For this last assignment you will find your own primary source document to analyze. Chose any protest song you want, from the entire time period of US history we cover (including the present), and write A COMPLETE historical essay on it.
You want to be sure that you pick a song that, not only interests you, but is ALSO one to which you can relate historical details from our readings in some way. That means, first of all, that it fits into the time frame of our class 1877-present and that it is a primary source document from American history. But also, if its a current song about current events, that means, then, that you should be sure you can match those current issues and events to earlier themes, issues and events from our study of US history and shed a deep light on the songs lyrics from an historical perspective.
Take note, as well, that there are certain songs which have been done so much that they have been permanently retired from our assignment (see below).
If you are picking a song ahead of where we are currently, you will have to look over readings from the Unit covering that part of US history and, obviously, the same goes for songs originating from eras we’ve already covered.
If you choose a current or very recent song, then you will have to make sure you include all the relevant background historical details and specifics that relate to whatever aspect or theme of US history the song relates to and which we’ve studied in class: that means that, for instance, if you choose a current or recent song related to the historical theme of civil rights, then, in addition to going over the current events that relate to that song, you must also bring in the relevant background material we’ve covered pertaining to the theme of civil rights.
Have fun but don’t loose track of what you need to do in order to generate the maximum points for this important assignment! You main goal here is to demonstrate you know relevant historical knowledge and can effectively explain it, along with details, facts, dates, etc; the song itself and you explaining what it says is of only secondary importance to your grade.
This assignment is worth twice as much than the previous one so this is your chance to put together all the things we’ve been working regarding writing an analytical essay and a complete essay so be sure to include any and all things that may have been missing in previous assignment.
Go over the assignment comments and rubric scores from your last essay, the TR Assignment, and make sure you are crystal clear as to what things you will want to make sure you do on this essay that you didn’t do on that assignment. Take note of them and and then go back over those notes when you finish this essay.
Also, keep in mind that assays are about presenting your work so be sure to put in the necessary prep-work and analysis BEFORE start writing. The simple truth is that most of your success in an essay is determined before you type your first word.
Be sure to go over and follow the procedure outlined in How to Write an Analytical Essay. When you look at it notice how writing the essay is the last part and represents only 1/3 of the work you will do for this assignment. If you try to work out the first two-thirds of your work on the fly, so to speak, while you are writing the essay, doing the last third, your essay will look disorganized and confused to your reader. Work out your research and analysis before you start writing so you know exactly what it is you are going to do, say, explain and prove in this essay and your essay will be that much clearer and easier to understand for your reader.
To review the basics again regarding Writing a Complete Analytical Essay, your essay must have an introduction paragraph, at least one paragraph for the body and a conclusion paragraph. The introduction must effectively introduce the documents being examined, as well as establish a main analytical point for your historical essay on the primary source. These are NOT descriptive essays.
Make sure that you explain the specific historical context of the song in the intro (when it was written, by whom and what specific historical issue it was written about) and establish a main point there for your essay based on your analysis of the song. Work out and explain what specific historical issues it is engaging and analyze how it engages those issues by examining specific lyrics from the song. Check over the rubric requirements before you submit.
Songs permanently retired from contention (i.e. don’t pick these songs if you want to pass this assignment):
“Brother Can You Spare a Dime””Ohio”, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young”Fortunate Son”, Creedence Clear Water Revival”A Change is Gonna Come”, Sam Cooke”Eve of Destruction”, Barry McGuire”War”, Edwin Starr”Blowin’ in the Wind”, Bob Dylan”I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag”, Country Joe and the Fish
‘I ain’t Marching Anymore,’ Phil Ochs
‘Give Peace a Chance’ & ‘Imagine’ John Lennon
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