LITR 4340 American Immigrant Literature
Midterm2 assignment

Revise & extend Essay 1, adding New World immigrants
2. Web highlights 3. Start Research Report

Official date: Tuesday, 27 March 2018 
Email deadline:
Thursday 29 March 11:59pm

(This webpage is the assignment for our course's second midterm, to be updated and refined up to 20 March, when paper copies will be distributed.)

Format: Email. Open-book, open-notebook. No class meeting on 27 March but classroom available for students; instructor keeps office hours 1-4.


Email exams due to by 11:59pm Thursday, 29 March. "Submission window" is 21-29 March.

If your exam will be late, no automatic discredit if you preview.

Confer with instructor any time regarding either part of your midterm: Office: Bayou 2529-7; Phone: 281 283 3380; Email:


Email your Midterm2 submission to (Most common mistake: students send to “white” rather than “whiteC)

· Attach appropriate file(s) to an email for (Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format works,)

and / or

· Copy and paste contents of your essays into an email message to


Acknowledgement of receipt: Instructor usually replies that he's received your submission within a few hours (unless you send it at an odd time). If you don't see an email confirmation within 24 hours, check if you emailed the right address:


Email problems? A problem or two with email (or computers generally) is normal in a class this size. Don't panic—communicate & we'll work things out.

Spacing: Single-spacing preferred. No need to double-space, but OK if you do. All submissions are converted to single-space for reading onscreen.  

Return of grades: Approximately 1-2 weeks after submission.

Three parts to Midterm2:
Part 1. Revise & extend midterm1 Essay
on immigrants and minorities to include "New World Immigrants" as both immigrant and minority; include literary devices & historical backgrounds (Add 5+ paragraphs to Midterm1 Essay for at least 12 paragraphs total.)

Part 2. Web Highlights reviewing at least three Model Assignments from previous semesters (incl. at least one previous midterm2 essay) (5+ paragraphs)


Part 3.  Start Research Report: At least 5 substantial paragraphs with 2+ outside sources (& possible class-text sources) toward your Research Report (to be completed on Final Exam)

Special requirement: Essays, Web Highlights, and Research Reports must have titles.

Sections’ contents may overlap or repeat materials, but be efficient; cross-reference to economize.

Advice: Work on #2 Web Highlights first in order to acquaint yourself with standards and materials.



Part 1. Revise & extend midterm1 Essay 1 to include "New World Immigrants" as both immigrant and minority; include literary devices & historical backgrounds .  (Add 5+ paragraphs to Midterm1 Essay for at least 12 paragraphs total.)

Models of Midterm2 Essay 1 submissions from 2013 + Midterm2 Essay 1s from 2016 (These semesters did not continue Essay 1 from Midterm1 through Midterm2 to Final Exam.)

Revise your Essay draft from Midterm1 according to instructor feedback. Continue developing the immigrant and minority definitions in dialogue with each other.


Revise previous paragraphs and add paragraphs to include New World Immigrant Literature read between Midterm1 & Midterm2.


Use terms and themes from Course Objectives, definitions from term-webpages, historical backgrounds (New World Immigrants, Mexican Americans, Afro-Caribbeans) and literary devices or purposes to introduce and develop examples from readings and presentations of New World Immigrant literature as minority, immigrant, and / or dominant-culture.


bove all,Above all, Primary Objectives 1 & 2: Primary Objective 1. Evidence of immigrant, minority, or dominant-culture identity, voice, or narrative.


Primary Objective 2. Identification, definition, application, & analysis of literary purposes, devices, or genres.


Required: Essay 1 must have an appropriate title (possibly revised from Midterm1 and Midterm2 title).


As background to establish or reinforce this essay's key terms (immigrant and minority), review and improve definitions and examples of immigrant and minority from your Midterm1 essay What differences and similarities stand out between immigrant and minority identities or cultural narratives, especially as they applly to "New World Immigrants"?


For the largest part of your new paragraphs, describe how both Immigrant and Minority identities appear in our texts by "New World Immigrants" to the USA—Hispanic, Mexican American, or Afro-Caribbean immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.


Review historical backgrounds and find examples of both immigrant and minority identity in our texts since Midterm1. Immigrants from the Western Hemisphere or "New World" have different historical relationships to the United States than immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere or "Old World" of Europe and Asia. How do these histories differ, and how do New World Immigrants stories show these different histories or relations?


Possible prompts: (not a checklist—the best essays work in these terms, issues, and themes)

What  variations in the mix of immigrant and minority narratives appear among Mexican Americans, other Hispanic Americans (or Latin@s), and Afro-Caribbeans?


Pay attention to historical origins, assimilation or resistance, and possible futures—e.g., how may the group shape or be shaped by USA culture?


Don't ignore deep-historical backgrounds of immigrants and minorities, esp. as detailed in New World Immigrants, Mexican Americans and Afro-Caribbeans.


Required: references to Primary Course Objectives 1 & 2 and Detailed Objectives 1-3 + knowledge of course-website definitions for terms, applied to text-examples. (All course objectives and terms open for discussion.)


Refer to relevant parts of Objective 1 & Objective 3, especially . . .

1. . . The New World immigrant (Hispanic/Latino and Afro-Caribbean) constitutes a large wave of contemporary immigration and combines immigrant and minority narratives: voluntary immigration from the Caribbean / West Indies or MesoAmerica but also often experience of exploitation by USA in countries or origin, or through identification with minorities (Indians and Blacks) via color code.

3e. “New World Immigrants,” including Mexican Americans, other Latinos, and Afro-Caribbeans, may create an identity somewhere between or combining immigrant and minority patterns. . . . (See LITR 4340 Homepage for complete objective)


Essential terms (some from midterm1) to explain and apply in midterm2: immigrant; minority, assimilation, New World immigrants, Hispanic / Latino, mestizo, tradition / modernity; Mexican Americans as immigrant, minority, or both; Afro-Caribbean identity as immigrant and minority


Special requirements or advice for Midterm2 Essay:

Personal references: Not required, but you may refer to your own backgrounds, previous knowledge, and interpretations of the materials. Relate all such materials to the assignment or objectives.


Textual requirements for essay: Refer to 5+ texts from course readings spread across Mexican-American, Hispanic, and Afro-Caribbean readings poems presented in class.


New World Immigrants: Mexican-American, Hispanic, and Afro-Caribbean narratives combining immigrant and minority identities (select 2)

Fiction and nonfiction: Gary Soto, “Like Mexicans” [handout/PDF]; Nash Candelaria, "El Patron" (IA 221-228); Sandra Cisneros, "Barbie-Q" (IA 252-253); Reyna Grande, from The Distance Between Us (IV2 83-104); Junot Diaz, "How to Date a Browngirl . . . “ (IA 276-279); Oscar Hijuelos, “Visitors, 1965” (IA 310-325) Judith Ortiz Cofer, "Silent Dancing" [handout/PDF]; Edwidge Danticat, “Children of the Sea” (IA 98-112); Paule Marshall, “The Making of a Writer: From the Poets in the Kitchen” [handout/PDF]; Paule Marshall, “To Da-Duh, in Memoriam” (IA 368-377)

Poetry: Pat Mora, “Immigrants"; Martin Espada, “Coca-Cola and Coco Frio”; Claude McKay, "America" & "The White City"


Welcome to refer to quotes or ideas from earlier midterms on the Model Assignments, but the Web Review part of our midterm makes this optional.




Part 2.  Web Highlights: Review at least 3 student submissions from course website's Model Assignments relevant to Midterm2 (5+ paragraphs)


Models of successful Web Highlights from 2016 Midterm1


Write Part 2 as an essay with introduction and conclusion, not just a list of 3 items. The Web Highlights essay may function best as an upgraded version of the "5-Paragraph Essay" today's students learn in high school and sometimes in freshman composition. That organization works best when you connect your three items to each other through continuity / transition.


Web Highlights essay must have a title.


  Review at least one midterm2 Essay 1 from 2016 Midterm2 essay samples or 2013 Midterm2 essay samples .


  Review at least one research-report-in-progress from 2016 Midterm2 Research Report Starts or 2013 Midterm2 Research Report Starts.


  Your third item may be another Midterm2 Essay, another Midterm2 Research Report Start, or any other assignment on the American Immigrant Literature Model Assignments.


To identify passages, copy and paste brief selections into your web review or refer to them using names, locations, paraphrases, summaries, and brief quotes. (Both options in models.) Either way, highlight and discuss language used in the passages as part of your commentary.


“Review”: describe what interested you, where, why you chose it, what you learned. You may criticize what you found, but not required.

What did you learn from reviewing model assignments that you didn't learn from in-class instruction (or extended or confirmed it in some way)?


For Model Assignments of the Web Highlights assignment, see LITR 4340 2016 midterm1 Web Highlight samples, LITR 4326 2016 midterm Web Highlight samples or LITR 4328 2015 midterm Web Highlight samples.


Part 3.  Start Research Report: At least 5 substantial paragraphs with 2+ outside sources (& possible class-text sources) toward your Research Report (to be completed on Final Exam)


Models of Research Report Starts 2016 & Research Report Starts 2013

Assignment: Introduce your topic, describe your research from at least two outside sources plus possible references to class-texts. What have you learned so far as it relates to American Immigrant Literature or immigrant culture? Also possible: previews of materials to be added or researched for Final Research Report on Final Exam (8-10 paragraphs).


Your research report is not a typical literary essay in which you analyze the language, form, or meaning of individual texts. Instead, your topic must concern a factual figure, phenomenon, or movement in literary or cultural history about which you will learn.


Put another way, your report will find research about a literary or cultural topic and summarize what you learned about your subject of interest. 


Content: emphasis is on information, not opinion and analysis, though some summary and evaluation is welcome and expected. It's a report foremost. (In other words, you're not "interpreting" a text but rather reporting facts and information about your selected topic.)

What did you want to learn? Why?

What did you find out or learn? How?

What would you like to learn next? (that follows from what you have learned so far)

How does this knowledge apply to our course or your possible development of its topics?


Introduction: Why are you interested in your topic, and what do you wish to learn? What relevance does it have to our course and / or your career? What question are you trying to answer?


Body paragraphs: How did you start your research, and what did you find?


Works Cited / Bibliography: Include a list of your major research sources).

MLA style is preferred, but other standard forms are acceptable. Don't spend too much time fussing over forms when you should be feeling impassioned over your subject.

Here's my test for a listing: Would I be able to track it down using the information provided?

You may use previous research reports for 1 or 2 of your sources, or use those reports themselves as sources. (LITR 4333 Model Assignments) (LITR 5731im Model Assignments)


Possible sources for research:

interview with an expert, including former teachers (phone interviews are fine) or faculty here at UHCL

reference works in library or on web—the more specialized the better (e. g., use "handbooks to literature" for definitions rather than "Webster's dictionary") 

no need for primary research or reading. For instance, if you wanted to do your report on Anzia Yezierska, you don't need to read more of her books. You only need to read about her.

welcome to use previous research report submissions on similar topics from our Model Assignments as research sources.


Evaluation standards: Readability, competence levels, content coverage and development, and thematic unity.


Readability & surface competence: Your reader must be able to process what you're explaining. Given the pressures of a timed writing exercise, some rough edges are acceptable, but chronic errors or elementary style can hurt.


Content coverage & development: Comprehension of subject, demonstration of learning, use of course resources including instructional webpages + interest & significance: Reproduce course materials accurately but refresh with your own insights, examples, and experiences.


Thematic Unity and Organization: Unify materials along a line of thought that a reader can follow from start to finish. Consult sites on Unity / Continuity / Transition & Transitions.