When we read actively, we enter into a conversation with the text and author, responding to ideas, asking questions, and bringing our own experiences and perspectives to what we are reading. For this assignment we will take this idea literally by writing letters to James Baldwin responding to his landmark book The Fire Next Time.
Like an essay, this letter should demonstrate a deep and rigorous engagement with the text. Unlike an essay, this assignment gives you the freedom to respond in a more personal, informal, and creative way and to speak directly to the author.
For your letter, you will choose 3-4 issues or ideas from the book to respond to.
Questions to consider in your letter:
Do you agree or disagree with what Baldwin is arguing? Why or why not?
How do his ideas connect to today? How have things changed? In what ways are they similar?
What have you seen or experienced that connects to his writing?
How are you personally experiencing and grappling with his ideas? Are there any ideas that have changed your way of thinking or made you consider something differently?
What questions do you have for him? What would you ask him if you could?
Introduce yourself and provide some context about yourself and the times in which you live.
3-4 paragraphs, each focusing on a different idea or concept from the book.
Include at least four direct quotes from the book as well as paraphrased ideas with MLA citations.
Use second person (you) to address Baldwin. Example: You say…You argue Use first person (I) in your response.
Use additional sources if needed. For example, if you want to make connections to current events, include sources for your information.
Closing, in which you wrap up your ideas and provide a salutation.
Works Cited page
Be creative! This is a chance to bring your personality into your writing style.
Length: At least 800 words.