Part 1: Take a look at the Literary Timeline in Lessons. Choose any work that we have read in this class and examine some of the historical events preceding its publication, according to the timeline. Discuss how one or more historical event that takes place no more than 20 years before the publication of the work might be seen as influencing the theme or overall message of the work.
Use this story: John Steinbeck “The Chrysanthemums”
Part 2: “Yet Do I Marvel” contains many classical references. Look up the meaning of one of them. Explain what that reference contributes to your understanding of the poem. How does it relate to the overall message?
Part 3: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” also connects a people to a symbol that is timeless and ‘of the earth’. This is not the first work we’ve seen that discusses rivers. Water is a symbol in many works. Discuss how it appears in Hughes’s poem and in two other works we’ve read this term; what does water seem to represent in these works?
American Modernism (1910-1945) Chapter 4: The Harlem Renaissance
Langston Hughes: Author Bio
“The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
“Mother to Son”
Countee Cullen: Author Bio
Countee Cullen: “Yet Do I Marvel”
Zora Neale Hurston: Author Bio
Zora Neale Hurston: “Spunk”