New Orleans Literature
New Orleans Literature
In at least 1,000 words, craft a well-organized essay (with introduction, conclusion, and body paragraphs) answering one of the following prompts. Be sure to build body paragraphs around clear claims and to include textual evidence (quotes and specific examples) in each body paragraph. Submit as word doc (docx).
One of the most pervasive aspects of the myth as well as historical reality of New Orleans is violent crime. Sociologically, the high rates of violent crime have been most common among the city’s poor, and often among the African-American poor. How does Tom Dent’s “Ritual Murder” explain the phenomenon of black urban crime? What are the reasons for it? Who are the victims and perpetrators? Why is the problem apparently so intractable?
Fatima Shaik’s “Climbing Monkey Hill” depicts New Orleans at a key moment in the history of the American South, de-segregation. Since her protagonist is a 13 year-old girl, we see the shaping of the racial consciousness of one African-American New Orleanian take place before our eyes. How does the revolutionary racial situation affect Levia emotionally? How does she understand race and racial difference? What lessons does she learn from the turbulent times? Finally, how does the story suggest possibilities for both success and failure of the project to create a racially harmonious, just, and integrated society?
How do Everette Maddox and Andrei Codrescu convey New Orleans exceptionalist attitudes in their poetry? How do they depict the city as a place of wonder, magic, and aesthetic and/or sensual intensity? How do they contrast the city with what they understand to be more mainstream American culture?
How does Tennessee Williams depict sex and sexuality in “Vieux Carré?” How does he celebrate New Orleans and excoriate it at the same time as a site of sexual freedom as well as sexual exploitation?
Analyze the relationships among transplants, natives, and tourists in “Vieux Carré.”
Analyze Lyle Saxon’s “The Centaur Plays Croquet” as a symbolist parable. How does it portray the possibilities of sexual difference in a repressed society? How can it be perceived as a metaphor for gay life at the time? Also discuss how the story assesses the value and dangers of fantasy as a coping strategy in a repressive social world.