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"Sweat" Analysis

By Monday, complete the writing prompt on page 464 of Springboard, reproduced and expanded on here.

Analyze the extent to which Hurston’s story is a tribute to the lives of ordinary African American people but also how it does and does not represent the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance. Choose a method of prewriting and then draft a response to this story. In your analysis, address the literary elements you have studied, including Hurston’s use of diction, and explain how you think they enhance the meaning of the text. Your writing should be composed using only formal diction. Be sure to:

  • Include a thesis statement that gives direction to your essay.

  • Address the literary elements that you have studied and explain how they enhance the meaning of the text.

    • What is the effect of the diction, allusions, imagery, etc.? How do these pay tribute to ordinary African American people?

  • Cite textual evidence and give commentary to support your analysis.

    • Include evidence for each point you are trying to make.

    • For every piece of evidence, include 1-3 sentences talking about why that evidence is significant, what it means, and how it supports your point.

  • Use effective transitions.

    • Make the connections between each point and paragraph clear. Specifically state how they are related!

      • A great way to do this is, each time you move to a new idea or paragraph, have a sentence at the end of the previous idea/paragraph (or the beginning of the next one) that makes the connection between the two clear.

  • Provide a conclusion that restates your claim in a new way and supports (and possibly expands on!) the ideas developed in the argument.


“Sweat” is a complicated text because of its use of dialect. The key to getting familiar with this language is hearing it; that means you need to be reading it out loud.

Goal demonstrate comprehension of the text and its use of literary features (including dialect) and how these choices supported the purposes of the author.

Exemplary Work will include well-selected evidence from the text that is developed with effective commentary, demonstrating a clear understanding of the ideas of the Harlem Renaissance and written with limited grammatical and mechanical error.

Earlier Event: April 15
Harlem Renaissance Art Analysis
Later Event: April 22
Reading Log