Contemporary Fiction: Hughes / Walker / Cather

Hughes – Reading and Review Questions:

  1. What is significant about the rivers—the Euphrates, the Congo, the Nile, and the Mississippi—that Hughes names in “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”?
  2. Jesus Christ is often represented as being white in Western art. What does Hughes’s identification of Christ as “a nigger” say about the Christians of the segregated American South of the early twentieth century?
  3. The semi-autobiographical poem “Theme for English B” was first published in 1946, decades after Hughes attended his one year of college at Columbia “on the hill above Harlem.” However, Hughes writes the poem not in the past tense but in the present tense. How does Hughes’s use of the present tense affect the meaning of the poem?

Walker – Reading and Review Questions:

  1. Why does Dee take Polaroids? Why does she change her name? What does this signify?
  2. What does the quilt represent?
  3. Dee and Magee are both interested in the quilt for different reasons. Why is each sister interested in the quilt? Who does Mama side with in this conflict? Why?

Cather – Reading and Review Questions:

  1. Compare Cather’s characters to those of Walker


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American Literatures After 1865 Copyright © by Scott D. Peterson; Amy Berke; Robert Bleil; Jordan Cofer; and Doug Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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