FOCUS: This paper assignment gives you the opportunity to deeply analyze Harlem Renaissance writers’ invention strategies you have seen at work in the texts we have studied in this first half of the semester. To analyze invention, you will want to ask what activities the writer had to engage in to create the text, as well as what new ideas the writer forms in the text. This paper also asks you to consider the invention techniques in the same way of an individual who was or currently is in the public eye (1960-present) and whether the activities used in creating his/her texts, as well as the new ideas that form in these texts are similar or different from the Harlem Renaissance writers we have studied.

DEVELOPMENT: To get started, you will want to choose at least two different Harlem Renaissance writers we have read this semester and analyze their texts for invention techniques. Once you have outlined the invention techniques at work in these writers’ texts, you will want to consider how the two writers’ activities and ideas in invention are similar or different. Next, you will choose an individual in the public eye (1960-present) who has a text you can analyze for invention. This person could be a popular singer, politician, movie director, rapper, artist, novelist, poet, Civil Rights leader, activist, ect. The text you evaluate for invention could be a song, music video, musical performance, speech, film, painting, short excerpt from a novel, poem, etc. After you analyze invention strategies in this text, you will then need to consider how these are similar or different to the writings you chose from our class.

ARRANGEMENT: Your paper can be arranged in any way you feel communicates your message clearly. Do not feel restricted to a five-paragraph essay or that you have to include a formal thesis at the end of your first paragraph. You should arrange your paper in a way that you feel comfortable with and that your chosen, “real” audience can understand and follow.

AUDIENCE: For this paper, you are to choose an audience to address that you feel could benefit from the information you are sharing about Harlem Renaissance writers, as well as a text from someone who was or is in the public eye. Pick an audience that is real in your life that you would want to tell about what you have learned about invention of Harlem Renaissance writers, and an individual in the public eye.

LANGUAGE: The language you use in your paper should be appropriate for your audience. For example, if you are writing to a close friend or family member, you would choose to write in language that is more informal and conversational. It is perfectly fine and encouraged to use “I” in your papers and include your reactions to the texts as you analyze invention techniques.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS: 5-6 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt., Times New Roman or Garamond font, Due Dates for First Version and Final Paper appear on the Daily Schedule of your syllabus. Also, you need to include a visual cover page for this assignment. The visual cover page should shed light on a point in your writing and give your audience an idea of what your paper will cover.

Invention Questions to Drive Your Analysis of Texts


  • What is invention? (What cognitive, social and other activities did the writer/writers have to engage in to create the text?)
  • What’s being invented? (What attitudes, beliefs, practices, ideas, etc. emerge from the text? If you get stuck, ask yourself what you know, think, feel, as a result of engaging with the text. What ideas, feelings, beliefs, etc. have changed as a result of your reading?