| OMAM Topic #1: The Needs Served by Relationships
All human beings develop relationships with others because those relationships fill particular needs. Those needs may be physical, economic, psychological, or social. Analyze the complex relationship between George and his mentally challenged friend, Lennie. Research and write an essay in which you explain the needs of each character that are filled by the other. Be sure to address all of the areas of need identified above. Be sure to cite examples from the text.
OMAM Topic #2: Steinbeck as Social Critic
Many of Steinbeck’s novels address social problems that impact his characters. There are three social problems that are explored in this novel: the treatment of poor people, the attitude of people toward those who are mentally challenged, and the racism shown toward African Americans. Researh and write an essay about how these social problems are shown in Of Mice and Men. Be sure to cite examples from the text.
OMAM Topic#3: The Role of Minor Characters in "Of Mice and Men"
. Lennie and George are the two main characters in Of Mice and Men, but there is a cast of “minor” characters as well. These characters include Candy, Curley, Crooks, and Slim. Using one or more of these “minor” characters, explain their importance to the overall story. Be sure to note the characteristics that these minor characters share with Lennie and George (namely, loneliness), but characteristics that may differ, too.
OMAM Topic #4: Profound Loneliness
A common emotion experienced by all of the characters in Of Mice and Men is loneliness. Research and write an essay in which you evaluate all the characters and how they show their loneliness. Be sure to cite examples from the text.
ARITS Topic #1: The Roles of Dreams in A Raisin in the Sun
Each of the characters in the Younger family has a dream. One wants to move to a bigger home, one wants to be a doctor, one wants to rise above his conditions by owning his own business. Each person’s dream serves an important psychological function (i.e.: hope, motivation, direction) for the character; however, the dreams also create conflict among them.
Research and write a paper about the characters’ dreams and how they conflict with each other.
ARITS Topic #2: The Significance of the Title "A Raisin in the Sun"
The title of Hansberry’s play refers to the Langston Hughes poem, “A Dream Deferred.” “What happens to a dream deferred?” asked Hughes. “Does it shrivel up like a raisin in the sun?” Think about the ending of this play. Research and write a paper in which you discuss how Hansberry does or does not answer Hughes’s questions through the characters in her play. Explain the meaning of the play’s title as part of your discussion.
ARITS Topic #3: The Development of the Younger Family
One of the most important themes in "A Raisin in the Sun" is the unity of the family. At first, the Youngers are presented as a family that is loving, but their conflicts show up over the course of the play. Yet by the play’s end, the family members have been able to overcome their differences and support one another in the fight for a common cause: that of overcoming the racial discrimination they face as they move to a new home in a white neighborhood. Research and write a paper in which you discuss how the Younger family develops, both as individuals and as a family unit, during the play. One example: how did Mama change toward her children over the course of the play?
ARITIS Topic #4 Gender Issues in A Raisin in the Sun
Generally speaking, the male characters in A Raisin in the Sun are shown as irresponsible (Walter, Travis), lacking in direction or assimilationist (George), or hostile (Mr. Lindner), while the female characters are responsible (Mama), ambitious (Beneatha), supporting and nurturing (Ruth). Research and write a paper in which you identify the gender attitudes in the play, giving examples from the play Additionally, tell whether the characters change by the play’s end. If so, identify what motivated them to change.
ARITS Topic #5: The Role of Minor Characters in "A Raisin in the Sun"
Oftentimes, minor characters can actually have great importance, either to the meaning or the actions of the play. In A Raisin in the Sun there is a handful of minor characters: Asagai, Willy, Bobo, George, Mrs. Johnson, Lindner. Choose one or more of the minor characters in A Raisin in the Sun and research and write a paper in which you analyze the roles that they play in the development of the story. Discuss also whether the inclusion of these minor characters is necessary to develop the play’s message.
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