will be The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu, but you will also use 3-4 outside sources to make an argument about one of the topics listed below. Outside sources should be scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. Any sources that are not scholarly, peer reviewed articles must have specific approval from me and should be from reputable publications.

Papers must be 6-8 pages long, use correct MLA format, and include a works cited page.


1. As immigrants, Stephanos and his friends struggle find a home and sense of identity in a foreign land. What does their experience tell us about the immigrant experience generally and the African immigrant experience in particular? Use your research to make an argument about a particular aspect of the immigrant experience that needs attention.

2. Stephanos and his friends repeatedly comment on what an “American” is or does. Using an analysis of these statements, what does the novel tell us about the so-called “American Dream”? Using your research, consider the effects that a pursuit of the “American Dream” has on those for whom that feels unreachable.

3. The Logan Circle neighborhood Stephanos lives in changes over the course of the novel, becoming increasingly gentrified with an influx of money and white residents. Using your research, make an argument about the effects of gentrification or “urban renewal” in neighborhoods and the way those effects are demonstrated in the novel.

4. Judith represents the growing white population in the Logan Circle neighborhood. Write a paper that uses research on the intersecting issues of race and socioeconomics to make an argument about the way Mengestu represents types of privilege in the novel.

5. Design your own prompt. All student-designed prompts MUST BE APPROVED by me before annotated bibliographies are due on April 16.


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