Choose Sherman, Alexie and one of his work  (fiction, poetry, or drama) that we have or will cover in class, and examine the author ‘s view of life as expressed in her/his work.  Focus on a research topic in which  you examine how historical,  biographical,  psychological,  or sociological conditions  influenced the writer (see pages  1893- 1924 to identify critical perspectives  and the questions one should ask).

For example, if you were analyzing Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily,” you might choose to approach it from an historical  or sociological perspective examining the degree to which Faulkner’s view of the South as resembling  an aging relic resistant to change may or may not have been  accurate.  This would require comparing aspects of the story with historical  evidence.   You might take a biographical  perspective  and examine the degree to which real life experiences influenced Faulkner ‘s writing. Or you might research Faulkner’s understanding  of psychological  theory as evidenced by his character Emily  Grierson.

If you were to analyze Sherman Alexie’s “Year of the Indian,” you might choose an historical or sociological approach examining the idea of cultural genocide within the context of Alexie’s writing.

 One might examine Hemingway’s “Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” from a sociological perspective focusing on Hemingway’s gender-specific code of behavior, or one might compare Hemingway’s view of women with a modern feminist view. Using a biographical or psychological perspectives, one could examine the degree that Hemingway’s early childhood experiences and his attitudes toward women in his life shaped his later  writing.

One could examine Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun from a sociological perspective in order to determine the degree to which racism  impeded the dreams of the Younger  family.


The strength of your paper depends on the argument you intend to make. Once you have focused on a topic, you will need to formulate an argument or thesis which incorporates your sense of the view of life the author expresses in the work.  You will need to research  a variety of outside sources to offer evidence to support your argument. This is where the library’s literary criticism will come in handy. Besides literary criticism, you will need to explore historical and biographical accounts in order to gather information so that you may draw your own critical conclusions. You must quote or summarize (briefly) the views of at least five outside sources who can offer support for the critical perspectives you have identified. At least three sources must be from print books, magazines, or journals. You also should share your own analysis and insight wherever possible.

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