Written Assignment – Compare/Contrast two Writers of the Harlem Renaissance

Choose two writers (see below) from this week and compare their narrative tone, style, and theme; please respond in a five-paragraph APA essay format with quotes, proper in-text citations, and references. Please be sure to visit the lecture for more on each author.




Langston Hughes


Langston Hughes, a prolific and important artist of the Harlem Renaissance, shaped literary modernism. He wrote poems, plays, novels, short, stories, articles, and essays, and made a passionate effort to further the views about humanity and equality. Hughes, seen as both an acclaimed novelist and gifted poet, “believed that if poetry was to be an agent of social change it must appeal to blacks of all classes, not simply the upper reaches of the black intelligentsia. The art the movement generated should draw on black vernacular materials-jazz and folk tales and spirituals-in order to grant African Americans a sense of racial identity and shared experience that would prove a powerful political tool” (Bryant, 2010, p. 85). His poem, The Weary Blues is shared with music on YouTube.com.



Claude McKay


Claude McKay , son of a Jamaican farmer, was an invited speaker abroad and poet/writer who “contributed to literature and politics helped to change American and international conceptions of race, class, and colonialism” (Bryant, 2010, p. 92). His first novel, Home to Harlem, featured rare glimpse of African-American life, World War I realities, and a picturesque journey through the United States. Listen to Claude McKay’s America set to music and images on YouTube.com.


Alice Walker




Alice Walker , best known for her novel and Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation, The Color Purple, brought many issues to the forefront: “race and gender oppression, physical and emotional abuse, relationships between individuals and among families and communities” (Bryant, 2010, p. 105). After losing sight in one eye from a childhood BB gun accident, she feared losing her sight in the other eye and began “storing up images against the fading light” (p. 105). In this YouTube.com video, she talks about the freedom rides to Gaza.



Toni Morrison


Toni Morrison , Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-Winning author, is known for her characterization, creative genius, thought-provoking storytelling, and rhythmic prose. She is seen here speaking about her “Society Bench by the Road Dedication” project, which dedicates benches along the road to commemorate the history of African American people. She may be best known for her novel, The Bluest Eye. Listen to an excerpt from a play based on the story on YouTube.com, which reminds us that we universally want to be loved.





Please be sure to include the following in your assignment submission:



  1. Write a formal, 5-paragraph essay in APA format, including a cover page, in response to this question. Base your answer on your own observations and support your assertions quoting from your assigned readings.


  1. Read the assigned readings. Highlight quotes, summarize, or paraphrase from this week’s readings and be sure to include an in-text citation in proper APA format (Author, year, p. X).


  1. Include three quotes from our readings. When you discuss literature, it is all about the words before you. They are yours to consider and reflect on. You will want to make a strong assertion and prove it, or support it, by quoting from the readings. Include three quotes in our essay.


  1. Create a strong thesis for your essay. A thesis states your main idea in a sentence. A sample thesis (which you are free to use) might be: Toni Morrison and Alice Walker are both award-winning authors that share a similar theme, yet they differ greatly in voice, dialogue, and characterization.


  1. Be sure to include an APA reference page. For complete instructions on APA, see your college Online Library, which you can access through the Resources tab.