Below you will find a theme, (a unifying idea) in the book In the Dead of Summer. You may choose one or create one of your own.
- Social alienation: Using the viewpoints if the characters in the book, explain how the students and the teachers categorize each other by class, race and ethnicity.
- Character development: Trace the development of one or two of the characters: Amanda, Five, Flora or Woody. Explain how your perception of the character changed throughout the story.
- Shadowing about relationships: How does the relationship between April and Woody act as a backdrop for the paradoxes of love and companionship shown throughout the novel.
- Explain how April’s interpretation of the Romeo and Juliet story expresses her cultural differences between her and her classmates. How does this story reflect the relationship between April and Woody?
- History: In the Dead of Summer takes place in Philadelphia, where “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” have flourished for centuries. Why is the setting for this story so ironic?
- Investigate the reasons for ethnic and racial hatred. Explain how these attitudes are reflected in the story.
- Cultural differences: Many times here is a giant chasm between first-generation American children and immigrant parents. These differences occur due to cultural miscommunications. Apply this statement to the characters in the book.
- Compare a theme from the book to the movie, Freedom Writers.
- Explain the significance of the author’s use of Emma Lazarus’ poem on the bottom of the Statue of Liberty, Niemoller’s poem, First They Came for the Communists, and the parable about the blind men and the elephant.
- How to write:
State the theme you have chosen in a thesis sentence: i.e.: The theme of social alienation in the book, In the Dead of Summer, by Gillian Roberts, is shown on numerous levels throughout the story.
- Search for evidence pertaining to the theme in the book:“
- a.And then we had the students who gave my principal dyspepsia. They came from public schools, on special grants, and they had names like April Trong and Miguel Hernandez, and Jhabal Muhammed. (20)
- “I’m not comfortable with that, are you?” …” Them. I thought you were looking at them too.” (80) “ When we just passed them…” “Interracial dating, Aldis said, “Or are you one of those pro-diversities?” (81)
- Once you have found literary evidence in the book, research the topic you have chosen. You MUST use 3-5 research sources and the paper MUST be 3-5 pages typed, double spaced.
- Be sure you document your sources using the MLA style sheet:
-Works cited listed alphabetically by the author’s last name, first. If no author, begin with the title.
-In-text citations are listed by the author’s last name or if no name, begin with the title. (Roberts7)
–Works cited: (Book) Roberts, Gillian. In the Dead of Summer. Ballantine Books, New York. 1995.
-Electronic Source: Patel, Nilu: Gillian Roberts: A Biography.
- Your paper will be graded on the following criteria:
- Explanation and development of the theme. (5 points)
- Sufficient research (5 points)
c, Correct MLA format: in-text citations (5 points)
- Correct MLA format: in works cited page (5 points)
- Correct use of grammar, spelling, punctuation (5 points.)
If your paper does not meet these standards, you will not pass the class.
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