How does one find two outside sources to support one's opinion in a literary analysis essay, specifically the opinion that the theme of fear manifests in all three characters of Bebe Moore's Your...

How does one find two outside sources to support one's opinion in a literary analysis essay, specifically the opinion that the theme of fear manifests in all three characters of Bebe Moore's Your Blues Ain't Like Mine and affects their actions within the context of racial tension?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The type of secondary source you will need for your essay is what we refer to as literary criticism. While the Internet is certainly a wide bank of information, it is actually still a bit difficult to easily find quality literary criticism online. The best, fastest, and easiest place to find literary criticism is still your library, especially your school library or local university library. A search engine like Google Scholar can be used, but the search results will not nearly be as easy to sort through and as accurate as the search results in your library's database. However, eNotes itself does have a couple of literary criticism articles on this specific novel. But you will find, and you may even find this with many sources you look at, the articles do not specifically address your idea of the theme fear--you will have to extrapolate from the source anything that can be useful to support your idea. For example, one literary criticism article available on eNotes isĀ  titled "Your Blues Ain't Like Mine Analysis" and was published in the Literary Masterpieces, Critical Compilation. In this particular essay, the author argues about the theme concerning the sense of hopelessness all the characters feel, regardless of race, sex, or class. However, one could also extrapolate from the arguments concerning hopelessness the same points you want to make concerning fear. For example, where the author argues that Delotha goes to Wydell out of a sense of hopelessness that she may loose her second son, you could argue that a sense of hopelessness leads to a sense of fear or even springs from a sense of fear, and, therefore, Delotha goes to Wydell out of fear as well as out of hopelessness. We can especially see the author's claim that Delotha goes to Wydell out of a sense of hopelessness when the author says, "Helpless, Delotha goes to her husband, and Wydell pulls himself together, determined to save his son as he had been unable to save the other."

Otherwise, your library will provide you with far more resources. You will be able to try doing book searches on literary criticism at your library. To find books, use the library catalog or online library catalog to do a keyword search under either the author's name or the title of the work, plus either the word criticism or interpretation. For example, for your own search, you could use the following keyword search terms:

  • Bebe Moore and interpretation
  • Your Blues Ain't Like Mine Criticism

While books should be available, you will probably have better luck using your library's online databases to search for peer reviewed academic journals. It is in peer reviewed academic journals that you'll find the most current literary criticism on your topic. You should be able to access peer reviewed journals in your library's databases, like "Academic Search Complete, Humanities International Complete, JSTOR, Literary Reference Center, MLA International Bibliography, and Project MUSE" ("Finding Articles," Mississippi State University Libraries). Within these databases, search for literary criticism by using as keywords either the author's name, followed by the word AND, and the word criticism, or use the title of the work, followed by the word AND, and the word criticism. For example, you could use the following search terms:

  • Moore AND criticism
  • Bebe Moore AND criticism
  • Your Blues Ain't Like Mine AND criticism
Sources:

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