Describe the individual’s attempt to conform to society’s expectations in the following poem. Langston Hughes “Harlem”

Describe the individual’s attempt to conform to society’s expectations in the following poem. Langston Hughes “Harlem”

Describe the individual’s attempt to conform to society’s expectations in the following poem. What is the effect on the individual?


Selecting one, or at the very most two, of the poems we have read for this section as a base text, choose a topic which sparks your imagination and gets your mind working. Your goal is to discover your special interests within the boundaries of the assignment. Explore the topic to discover implications, possibilities, and relations not considered before. Even though each topic may list more than one work, CHOOSE ONLY ONE OR TWO OF THE POEMS LISTED TO DEVELOP YOUR THESIS. Use two poems for analysis ONLY when a comparison or contrast between the two reveals something significant about the topic or thesis.

Next, develop a working thesis (topic your attitude your purpose) by asking yourself what central ideas emerges from the work you have done so far, how you can frame that idea as an assertion about your topic, and how you can convey your purpose and attitude in that assertion.

Then develop a list/cluster/outline (whichever you prefer) of the main and secondary points that you will develop in your essay. Apply order to ideas so that connections, distinctions, hierarchies, overlaps, and gaps will be apparent. This process helps you control and understand your topic, and helps you clearly see your central theme and how ideas fit into it. Collect a list of supporting details and quotations from the story that help to illustrate or prove your thesis and secondary points made to prove that thesis.

Finally, review the expectations of your general audience:

Your “general audience” includes people of diverse backgrounds and interests who read newspapers and magazines such as Time and Newsweek. These readers are skeptical and easily distracted, but they are also curious and thoughtful. They may not share all your interests, but they can understand and appreciate anything you write, as long as it is specific, clear, honest, and fresh. They will expect you to explain any specialized terms you use and to support any assertions you make with ample details, examples, and reasons. Further, they will expect you to present yourself as thoughtful and competent, the master of your information, and a careful writer. An appropriate tone depends on the topic and writing situation, but a moderate and assured tone will almost always work.

Evaluate your purpose, tone, information, and development according to those expectations. Have you met the needs of your reading audience?

Paper format: All final drafts of papers should be typed, double-spaced, 800 – 1200 words. I recommend that the final draft include your name, your instructor’s name, the course number, and the date on the top left of the first page, as specified in the MLA guidelines. The title of the paper should be centered just below the identifying information. The format of the paper should otherwise follow the MLA guidelines or the APA guidelines (whichever you choose depending upon your major of study) as described in the Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab <link is hidden> (Links to an external site.), which includes parenthetical citations of quotations and a Works Cited page.

For each individual literary work, list the author’s name in last name, first name format, the title of the work, the translator’s name, the publisher’s name, and the date of publication:

Last name, First name. Title of Work. Translator’s name. Publisher, date.

Examples are:

Bishop, Elizabeth. “The Fish.” North & South. Houghton Mifflin, 1946.

Frost, Robert. “Birches.” Mountain Interval. Henry Holt, 1916.

Piercy, Marge. “Barbie Doll.” Off Our Backs. 1(19): 7, 1971.

Updike, John. “Ex-Basketball Player.” The New Yorker, July 6, 1957 P. 62.


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