Your portfolio must include:
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1. Identification of a pattern (thematic, linguistic, and/or imagistic) of interest to you, using a name you give it, in Mphahlele’s Down Second Avenue, with three passages in the text specified to illustrate the pattern;
2. The above for Ngugi’s In the House of the Interpreter: Identification of a pattern (thematic, linguistic, and/or imagistic) of interest to you, using a name you give it, in with three passages in the text specified to illustrate the pattern;
3. An essay (c. 6-7 double-spaced pages) that makes an argument about how a pattern (thematic, linguistic, and/or imagistic) in Down Second Avenue or In the House of the Interpreter creates meaning in the autobiography and that includes mention of the second autobiography – the one you are not focusing on centrally – in the course of developing its argument. Please close your essay with a reflection on this question: what does your argument help us see about this autobiography’s significance within the literary tradition of life writing?
More detailed instructions and tips:
For your identification of patterns
For each autobiography, first Mphahlele’s and then Ngugi’s, please:
1) Name the pattern you identify, with a name that you create;
2) List three passages from different parts of the text that you find valuable in tracing this pattern: give page number, chapter number, and the first few opening words for each passage;
3) Note in 2-3 sentences how/ why this passage matters as part of your pattern.
For your essay
Center your essay in an interpretive question or questions about the pattern you identify. This is a good model to follow: Where and how does the pattern of emerge in Mphahlele’s [or Ngugi’s] memoir, and what meaning is created through it?
This essay assignment shares basic elements with the assignments for portfolios 1 and 2! Open your essay by introducing readers to your pattern; then deliver your answer to your interpretive questions: that’s your thesis! The rest of your essay should develop and support that answer using text from your autobiography as evidence. At some point in this discussion, incorporate consideration of the second autobiography, the one not central to your essay, as part of developing your argument about your key autobiography. Finally, as noted above, please close your essay with a reflection on this question: what does your argument help us see about the significance of this autobiography in the literary tradition of life-writing?
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