american history/constitution

ssignment Directions: Final Paper:

Heroes, Anti-Heroes, and Persuading an Audience

Our single-subject texts in this class are Americo Paredes’ With His Pistol in His Hand and Chester Himes’ If He Hollers Let Him Go. The first, a study of folklore, focuses on a real person, Gregorio Cortez, who is turned into a fictional character of sorts as his story begins to take on mythic proportions. The second, a novel, focuses on a fictional character, Bob Jones, that may or may not be representative of some of the author’s actual experiences. Both stories deal with the issues of violence and racism, although in very different ways. In Paredes’ study, Cortez is treated as a highly sympathetic hero who resorts to violence only as an act of self defense. Himes on the other hand presents us with anti-hero, someone who we may sympathize with at times but who is often or usually quite flawed. Both stories try to persuade their readers of the lasting presence of, and long term consequences of racism in American society.

For your final paper, you will be writing a five to six (5-6) page paper that compares and contrasts Cortez, the man, hero and legend, with Jones, the anti-hero. Your central concern in this paper will be the issue of persuasion:

Which historical figure/character do you think is more persuasive in convincing audiences of the lasting presence and long-term consequences of racism? Cortez the good guy? Or the all too human Bob Jones? Why? Which book/character would be more likely to convince readers to participate in something like the Civil Rights movement? Why? And finally: What role does violence (or the threat of) play in these two works?

Your sources for this paper are the two books mentioned above, as well as two (2) outside historical articles from either the J-STOR or OMNI academic search engines, both of which you will find on the library’s online database: . (Encyclopedias such as Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, and amateurish historical websites found through Google are not acceptable sources for college-level papers!) These two outside historical sources will serve as context to help you better inform your audience (me) about the places and times you are discussing. Your two library sources must address the actual regions and time periods mentioned in these works. In other words, you should try to find one source about the South Texas/border region circa 1901 and one source about Los Angeles (or another comparatively large city) circa the 1940s. You may mention Lonestar (briefly) if it seems relevant to your argument.

A note on sources: Failure to include at least two scholarly sources from either J-Stor or OMNI will result in a 35 percent reduction in your grade.

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