The Signifying Monkey

DIRECTIONS:  Read each question carefully and provide a thoughtful answer.  Please type all of your responses on a separate document and number and title each answer appropriately.  Answers should be at least ((2) two, double-spaced paragraphs in length.  Each question is worth 25% of the total grade (100 points).  Good luck!

1) Read “The Signifying Monkey” (36 - 38) and Discuss this particular piece and how it relates to or exemplifies the idea of the anti-hero in African-American Literature.  Comparatively, how does this piece differ from traditional non-Black folktales in terms of characters and their “character”? 

2)  Take one Blues song within the Vernacular Tradition below and explain how it functions literarily and sonically.  What about this particular work connects it to the broader Vernacular Tradition as outlined in the Norton Anthology of African American Literature? (page 3 – 8 in the NAAAL)  Here is a list of Blues songs to choose from:

Blues Songs: (available in the textbook, companion Audio CD, and on YouTube)

“I Know Moon-Rise”

 “Hellbound on My Trail” (50)

“C, Rider” (51)

“Down-hearted Blues” (52)

“Prove it on me Blues” (53)

“How Long Blues” (54)

“Rock Me, Baby” (55)

“Yellow Dog Blues” (56)

“St. Louis Blues” (57)

“The Hesitating Blues” (60)

“Fine and Mellow” (61)

“Sunnyland” (63)

“Hoochie Coochie” (63) and “My Handy Man” (64)

3)  In the film Love Jones, how does literature/writing, music, and/or visual art play a role in the romantic affairs of the characters and how do these mediums shape the social space?  Please make specific references to characters to demonstrate your understanding of how the Arts are integral to the practice of Black love and love-making as depicted in this film.

4)  Examining the excerpt from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple contained in the Norton Anthology of Literature, what insights does this offer readers?  Through the use of voice and her characters, what is Walker conveying about identity, gender, and spirituality?

Walker, “The Color Purple” (2454-2457