The final exam essay will be an analytical essay that proposes and defends a thesis based on a key theme in one of the following texts, or a comparison and contrast essay about a theme that connects two of the following texts:
Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape (critical essays, interviews);
Street Lit magazine (critical essays, interviews);
Ghetto: Invention of a Place, History of an Idea (chapters 1-2);
The Coldest Winter Ever;
The Last Street Novel;
**Themes that you might consider but are not limited to:
–Street lit’s exploration of masculinity– social enforcement thereof; Midnight and/or Raul as apotheosis; Omar Tyree meta-narrative; toxic masculinity.
–Street lit’s depictions of women and girls– progressive vs. regressive visions; Sister Souljah meta-narrative; dynamic and problematic women (Marisol, Winter, Cynthia);
–Street lit meta-narratives Sister Souljah in Coldest Winter Ever; Shareef Crawford in Last Street Novel;
–Sex work– de Leon’s dialectic in Uptown Thief; de Leon interview.
–Harlem/NYC– as home; as cultural nexus; as locus of danger; Spanish Harlem.
–Mass incarceration– Coldest Winter Ever; Kristina Graaff interview
–Sociological and cultural context of contemporary street lit: see critical essays, interviews w/ Thompson, Tyree, de Leon.
*Use of secondary sources (critical essays and interviews from the street lit anthology and magazine) is encouraged.
*Note that if you have already analyzed a text for the mid-term or presentation, you can only write about it again in comparison/contrast to one of the other texts that you have not written about, or a text that you introduce that is not part of the required reading curriculum.
Length: 4-8 pages
12″, double-spaced, Times New Roman
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