Bodies Essay, Research Paper

History and Society Foundation

Fall 2000

Professor Joan Weston

Part 1

(30 points)

Bodies in Motion is the title of the History and Society foundation course that examines the meaning of migration within and to the United States in the 20th century. The words bodies and motion are metaphors for understanding transformations of the heart and mind as well as the transformations of the social, cultural, and political landscapes that define in their totality what is meant by the American dream. In an essay, discuss the concepts body and motion using one text from groups 1 and four texts from group 2. Make sure your essay has a clear thesis statement and conceptual subpoints. Exams are due on December 16, 12:00, Hollister 102.

Group 1

Michael Gold, Jews Without Money (autobiographical novel)

William Foote Whyte, Street Corner Society (ethnography)

Nella Larsen, Passing (novel)

Mine Okubo, Citizen 13600 (graphic memoir)

Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (play)

Group 2

Piri Thomas, Down These Mean Streets (autobiographical novel)

Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (ethnography)

Nigel Finch, ?Stonewall? (film)

Michael Downing, Breakfast With Scot ( novel)

Work in Progress (film)

Part II

(20 points)

In a short analytical essay, discuss the relationship between agency and social structure using one character from each of the text from group two. Remember to organize your ideas around a strong thesis statement that asserts your claim about the relationship between agency and social structure. Also use conceptual subpoints to help guide the development of your argument.

Part III

(10 points each)

Identify the text from which each passage is taken (1 point). Provide a brief analysis of the passage, paying particular attention the context from which it is located (4 points). Discuss how the passage relates to the author?s core argument regarding internal migration and social mobility (5 points).

1.Although they suffered far worse losses per capita than the South Vietnamese, whose agonies were featured daily in the American press, the Hmong were almost completely overlooked?. When the Hmong were mentioned, the crucial element of American involvement was usually missing from the account, either because the reporter couldn?t confirm it or because the information was embargoed.

2.Moving into a new block is a big jump for a Harlem Kid. You?re torn up from your hard-won turf and brought into an ?I don?t know you? block where every kid is some kind of enemy. Even the block belongs to your own people, you are still an outsider who has to prove himself a down stud with heart.

3.I said. ?Do you ever fake it?? I think I meant. Who are you? For eleven years he had lived as the child of a sweet, sad junkie whose maternal instinct had turned suicidal. His father had waived his rights to see him before he was born? I had discussed the effect Scot had on me and on Sam and on other people. But Scot was a stranger, a black hole, a cast-off pair of pajamas. Whoever he was, whoever he might have been, I realized it wasn?t going to be easy for him to cast off Greg Koester?s disapproval, or the oddity of having gay guardians instead of regular parents, or the memory of being tripped while he carried his tray in the cafeteria.

4.You see that window up there? That?s the palace of dreams. I?ve made an appointment for you to go there.

5.Choose a passage from one of the texts from group 2.

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