Compare/Contrast two Writers of the Harlem Renaissance

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Choose two writers from this week and compare their narrative tone, style, and theme; please respond in a five-paragraph APA essay format with quotes, proper in-text citations, and references. Please be sure to visit the lecture for more on each author.

Please be sure to include the following in your assignment submission:

1. Write a formal, 5-paragraph essay in APA format, including a cover page, in response to this question. Base your answer on your own observations and support your assertions quoting from your assigned readings.

2. Read the assigned readings. Highlight quotes, summarize, or paraphrase from this week’s readings and be sure to include an in-text citation in proper APA format (Author, year, p. X).

3. Include three quotes from our readings. When you discuss literature, it is all about the words before you. They are yours to consider and reflect on. You will want to make a strong assertion and prove it, or support it, by quoting from the readings. Include three quotes in our essay.

4. Create a strong thesis for your essay. A thesis states your main idea in a sentence. A sample thesis (which you are free to use) might be: Toni Morrison and Alice Walker are both award-winning authors that share a similar theme, yet they differ greatly in voice and characterization.

5. Be sure to include an APA reference page. For complete instructions on APA, see your college Online Library, which you can access through the Resources tab.


Zora Neale Hurston

Born to a Reverend father, Hurston lost her mother at the age of nine, attended school very little, and petitioned her way through prestigious schools until she won a scholarship to Barnard College, a division of Columbia College. The story we will read “The Gilded Six-Bits” was published in Story magazine. This publication caught the eye of an editor who urged her to write a novel, and her career was launched.

Pay attention to the repetition, rhythm, and word choice Hurston uses. “It was a Negro yard around a Negro house in a Negro settlement that looked to the payroll of the G. and G. Fertilizer works for its support” is an example of such repetition. “The front yard was parted in the middle by a sidewalk from gate to door-step, a sidewalk edged…” is an example of great word choice with a repetitive beat as “sidewalk” serves up a nice visual for her reader.

Consider Hurston’s use of dialogue in this piece is as well: “Whew! dat play-fight got me all worked up,” Joe exclaimed. “Got me some water in de kittle” (Bryant, 2010, p.64)? Why did Hurston choose to do this over simply saying, “Got water in the kettle?”

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes, a prolific and important artist of the Harlem Renaissance, shaped literary modernism. He wrote poems, plays, novels, short, stories, articles, and essays, and made a passionate effort to further views about humanity and equality. As an acclaimed novelist and gifted poet, Hughes “believed that if poetry was to be an agent of social change, it must appeal to Blacks of all classes, not simply the upper reaches of the black intelligentsia. The art the movement generated should draw on black vernacular materials-jazz and folk tales and spirituals-in order to grant African Americans a sense of racial identity and shared experience that would prove a powerful political tool” (Bryant, 2010, p. 85).

Claude McKay

Claude McKay , son of a Jamaican farmer, was an invited speaker abroad and poet/writer who “contributed to literature and politics and helped to change American and international conceptions of race, class, and colonialism” (Bryant, 2010, p. 92). His first novel, Home to Harlem, featured a rare glimpse of African-American life, World War I realities, and a picturesque journey through the United States.

Alice Walker

Alice Walker , best known for her novel and Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation, The Color Purple, brought many issues to the forefront: “race and gender oppression, physical and emotional abuse, relationships between individuals and among families and communities” (Bryant, 2010, p. 105). After losing sight in one eye from a childhood BB gun accident, she feared losing her sight in the other eye and began “storing up images against the fading light” (p. 105).

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-Winning author, is known for her characterization, creative genius, thought-provoking storytelling, and rhythmic prose. She may be best known for her novels, The Bluest Eye and Beloved.

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