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K12ELA011: English Language Arts 11

Unit 8: The Harlem Renaissance   While World War I and the tough economic times disenchanted many Americans, others were embracing their newfound freedom. As African American art, literature, and music flourished, America would experience what was called the Harlem Renaissance. In this unit, we will explore the literature that emerged from this rebirth. 

Unit 8 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.

☐    Subunit 8.1: 45 minutes

☐    Subunit 8.2: 7 hours and 15 minutes

        ☐    Subunit 8.2.1: 3 hours

        ☐    Subunit 8.2.2: 45 minutes

        ☐    Subunit 8.2.3: 15 minutes

        ☐    Subunit 8.2.4: 3 hours and 15 minutes

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- Identify and analyze the characteristics of literature of the Harlem Renaissance in America.
  - Analyze the use and effect of elements of poetry such as imagery, rhyme scheme, speaker, extended metaphor, tone, rhyme, meter, personification, and similes.
  - Analyze the use and effect of the elements of drama.

 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.10 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.3 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.6 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.3 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.4 - CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.6

8.1 Historical Overview   Although slavery was abolished in 1865, it took decades before former slaves felt truly free to express themselves. A major milestone in the development of African American art and culture was the Harlem Renaissance. The term “Renaissance” is French for “rebirth.” As you’ll learn in this subunit, the key players in this movement sought to redefine the African American community as one that offered society beautiful art, music, and poetry. 

  • Explanation: EDSITEment!: “The Harlem Renaissance: Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes” Link: EDSITEment!: “The Harlem Renaissance: Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes”

    Instructions: Scroll about halfway down the page to the section entitled “The Harlem Renaissance: Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes.” Read this section carefully to gain a cursory understanding of the events and people who sparked the period in American literature known as the Harlem Renaissance.
     
    Reading this material should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Boundless: “The Harlem Renaissance” Link: Boundless: “The Harlem Renaissance”

    Instructions: Read this article, taking notes on the background, culture, and themes of this period of American history. Doing so will help you to better understand the literature we will be studying in this unit.
     
    Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.2 Literature of the Harlem Renaissance   The literature of the Harlem Renaissance is truly unique in both its themes and tones. While it often depicted the continued struggles of African Americans to be respected in society, it also resonated with the hopes, dreams, and determination of a newly liberated people. 

  • Reading: Boundless: “The Harlem Renaissance” Link: Boundless: “The Harlem Renaissance”

    Instructions: Scroll down to the section entitled “Literature.” Read the two paragraphs to learn about the literature of the Harlem Renaissance.
     
    Reading this selection should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.1 Langston Hughes   - Web Media: “Poet of the Month: Langston Hughes” Link: “Poet of the Month: Langston Hughes”
 
Instructions: Many view Langston Hughes as the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Watch this video in order to learn some background information about the author and hear a sampling of his work. The assignment at the end of the video is optional.
 
Viewing the video should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.SL.11 -
    12.2](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/11-12/2)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.1.1 “Harlem”   - Activity: YouTube: Langston Hughes’s “Harlem” Link: YouTube: Langston Hughes’s “Harlem”
 
Instructions: Watch the video reproduction of the poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes. Then, use an online dictionary to look up the meaning of the word “deferred.” Apply this definition to a dream. What do you think Hughes means when he references “a dream deferred”?
 
Watching this video and completing this activity should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.1](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/1)
-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.4](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/4)
-   [CCSS.ELA -
    Literacy.CCRA.L.4](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/CCRA/L/4)
-   [CCSS.ELA -
    Literacy.CCRA.L.6](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/CCRA/L/6)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.1.1.1 Elements of Poetry: Imagery   - Activity: Imagery in Langston Hughes’s “Harlem” Link: YouTube: Langston Hughes’s “Harlem”
 
Instructions: Please review the definition of “imagery” introduced in subunit 1.2.2.2.1. Then, find at least three examples of vivid imagery in the poem “Harlem.” What does Hughes seem to be telling us about a dream deferred?
 
Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.1](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/1)
-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.4](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/4)
-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.10](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/10)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.1.1.2 Elements of Poetry: Simile   - Reading: EDSITEment!: “Recognizing Similes: Fast as a Whip - Activity One Worksheet I” Link: EDSITEment!: “Recognizing Similes: Fast as a Whip - Activity One Worksheet I”

 Instructions: Langston Hughes uses several similes in his poem
“Harlem” to describe what happens to a dream deferred. As you may
already know, a simile is a figure of speech that uses comparison
words such as “like” or “as” to point out the similarities between
one thing and another. In order to better understand how similes
bring life to poetry, please complete this worksheet, which will
help you analyze and evaluate the effect of similes in the poem “The
Daffodils.”  
    
 Completing this activity should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Standards Addressed (*Common Core*):  

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.1](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/1)
-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.4](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/4)
-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.10](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/10)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.1.2 “Mother to Son”   - Reading: PoemHunter.com: Langston Hughes’s “Mother to Son” Link: PoemHunter.com: Langston Hughes’s “Mother to Son”

 Instructions: Read the poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes.
Reread it as many times as you like until you feel that you have a
grasp of the poem’s general message.  
    
 Reading this poem should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Standards Addressed (Common Core):  

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RI.11 -
    12.10](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RI/11-12/10)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.1.2.1 Elements of Poetry: Persona   - Activity: EDSITEment!: “Poems That Tell a Story: Narrative and Persona in the Poetry of Robert Frost - Activity 1: Literary Terms” Link: EDSITEment!: “Poems That Tell a Story: Narrative and Persona in the Poetry of Robert Frost - Activity 1: Literary Terms”

 Instructions: In Langston Hughes’s ”Mother to Son,” it is
particularly important to distinguish between the poem’s author and
speaker, or persona, that the author creates to convey the message
of the poem. Click on the link, and scroll down to “Activity 1:
Literary Terms.” Read the two paragraphs as well as the definition
of persona. Then, identify the persona in “Mother to Son” and make a
list of her characteristics. Why do you think Hughes chooses this
persona to tell the story in his poem?  
    
 Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Standards Addressed (*Common Core*):  

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RI.11 -
    12.3](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RI/11-12/3)
-   [CCSS.ELA -
    Literacy.CCRA.L.6](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/CCRA/L/6)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.1.2.2 Elements of Poetry: Extended Metaphor   - Activity: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Extended Metaphor: A Comparison with Many Parts” Link: SOPHIA: Kathryn Reilly’s “Extended Metaphor: A Comparison with Many Parts”

 Instructions: Read each of the seven slides in the tutorial, which
explain what an extended metaphor is and what it looks like. Then,
identify the extended metaphor in “Mother to Son.” What two things
does Hughes compare in the poem? In what ways are they alike?  
    
 Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Standards Addressed (*Common Core*):  

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.4](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/4)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.2 Claude McKay   8.2.2.1 “If We Must Die”   - Web Media: Oye Falode’s “If We Must Die by Claude McKay” Link: Oye Falode’s “If We Must Die by Claude McKay”
 
Instructions: Watch the video, listening closely to the words of the poem. Then, watch the video again, and take note of the images used to represent specific parts of the poem.

-   What is the author’s overall message?
-   Do the images help convey this message, or are the words enough?

Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 15
minutes.  
    
 Standards Addressed (*Common Core*):  
-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.SL.11 -
    12.2](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/11-12/2)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.2.2 “Harlem Shadows”   - Reading: Poets’ Corner: Claude McKay’s “Harlem Shadows” Link: Poets’ Corner: Claude McKay’s “Harlem Shadows”

 Instructions: Read the poem entitled “Harlem Shadows.” Reread as
necessary until you grasp the message of the poem. Pay particular
attention to the third and fourth line of the poem, “I see the
shapes of girls who pass/To bend and barter at desire's call.” What
is this poem about?  
    
 Reading this poem should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Standards Addressed (*Common Core*):  

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 -
    12.10](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/11-12/10)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: LibriVox: Claude McKay’s “Harlem Shadows” Link: LibriVox: Claude McKay’s “Harlem Shadows”

    Instructions: Scroll down, and click on the MP3 file for the reading of Claude McKay’s poem “Harlem Shadows.”

    • What did you hear from listening to the poem that you didn’t pick up on while reading it?
    • Given the poem’s meaning, do you think the reader’s tone is appropriate?
    • Would you have read the poem differently? Why or why not? 

    Listening to this poem and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):
    - CCSS.ELA - Literacy.RL.11 - 12.7 - CCSS.ELA - Literacy.SL.11 - 12.2

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.3 Zora Neale Hurston: A Leading Player in the Harlem Renaissance   - Web Media: Spark Media: “Zora Neale Hurston in Maryland” Link: Spark Media: “Zora Neale Hurston in Maryland”
 
Instructions: Zora Neale Hurston was one of the most influential writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Watch this video on her life and work to learn more about the writer before reading some of her works.
 
Watching this video should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.SL.11 -
    12.2](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/11-12/2)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.4 *Three Plays*   - Web Media: YouTube: Cate Waidyatilleka’s “Dialect Exercise” Link: YouTube: Cate Waidyatilleka’s “Dialect Exercise”
 
Instructions: In order to accurately portray her characters, Zora Neale Hurston captured their dialect by using unconventional spelling and grammar. Although it gives her prose a great deal of realism and brings her characters to life, it can also make reading her works quite challenging. In order to prepare yourself for this experience, please watch this brief video on dialect.
 
Watching this video should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Standards Addressed (Common Core):

-   [CCSS.ELA - Literacy.SL.11 -
    12.2](http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/11-12/2)

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Activity: Project Gutenberg: Zora Neale Hurston’s *Three Plays* Link: Project Gutenberg: Zora Neale Hurston’s Three Plays

    Instructions: Read the entire text of Three Plays by Zora Neale Hurston. As you learned in the previous exercise, some authors use distinct dialects to capture the speech of their characters. As you read Three Plays, try to convert portions of the text from African American Vernacular English to Standard Written English to aid in comprehension.
     
    Reading these plays and completing this activity should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Checkpoint: The Portrayal of Men in Hurston’s Lawing and Jawing and *Woofing* Link: Project Gutenberg: Zora Neale Hurston’s Three Plays

    Instructions: As you read Three Plays by Zora Neale Hurston, you may have noticed that the male characters in Lawing and Jawingand Woofing were portrayed similarly. Write an essay analyzing Hurston’s portrayal of the male characters in these two plays, citing specific examples from the text to support your thesis.
     
    Completing this activity should take approximately 2 hours.
     
    Standards Addressed (Common Core):

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Extension Resources   If any or all of the units you have studied in the course have ignited an interest in learning more, the following list will help you. It contains books and other resources you can use for further study. You will most likely be able to find many of these items in your local public library.

  • Reading: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God, written in 1937, has become an icon of both women’s literature and African American literature. It tells the coming-of-age story of the novel’s main character, Janie Crawford. The book is known for its heavy use of Southern black dialect.