Brainstorming for Project #2

In class on Monday, we discussed possible topics for research for Project #2. You will do some research to be able to write an annotation about something that a reader (like you!) would want to know more about to better understand Quicksand.

For homework, comment here by 1-identifying what you might research to add information to the readers’ understanding, and 2- identify the passage or section of the text that would benefit from an annotation.

Some of the ideas we discussed in class:

  • one of the schools mentioned in the novel, or the whole system of schools mentioned
  • miscegenation laws in the early 20th century
  • any historical figure mentioned in the text
  • any literary references
  • any fashion elements from the text (we discussed decolettage, thanks to Brittney).
  • geography discussed in the text as it related then to the story (you couldn’t just explain where Harlem or Copenhagen are, but you would have to figure out a way that either is relevant and provide more than just a geography detail but instead understand how they relate to, for example, the issues with race that the novel addresses)
  • connections to other stories by Larsen. This is the reason that I ordered this edition of the novel, so that you could read other stories and connect them to Quicksand.
  • connections to information you found in the introductory materials in our book–biographical mostly.

Some of these broader ideas aren’t directly linked to a particular passage. As you develop your project, you will find particular passages to focus on as the appropriate points to which you can attach your annotation.

This is also a good place to ask (and answer) questions about Project #2, so please do use the comments to get input and feedback, ask for clarification, etc.

5 thoughts on “Brainstorming for Project #2

  1. Duane

    Something that I may do research on would probably be how interracial relationships were treated by both races and how likely did the relationship stay stable. Also, if not, then what is the possibilities that the child will favor a specific race.

    1. Jody R. Rosen Post author

      This is a great start, Duane. It sounds like a big project, though. Is there something that you think you can research and write about that would be manageable? That is, the point of the project is to write an annotation as a sample of what could accompany a digital text. I’m not expecting a full research paper on the topic. You might think instead about what laws surrounded interracial marriage–would that get at some of what you’re looking at? I’m guessing this will be more straightforward and therefore easier to write about in an annotation.

  2. Tyra

    I have a few questions about this project.
    Are we basically making a business letter proposing a digital text of Quicksand?
    Are we using the whole text or just some chapters in the text to do this?
    Do you want us to research annotations of Quicksand ?
    If you want us to propose a digital text for quicksand, why are we researching a specific topic?
    I don’t understand where defining words plays a part in this project

    1. Jody R. Rosen Post author

      Thanks, Tyra, for voicing what are I’m sure everyone’s concerns.

      Think of Project #2 as asking you to write a letter proposing that the text of Quicksand be made available for annotations. To make your argument, offer an example of a researched annotation, and two glossary annotations. Use those 3 to show how these additions help readers understand the novel better, particularly the aspect that you want to highlight.

      Borrowing from an example we discussed in class, this could be something along the lines of: “This annotation about women’s fashion in the 1920s and these two definitions help readers understand how Helga’s interest in fashion showcased her vanity, which shaped her character.” Then you would show how this aspect of the novel is important overall.

      We’ll talk about this more in class today.

  3. Linh Ngo

    I still having a little trouble figuring out how to start my paper. But I guess for my brainstorming I want to write about what Helga had to deal with throughout the novel, for example how she was frustration about what people were thinking about mix races. Please let me know if this is good to start my paper. If not can you give me some ideas to write about.


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