Dailey – Multicultural Literature

Multicultural Literature Research Paper


As a requirement for an English Senior Elective course, students must complete a research assignment. This purpose of this assignment is for students to better understand the process of completing a research paper and to provide students with college and career readiness.


Throughout the semester, we have been studying different types of literature surrounding various cultures. For this research paper, you will have the opportunity to research the culture of your choice through the lens of a specific author of that cultural literature. You will be asked to choose an author that represents a culture you are interested in studying. You will research the author’s background, choose a short story or three poems from that author (minimum), and discuss how their cultural background has influenced their writing.


  1. Choose a cultural area of literature you are interested in. (Some examples include but are not limited to: African American Literature, Asian American Literature, Native American Literature, Indian English Literature, Hispanic Literature, etc.)
  2. Choose an author that represents this cultural area of literature.


Some Ideas (but you are not limited to these authors)

  • Toni Morrison- African American Literature (possible short story: “Recitatif”)
  • Sherman Alexi- Native American Literature (possible short story: “Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock,” or “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven”)
  • Leslie Marmon Silko – Native American Literature (possible short story: “The Man To Send Rain Clouds”)
  • Bharati Mukherjee – Indian English Literature (possible short stories: “The Management of Grief” or “A Wife’s Story”)
  • Jhumpa Lahiri – Indian English Literature (possible short stories: When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine,” or “This Blessed House”)
  • Chitra Divakaruni – Indian English Literature (possible short story: “Silver Pavements, Golden Roofs”)
  • Maxine Hong Kingston – Asian American Literature (possible short story: “No Name Woman”)
  • Amy Tan – Asian American Literature (possible short stories: “The Rules of the Game,” or “ Two Kinds”)
  • Sandra Cisneros – Hispanic American Literature (possible short stories: “Woman Hollering Creek,” and “Little Miracles, Kept Promises”)
  • Toni Cade Bambara – African American Literature (possible short stories: “The Lesson,” Raymond’s Run,” “Gorilla, My Love”)
  • Edwidge Danticat – Haitian- American Literature (possible short stories: “In the American Society,” or “Children of the Sea”)
  • Junot Diaz – Dominican- American Literature (possible short story: “Fiesta, 1980”)
  • Julia Alvarez – Dominican- American Literature (possible short story: “Daughter of Invention”)
  • Wendy Rose – American Indian Poetry (possible poems: “Throat Song: The Rotating Earth,” To the Hopi in Richmond (Santa Fe Indian Village),” “If I Am Too Brown or Too White For You,” “Story Keeper,” or “Loo-wit”)
  • Pedro Pietri – Hispanic Literature (possible poem: “Puerto Rican Obituary”)
  • Alice Walker- African American Literature (possible short stories: “Everyday Use” and “Laurel”)

*Note: These are some suggestions. Many of these stories and their criticisms are available in the school library as well as the Thrall Library. Though this list is extensive and includes many roads to take, I deeply encourage you to challenge yourself and choose your own. Use one of these as a starting point and find other stories by an author that interests you on this list or find an author that may be similar to these. With any direction you choose, pick something that interests YOU. Take this opportunity to learn about something that interests you.

  1. After you have chosen your cultural area of investigation and author, you must gather a biography of that author. What is his/her culture heritage? When and where was he/she born? Any interesting facts about this person/ interesting stories? What is his/her education level (degrees and in what subject areas)? What does he/she tend to focus his/her writing around? How does his/her culture influence his/her writing as a whole? What aspects or characteristics of the culture does the author celebrate or criticize or surround his/her writing with?
  2. You then must choose a minimum of one short story or three poems by the author you have chosen and investigated. Again, if you choose to, you are encouraged to do more. You might want to consider comparing and contrasting different works by the same author.
  3. Once you have chosen the works you will analyze, you must (you guessed it!) analyze them!
  • You must give a short plot summary of the story or poems
  • How have specific cultural characteristics been explored, celebrated, criticized, or influenced the story or poem? (Think religion, beliefs, customs, family relationships/ structures, traditions, foods, dress, music, rites of passage, etc.)
  • If so, how have the author’s life experiences influenced the piece?

*Remember to use quotes from the texts! When you make a statement, back it up with evidence from the text. “How do you know this about your author?” “Why do you think their writing is exploring a specific tradition?” “What are they saying in their writing to make you feel the way you do?” Try to think of these questions and questions like these when writing.

  1. Have a Works Cited Page using MLA format. (You must have a minimum of four sources. Your short story or poem will count as a source.)

Due Dates:

Have your author and literature chosen. Take some time to read up on the author and gain an understanding of the particular work of literature.

  _____ Biography of the author.  One page minimum. Discuss the aspects of culture which interest you.

_____Have your story/poems read and write a plot summary focusing on the elements of the short story/ poetic elements of the poems. How were elements of culture present in the story/poems?

_____Have three well written criticisms about your stories/ poems/ author.

______  – Rough Draft Due!!!!!!!! Includes Works Cited page!!!!!!

Final Paper Due on ______ ____!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Include cover page
  • 3-5 pages, typed, double-spaced, 12 point font, Times New Roman.
  • Please provide relevant pictures
  • Proper works cited page- MLA