How can I organize my short argumentative essay response on the Harlem Renaissance? The prompt is as follows: Define "sentimental" discourse. What conventions of sentimentalism do you find in the...

How can I organize my short argumentative essay response on the Harlem Renaissance?

The prompt is as follows:

Define "sentimental" discourse. What conventions of sentimentalism do you find in the writings that are abandoned by Du Bois?  How do these conventions contrast with different conventions used by Harlem Renaissance artists who may agree or disagree with DuBois' theoretical underpinning and purpose? Do they render the literature alien in the context of the Harlem Renaissance or can one make a case for similarity across the genre due to expressive purpose?

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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  • Use your introduction to discuss sentimental discourse, its basic definition, and the literary conventions with which it is associated.
  • Be sure to include a claim (thesis) which discusses whether sentimental discourse still maintains a purpose in light of DuBois' philosophy and the theories of other Harlem Renaissance writers. Your claim could be similar to the following:
  • While sentimental discourse may share a purpose similar to the writings of W.E.B. DuBois and other Harlem Renaissance authors, its archaic conventions and philosophy render it incompatible with the stylistic and theoretical advances of Harlem Renaissance works.
Your body paragraphs need to validate your claim; so you might focus one body paragraph on the contrast between sentimental discourse and general Harlem Renaissance writings and another body paragraph on DuBois' unique conventions versus the stylistic elements of sentimental discourse. Remember that your argument needs to be central. If you use sources, smoothly incorporated them to support your argument, but not simply include source after source to validate your claim. Be sure to cite your sources correctly (even if you paraphrase or summarize).
Sources:

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