Quicksand

Write an essay about Quicksand. Your essay should not be a description of the text you are writing about, or of its plot. (In other words, it should not be a book report.) Rather, your essay should revolve around a central thesis, or argument that you are making about the text. And you must support your central argument and main points with textual evidence — specific examples from the text consisting of both summary and direct quotations. Your essay should be written in MLA format. It should be 4-5 pages long, double-spaced, in Times New Roman font, with one inch margins on all sides of the page. Do not include a separate title page. Instead, put your name, my name, the course title, and the date in the upper left-hand corner of the first page. Then center the title of your essay below this information with no extra spaces above or below it. (Do not underline, italicize or bold your title, put it in a different font, or put quotation marks around it.) Create a header at the top right-hand corner of each page of your essay that contains your last name followed by the page number. Brainstorming Questions for Essay 2 1. Nella Larsen, Quicksand * How do you see competing philosophies of “racial uplift” explored in Quicksand? * How is race explored as a social construct in Quicksand? Do we want to do away with the idea of race altogether so that it no longer shapes our identity as individuals? Or, is race something we want to focus on in positive ways? Is it even possible to do away with race as an identity marker? * How do you see W.E.B. Dubois’ concept of “double consciousness” explored in the novel? * Why can’t Helga find happiness and self-fulfillment? What do double-consciousness and stereotypes about race, gender, and black female sexuality have to do with Helga’s inability to be happy? * What things in addition to those mentioned in the bullet above prevent Helga from being happy and self-fulfilling? * How is Helga’s desire to live the good life – to live among upper middle class Black society – incompatible with her desire to self-fulfill? What is the significance of the text’s emphasis on Helga’s love of material things? * How does this book explore the psychological difficulty of defying/not conforming to expectations? * Aside from race, is there a feminist critique in this text? A Marxist, or economic one? Explore these on their own or as they combine with race.

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