Instructions How to Write

Paying Dues and Singing the Blues in Harlem

Assignment about James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues:
What is the central idea of the story or essay?
Who is the targeted audience?
Whose story is it?
How effective are the flashbacks?
Why is Sonny’s brother unnamed?
Implicit in our title is the concept of suffering. How does that drive the story?

A critical analysis will allow you to examine each point and show how they work together as parts of a whole to achieve the author’s purpose. Such an analysis involves your interpretation of the work. With this in mind, you must use the following pattern to structure your paper: NOTE: You cannot use the seven elements of fiction on non-fictive work.

First paragraph: In the first sentence identify the author and the title of the work being analyzed. Next, briefly summarize the content of the work. Finally, install and underline your thesis statement at the end of


this paragraph. This should use no more than half a page and it should incorporate three points that you plan to examine.



Second paragraph: Open with a thesis sentence that introduces your first point. Analyze this point. Be sure to include quotes from the text to support/explicate your position and to support your interpretation of the work. You must explain each quote you use. Be sure to use the 1,2,3 step process. Additionally, each step requires a complete sentence. DO NOT USE DROPPED QUOTES.
Third paragraph: Explain the impact of your first point. 1, 2, 3.
Fourth paragraph: Identify and analyze your second point. Include quotations from the text to support your analysis and interpretation. Explain each quote.
Fifth paragraph: Show why your second point is important. Remember that each of the body paragraphs must include quotes that you must explain.
Sixth paragraph: Identify and analyze your last point. Use quotes and explain what they mean.


Seventh paragraph: Explain the importance of the three points.

Final paragraph: Draw a conclusion that sums up the essence of the analysis. Do not simply restate your main points, however. Take a step beyond and offer a directive or evaluation concerning the effectiveness of the work.

If you must use outside sources, however, they have to be documented. Refer to the handbook, Robert S. Levine - The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 1-W. W. Norton & Company (2016) for the proper methods. Any quotes taken from that textbook may be simply cited with parenthetical documentation. EX: (176). Failure to cite quoted material is plagiarism.

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