Sonny’s Blues or A Rose for Emily Custom Paper

Topic Ideas for a Research Paper
?Sonny’s Blues?
1. Read the Cain and Abel story in the Bible and comment on the ways in which Sonny’s Blues is a retelling, revision or modernization of this Biblical tale.

2. What is the "cup of trembling" referred to in the last line? How does this Biblical allusion work to help the reader understand what will or has happened to Sonny, his brother, their family and their community?

3. In what ways does the singer in Langston Hughes’s "The Weary Blues" compare to Sonny? Make a case for the claim that James Baldwin had read Hughes’s poem before writing Sonny’s Blues and meant his story to be some sort (you decide what sort) of a comment on or response to "The Weary Blues."

4. Read the following poems: "I, Too," "Dream Variations," "Mother to Son," "Harlem," and "Theme for English B," by Langston Hughes and "We Real Cool," The Rites for Cousin Vit," and "kitchenette building," by Gwendolyn Brooks. Select a few of the poems. Then write an essay in which you explore the imagery and messages of the poems (the struggles of the protagonists, the landscape of Harlem, living despite poverty and racial discrimination, etc.) as they compare to the struggles of Sonny and his brother.

5. Listen to the songs "Am I Blue," "The Weary Blues," something by Louis Armstrong and something by Charlie Parker. Then write an essay in which you explore these different sounds of jazz/blues music. Which song(s) do you feel best express the theme of "Sonny’s Blues," and why?

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