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ENGL 201 (Boraz)

Boraz ENGL 201

Gale Literature is an excellent database to access literary criticisms, work overviews, author biographies, etc. of works of literature.

Essay 2: Analysis of Fahrenheit 451

Write a well-reasoned, thesis-driven essay in response to one of the following prompts:

Option 1:   

How does the society described in Fahrenheit 451 relate to our society today? What can we learn from this novel that can inform our actions today? Focus your approach to this question on one of the major themes from the novel: technology, censorship, social interaction, or knowledge

  • EBSCOhost: All Databases (35+ Databases all in one... scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, ebooks and more types of sources. I recommend limiting to MAGAZINES on the left side after doing a search.)

Option 2:   

Research the historical context in which Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451. The McCarthy era (1950 - 1954) and the Nazi book burnings of the 1930s-1940s are particularly relevant. Write an essay that explains the relationship between Bradbury’s historical context, the novel, and our current moment in history.

Evaluating Sources Video -

Each group member will create 1-2 slides for your group slide show. The work should be divided as follows:

  1. Historical background of the theory (what came before it? What was the historical context? What was this theory a reaction to?)

  2. Major theorists and their contributions to the theory. (Who were the primary founders of this school of criticism? What did each one add to the formation of the theory? How did they differ from one another?)

  3. Major tenets (foundational ideas) of the theory. (What are the assumptions of this theory? What are its guiding principles? What questions are asked when using this theory?)

4. Application to the play, Fences. (How would a theorist from this school interpret the text? What does this school of criticism reveal about the play?)

  • Gale Literature - Has 152 articles ("literature criticisms") discussing the play Fences. 
  • JSTOR is also an excellent database for journal articles and scholarly book chapters discussing literature. Check out articles and book chapters about August Wilson.

These are just some suggestions! Feel free to explore other databases and if you get stuck live chat 24/7 or email Steven (

Option 1: Poetry Project

Option 2: Author Project 

Option 3: Photo Essay Project

For this option, you will research the historical context of the play Fences. Center your research around Pittsburgh and similar cities of the 1950’s. Your photo essay should represent the historical context of the major issues raised by the play, in particular race relations during that time (focus on race relations in the USA in the 1950s with particular emphasis on "rust belt" cities like Pittsburgh; focus on how and when African Americans were integrated into major league baseball; each slide in photo essay should explain the historical background represented in Fences and should explain how it relates to the play).

  • JSTOR - Trying searching for:
    • Wilson Fences race Pittsburgh
    • civil rights 1950s Pittsburgh
  • EBSCOhost: All Databases - Try searching for:
    • "African Americans" "United States" baseball
    • August Wilson Pittsburgh Cycle