Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun: Short Comparative Research

Short Comparative Research Paper Assignment: Write a short research paper in which you quote, summarize, and paraphrase two different scholarly critiques of Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.” You will find these two scholarly articles written by two literary critics on EbscoHost. The lecture for this week describes how to find your two scholarly sources on “A Raisin in the Sun” using EbscoHost. It also looks at how to cite scholarly works in the Works Cited.
What kind of paper NOT to write: I am not asking for a paper that summarizes “A Raisin in the Sun,” and I am not asking for a paper or a thesis about “A Raisin in the Sun.” The purpose of this assignment is to steep you in the literary analyses of this play written by two scholars who do this for a living. The assignment leads you to read two professional interpretations of Hansberry’s classic drama. Your thesis is to be an assertion about these two literary analyses, not about the play itself.
What you should write: Write a comparison or contrast paper in which you describe how the two scholarly critiques you have found on “A Raisin in the Sun” share (or don’t share) similar points of view on the drama.
Length of paper: The paper should run no less than two-and-a-half pages in length.
Title of essay: The title of your essay should be a two-part title (separated by a colon) that contains the last names of the two authors and that hints at your thesis or angle.
Introduction paragraph: The first paragraph of your paper should be a four-step introduction paragraph. See the formatting checklist for directions on how to do this. It is located in the syllabus tab for this course.
Thesis statement: Your thesis statement should be italicized and take the form of While Smith sees X in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” Garcia gives more emphasis to Y. Just be sure the “x” and the “y” assert something of significance.
What kind of thesis statement NOT to write: Be sure your thesis doesn’t just say the two authors have some similarities or differences. That only states the obvious. Instead, assert what the differences are between the two authors. This will make your thesis statement substantive and give you something concrete to support in your paper. The rest of your paper should then develop and support for this contention (your thesis statement). Use the name of the two scholars often in your paper (Smith also argues that …). Do this starting with the introduction paragraph.
How to handle the title of the play: When you cite the play, place the title in quote marks (not italics). Example: Smith says that in “A Raisin in the Sun” Hansberry constructed a world of …
How to organize your paper: After your introduction paragraph, choose one of these two ways to organize the body of your essay:
The umbrella approach: Here each of your topic sentences name both authors as you contrast one similarity or difference about them in each paragraph. Your topic sentences will show right away if you are writing a comparative analysis of these two authors (and not Hansberry or her play). This is sometimes called an umbrella topic sentence because your topic sentence gives an “umbrella” assertion about both authors instead of starting with a sentence that plunges directly into details about just one or the other authors and their analyses.
The block approach: With this organizational approach, each paragraph is about just one of the authors, with the next paragraph offering a contrasting (or comparing) view of the same topic with the other author. Your paragraphs go back and forth between the two authors as you move from difference (or similarity) to difference.
Use transition phrases/words when you shift from one author to the other: For either organizational approach above, you need to use transition words and phrases as you move from one author to the next. Examples: By contrast, likewise, on the other hand, at the same time, similarly, etc.
Quote and paraphrase: Study these four ways of quoting and paraphrasing carefully and use them in your essay. Notice how they are constructed and where commas and quote marks go or don’t go.
Author-centered quotes:
Smith writes, “The problem is not complex or complicated” (45).

Idea-centered quotes:
“The problem is not complex or complicated” (Smith 45).

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Author-centered paraphrases:
Smith believes the problem is simple.

Idea-centered paraphrases:
The problem is simple (Smith).
Works Cited bibliography: List Hansberry and the two other authors for a total of three sources. Let EbscoHost format Works Cited entries for you. I explain how to do this in the Formatting Checklist in the course syllabus. Also, this website is helpful for how to format these sources in proper MLA format: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/

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