essay must be at least 5 full pages

The primary text I chose is The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and the Theoretical text I chose is Ain’t I a Woman

Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks

Keywords are Feminism and racism


Final Essay Guidelines

The purpose of this paper is for you to demonstrate your ability to apply a theoretical stance to a primary literary text of your choice. Not only will you be working closely with a primary literary text, but you will also be working with at least one primary theoretical texts— possibility doing further reading based on a quotation I provided for writing prompts (or something you discovered through our class presentations).

Obviously your essay should be persuasive: it should assert a specific, complex claim about the work in question and present a reasoned argument in support of your central idea. Moreover, it should demonstrate your ability to work within a critical framework, utilizing the ideas of a theorist to shed light on a particular aspect of a literary work.

An important reminder: your argument about the primary literary text should not be dependent upon your critical framework. It should be able to stand on its own based upon your analysis of textual evidence. The critical framework and you utilize should enhance and complicate your discussion, not create it.

Primary Text Options

You must approve your text with me (prior to the proposal deadline would be smart!), but I want to keep your options as flexible as I can. I recommend shorter works of any creative literary genre written for a non-specific audience, including graphic novels ( but no YA). You may also work on television or film. (If I am missing something let me know).

Theoretical Text Options

Anything we have talked about that falls under one of the theories we’ve studied is fair game, although if there is something else you are interested in, let me know and we can discuss it. The main challenge here is identifying a theorist you want to actually read—this might mean an excerpt in an anthology or a complete book chapter—but you will need to get on this soon. Finally, identify a keyword associated with that theorist and make certain that it plays a role in your essay.

Banned Texts

At this point, you need to move beyond summaries, so no quoting of secondary sources (no Schmoop, no Bennett and Royle).


Please make certain that your paper is double-spaced, has one-inch margins, and that the pages are numbered. Use the correct format for parenthetical citations or internal offset quotations (see MLA guidelines) and remember to include a Works Cited page, which should include a citation for the text itself and for all other sources you utilize in your essay.

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