Analyzing a Passage from The Souls of Black Folk Chapter 1 and Making Connections

Length: 500-750 words, not including the quoted passage.

By asking you to analyze a single passage from W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, this assignment asks that you slow down and pay attention to how you make sense of the passage and Du Bois’s chapter as a whole.

Directions:

1.) Choose a paragraph from Chapter 1 of The Souls of Black Folk that you find especially intriguing or compelling for some reason. Your passage should be about 5-10 sentences long.

2.) Copy the full passage onto the top of your first page (including a parenthetical citation where you state the author’s last name) and then analyze the features of the passage. This means you will break down what is happening and what it means, paying close attention to textual elements such as the passage’s vocabulary, tone, and any effective techniques (such as metaphors). For example, you may want to address the kinds of associations you have with certain words or identify repetition or contradictions that you notice. I would recommend you spend at least 2-3 paragraphs on this task. Don’t rush to make meaning or tell us what it is about. You want your writing to show that you have thought deeply about how Du Bois is constructing his chapter and conveying his meaning.

3.) Once you have examined the passage closely, discuss how the passage connects to general themes in the chapter as a whole or the writing techniques that Du Bois uses. In other words, once you have completed a close analysis of your passage, contemplate its place in or contribution to the meaning of the text as a whole. I would recommend you spend 1-2 paragraphs on this task.

4.) Conclude with a paragraph where you make connections between Chapter 1 of Du Bois and “The Allegory of the Cave” OR Du Bois and examples of anti-Black racism or other forms of discrimination in the 21st century (post-2000).

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