Summer 2021

Final Assignment (Reflective Annotated Bibliography) Due: Thursday, July 1

Excellent work discussing A Raisin in the Sun, students. You did a fine job analyzing key themes and lines as well as making interesting connections to our earlier plays. Your discussions on the complicated issue of race in the play and the ongoing implications of this topic were also intriguing.

Yesterday, for example, New Yorkers went to the polls to elect their Democratic candidate for mayor (the person who will certainly become mayor in the general election in November). It’s interesting that Eric Adams (a graduate of City Tech and John Jay College) seems to be leading at the moment. Look at the attached article and map to see what sections of NYC voted for which candidate. It’s clear certain New Yorkers in certain parts of NYC prefer specific candidates — with race and ethnicity seeming to play big roles here. I’d love to hear your comments.

I also want to share this fantastic opening video of the new musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda: In the Heights. Writing on this film is an option for your final assignment.

For our last assignment, I am asking you to complete a Reflective Annotated Biography (RAB) on a play you particularly liked this semester (Oedipus, Lysistrata, Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Raisin in the Sun, or a recent musical — see below). I ask that you 1) find TWO articles that you found interesting on your selected play and, 2) summarize and discuss these articles.

Here is the full assignment:

Step I:  Find two articles on one play we have read this semester.

To find your articles, you can do a google search and/or use our library databases:  Gale Literary Sources OR Humanities Source . Since you’re off campus, you’ll need to login (instructions here). [This link to A Midsummer Night’s Dream also has some excellent links to readings of the play.]

Step II: Complete the following Reflective Annotated Bibliography (RAB)

  • Paragraph One: Introduction
    • Briefly discuss the play and author you choose to focus on. Why did you choose to focus on this play? Then,  briefly introduce  your two articles and why they interested you.
  • Paragraph Two: Provide the title of article #1 and a summary of its key ideas (what’s it about?) Pullout 1-2 key quotes that are representative of the article’s major ideas. Provide a personal reflection on the article (your opinion on the content).
  • Paragraph Three. Do the same (as above) for article #2
  • Paragraph Four: Conclusion
    • Reflect on the sources you have selected, and explain how your own thinking or approach to the play has expanded or changed


Here is an excellent sample RAB, written by Brian, that you can use for a model.

If you prefer, you could do this assignment on a new musical such as:

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new film In the Heights (2021) or his Hamilton (2015)

[Here is the text of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s play Hamilton (2015)]


August Wilson’s recent film (based on his  play) Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)

If you choose to write your RAB in response to In the Heights, you might want to find articles on the controversy over its casting of light-skinned Latino actors (a problem known as “colorism.”) This is an important topic, especially after reading “A Raisin in the Sun.” Another great follow-up to “A Raisin” is August Wilson’s play, part of a series of plays on African American life.


JUNETEENTH is now a Federal Holiday!!!

Dear Students,

As we read Lorraine Hansberry’s majestic play “A Raisin in the Sun,” let’s take time to celebrate our new Federal Holiday: JUNETEENTH.  This Saturday (and every June 19th) marks the end of slavery in the United States following the Civil War (1861-1865).  Please watch a brief video on the signing of this bill by President Biden and VP Harris as well as an article on events taking place in NYC and Brooklyn this weekend.

Week 3: Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” (1959). Post Due: Tuesday, June 22nd (by midnight).

First View my Video Lecture: HERE



**Download  for easier full screen reading of the pdf**

  • Post: Discuss any aspect of the play that interests you such as the setting (time, space, and place), key lines, character development, structure (division of acts, acenes), gender roles, intersectionality, the play in the context of African American history, the concept of “assimilation,” lessons (or key ideas), connections to Oedipus Rex, Lysistrata, or A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the relevance of the play for 2021, etc.
  • Also discuss what you like best about the film and/or how it is different from the play.
  • Read earlier student posts (and comment on one of them). Do not repeat what a student before you has posted.

Additional resources on the play, film, and author:

Book Review: Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry

P. Diddy on “Raisin”  and Film Trailer

Hansberry’s NY home, important to recognize, especially during Pride

Scholar Dr. Imani Perry on Lorraine Hansberry’s family and “Raisin” (includes footage of 1961 Sidney Poitier film)

Interview with filmmaker Lenny Leon, Interview 

Week 2: William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Post on Play due Monday, June 14 (by midnight)

Hi Everyone,

You did a wonderful job with your posts on Oedipus Rex and Lysistrata (and some intrepid souls even posted on Spike Lee’s amazing film Chi-Raq). [I will be posting all grades in the gradebook link on course site.] Read through these posts (and my responses) again to get a fuller appreciation of the richness, genius, and wisdom of the playwrights Sophocles and Aristophanes (and Brooklyn filmmaker Spike Lee!!!).

Please watch my video lecture “Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age,” which introduces our next author and work.   Once you watch my video, I ask that you read Shakespeare’s greatest (in my opinion) Romantic Comedy: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1596).  A mature play published after “Romeo and Juliet,” it’s a brilliant, fun, and zany exploration of true love, true hate, and the arbitrariness of human emotions. As Puck, the mischievous spirit, famously says: “What Fools These Mortals Be”!  Indeed, especially when it comes to love!

This week’s homework is as follows:

Read:  William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596)

If you prefer, here is a modern text translation of the play. You can read the modern translation next to Shakespeare’s original text.

View: Film adaptation of the play (1968) by the Royal Shakespeare Company (on Amazon Prime).  I recommend watching the film with the SUBTITLES to fully enjoy Shakespeare’s magnificent language.

For a wonderful theater-esque experience, I also recommend the NYC “Shakespeare in the Park” production (1982):  (Midsummer Night’s Dream Part I,  MND Part II) .

It’s somewhat long but wonderful and gives a sense of what it’s like to watch a live play in New York’s Outdoor Delacourte Theatre.  This summer “Shakespeare in the Park” is producing Shakespeare’s “Merry Wives of Windsor” — more on this amazing event later.

Post a Response to a speech, scene, character, theme, or other dramatic element that you find particularly intriguing (due Monday, June 14).  BE SURE YOU DON’T REPEAT WHAT A PREVIOUS STUDENT HAS WRITTEN.  DON’T USE OUTSIDE SOURCES FOR THIS. I WANT TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK.  The modern text translation of the play may be helpful here.

REMINDER: To post a comment, simply click on “comments” (above), write comment, and “post”

Possible themes and topics to consider (be sure to provide quotes to support your assertions):

  • The challenges (frustrations and humiliations) of love
  • The role of dreams (and the forest) as representative of the human subconscious
  • Puck’s love of mischievousness (the role of the troublemaker or “trickster” figure)
  • Transformation (theatre/art as chance to view alternative possibilities) (human fickleness)
  • Reason vs. unreason (desire) as opposing forces
  • The natural world (of chaos and play) set against the urban world (of laws and obedience)
  • Gender/power issues in the play (how is power over others played out?)
  • Analysis of the play-within-the-play (what’s so funny about Bottom’s group of actors? What role does it play?)
  • The moon as a symbol of “lunacy” – Night vs. Day as symbolism
  • Inconstancy vs. constancy (who stays true to themselves? who changes affections regularly?)
  • Illusion vs. reality (how does play help viewers distinguish between each?)

Extra Credit: Read William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1601) and/or watch the 1948 film version of Hamlet (featuring Lawrence Olivier).

For an excellent modern rendition, I recommend the film starring Mel Gibson (Hamlet).

Opportunities with NYPIRG — posted for KEVIN DUGAN

Hello everyone! NYPIRG, the student advocacy group at City Tech, is offering opportunities to join students from across New York this summer in advocacy and volunteer opportunities. To learn more, please visit https://bit.ly/NYPSUM21.

Every other week throughout the summer, NYPIRG will be hosting citywide Student Activist Meet-Ups and Student Leader Meetings. Student Activist Meet-Ups allow you to join students from all across New York to learn about how you can get involved, as well as learning new skills from NYPIRG staff members. Student Leader Meetings are based on NYPIRG’s different issue projects including environmental protection, higher education affordability, establishing a public bank, improving our mass transit, and so much more! If you are at a campus with a NYPIRG chapter in the fall, we also offer for-credit internships where you can learn how to lead campaigns that work on issues in our communities and across New York.

To learn more about these opportunities, please fill out our form at https://bit.ly/NYPSUM21. If you have any questions, please make sure to include them at the form and someone will get back to you as soon as possible!—–


Kevin Dugan he/hisRegional Supervisor
(516) 361-4006New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)

Weekly Office Hours (Wednesdays)

PLEASE NOTE: Weekly Office Hours start this Wednesday  (10:30-11 am)

Course Zoom Link: ZOOM

Meeting ID: 851 8309 5557               Passcode: 623155


Writing Center Information

The Writing Center is offering online tutoring for City Tech students from Monday to Thursday in June 2021. Students who need help with essays, research papers, lab reports, etc. are encouraged to make appointments on Setmore with our writing tutors for one-on one Zoom tutoring.  All genres of writing are welcome!

Writing tutors will meet with students for 45-minute sessions. When coming in to meet with a tutor, students should share electronically the assignment guidelines along with a draft of their work.

For more information, please visit the Writing Center OpenLab site.

Post a Response to Oedipus and Lysistrata (or Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq) (Due Monday, June 7)



SECOND: Please post a 1-2 paragraph response to what you found interesting in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Lysistrata  (or Spike Lee’s film version Chi-Raq).  Pick a specific scene, quote,  element, or theme from the play/film to discuss.   Below are some suggested questions you could answer in response to Oedipus (but feel free to choose your own). Read the student comments before yours so that you don’t repeat a similar topic/comment.  I do encourage you, however, to comment on your fellow students’ observations.


  • The ancient Greeks believed that “one’s character determines one’s fate.” What are your thoughts about the character (personal and leadership qualities) of Oedipus?
  • “Dramatic irony is a relationship of contrast between a character’s limited understanding of his or her situation in some particular moment of the unfolding action and what the audience, at the same instant, understands the character’s situation actually to be.” Where do we see dramatic irony in this drama?
  • Why was Tiresias so reluctant to share what he knew about the death of King Laius?
  • Did Tiresias really believe that it would be better for everyone if truth were to remain undisclosed?  Jocasta also asks Oedipus to stop investigating his lineage. What are your thoughts on this topic? Should truth always be fully revealed?
  • Oedipus says, “Indeed I am so angry I shall not hold back a jot of what I think.” How do you believe leaders should manage their anger?
  • Tiresias is blind but sees.  Oedipus has eyes but is blind. Why is Oedipus, the man who solved the riddle of the Sphinx, so slow to solve the riddle of his own identity?
  • What is it like to read this play during a pandemic? What does the play have to say about leadership, speaking the truth, concern for community well-being, and/or suffering?
  • A key idea in this play is Oedipus’s extreme pride and arrogance (“hubris” in Greek).  What is Oedipus so stubborn about in this play?  Can you think of someone who exhibited “hubris” during the past year and suffered consequences for it?

Welcome and First Day Checklist

NOTE: I have posted our Week 1 assignment and accompanying video lecture above this post.

Welcome to City Tech and English 2002!

Please view my Introduction Video here.

English 2002 is an introduction to drama, a course in which we will study plays written during several historical periods drawing from many cultural traditions. We will approach plays as works of art, reading, discussing, analyzing, and writing about the texts so that we become acquainted with dramatic conventions and elements such as plot, character, theme, dialogue, conflict, setting, scene, rhetorical and linguistic devices, music and costume, and dramatic forms such as tragedy and comedy. We will also pay close attention to the cultural contexts of these plays as well as their performative aspects (and watch some great actors!).

Note that our course is asynchronous, which means that we do not have regular meeting days/times. We will interact through discussion on our course site here, and I will have weekly office hours. If you can’t make it, don’t worry; you can always call or email me (mnoonan@citytech.cuny.edu) 

Below is our First Day Checklist, due Tues. 6/1. 

Please be sure to read over the Syllabus and Course Schedule (under COURSE INFO). If you want to get started with the reading, everything is there. We are all in this together! I look forward to working with you.

  1. Register for OpenLab and join our course. If you’re new to the OpenLab, follow these instructions to create an account. Once you log in to your OpenLab account, follow these instructions to join this course.  Please add a profile photo–it makes a positive difference in how we interact with each other. If you have any questions, email me. If you need OpenLab help: consult Help or contact the OpenLab Community Team
  2. Post your introduction paragraph.
    • To write a new post, click the + sign at the top of the page, fill in the subject heading, add your info and click on ADD MEDIA to upload a photo of yourself or something you enjoy (pet/place in the world/ favorite food/ etc.  You can elaborate on your chosen photo in your Intro. When you are done, to publish your post, scroll down and check off OUR COMMUNITY in the Category Sticky and Categories. Click Publish. Note: You can choose to link to a video intro of yourself, instead of writing, if you prefer.
    • In your intro, include your pronouns , how you would like to be addressed, where you are from, where you reside now, your academic interests/ major,  favorite author/writer and why, and anything else you’d like to include.
    • Before next class, check back to read your classmates’ responses and reply to a few. What are some things we have in common? What are we learning from each other or encouraging each other to contemplate?

A raisin in the sun

I found A Raisin In The Sun a very interesting read. I liked the story plot and found the characters interesting. Mama was my favorite character she is very deeply rooted in her dreams that she shared with her husband who passed away and is still very devoted to them. All of the characters had very different ideas of how the $10,000 would impact their life and what the best way to spend it was. I really enjoyed the part when Beneatha was attending medical school. It was a very good addition to the story of her aspirations of being a doctor considering she is a woman of color and at that time there weren’t many colored female doctors. Her aspirations to be a physician was interesting to learn about.  Walter, however is very naive and is trying to find some way to make some money and not really thinking through the consequences for his actions. Assimilation of the family in a white neighborhood was not something that Beneatha wanted, the need tp uphold the families roots was important and not trying to fit in with the wealthy white people.

Reading A raisin I the sun was a lot different than the movie in my opinion. Both were excellent, but I preferred the book because I was able to paint the picture the story was telling in my mind in a  much different way than the movie. The characters in the movie were wonderful and portrayed their roles very well.


A Raisin in the Sun

In the film A Raisin in the Sun you get to see the lives of African Americans and how they struggle financially. This film made me think of today and how we have so many people struggling financially because of COVID, a lot of families have had to make a lot of sacrifices in order to be able to get the necessities for their families. I truly loved the character of Ruth in the beginning since she was someone who was trying to stay honest and truthful when she told Walter that the money he was trying to use wasn’t his and it was his mother’s instead and that he had to go to work. A person who’s honest always has the most success. Unlike Walter, the character named Travis is a character that we see in the film that is determined to give his best in order to use for his school needs by working in a grocery store. I personally have seen a lot of people try to get money the easy way but eventually they realize that it’s important to work for what you want because money comes with working hard.

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