You are to write an essay comparing two poems—”All-American” by David Hernandez (p. 491-492 in the textbook) and “America” by Tony Hoagland (p. 524—525). Your essay should first present your “reading” on one poem and then add various outside sources from the internet that comment on the poem. After completing this part of the essay (let’s call it Part One of the essay), you will discuss the other poem and add outside commentary to this other poem’s discussion (Part Two of the essay). The third part of the essay—the conclusion—will mingle discussion of the two poems, providing concluding remarks on both poems.
You must devise a thesis statement, presented in your essay’s opening paragraph, that expresses a central idea about what you intend to bring up and bring out about the poems. You will weave into the essay’s discussion various internet sources of commentary on each poem as you discuss it.
Remember that you are not being asked to present only the views of outside sources on the poems.
Your “reading” of each poem is the primary source of the poems’ discussion, and the outside sources (called secondary sources) that you draw on should enhance your own personal discussion. Whenever you cite an outside source, i.e., use it in a discussion of a poem, you must present the source in streamlined form within parentheses. Consult pages 909-910 in the textbook about Parenthetical References. Every parenthetical reference in your essay will have to be matched by Works Cited reference of that same source. Works Cited is an alphabetical listing of all sources used in the essay, including our textbook for reference to the poems themselves. Consult pages 905-909 in the textbook about the creation of a Works Cited list. Also, look over Chapter 33, The Literary Research Paper, pages 899-905.
The poems of the assignment, “All-American” by David Hernandez (p. 490-91) and “America” by Tony Hoagland (p. 524-25), should be carefully analyzed and discussed regarding the views of American life that they express in poetry. What and how do the poems present their views of America and American culture? Besides your own detailed discussion of each poem, you must present material outside the poems from published internet discussions of them and weave that material into your discussion of each poem. All you outside sources will be indicated in abbreviated form in parenthetical citation when you refer to them in the essay, and they must also be listed alphabetically (usually by author’s last name) on a separate Works Cited page of the essay.
One poem may indeed have more outside sources on it than the other. However, use as many sources as you can find that add meaning on top of your own “take” on the poems. If one poem has practically no outside sources, then rely on your detailed analysis of that poem alone. In concluding your essay, you will compare and contrast the two poems you have already discussed one after the other.
The essay must follow MLA format and be 3-5 pages. Quality, not quantity, of words, is what matters.
The completed essay is due Thursday, May 14 before midnight.
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