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African American Literature Comparison

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Choose a well-known author of African American literature such as Virginia Hamilton or Walter Dean Myer. Read several books by the author. What makes the plots and characters? What are the themes in the writer's work? Is there a common theme throughout the writing? What changes, if any, have occurred between the earliest book and those with later copyrights? Your report should be 4-6 pages in length.


1. Author and Book Series

 Author

o Sharon Draper

 Book Series

o The Hazelwood Trilogy

 Tears of a Tiger

 Forged by Fire

 Darkness Before Dawn

2. Description of Plots and Characters

(The main characters in the book are in bold.)

 Tears of a Tiger

o Andy and his friends, Robbie, B.J., and Tyrone drinking and driving after a basketball game victory. Andy, who was the driver, had a terrible accident and Robbie was killed. Andy begins to change and start to get into trouble with his grades and behavior because of the guilt from the accident. Keisha, Andy's girlfriend tries to be a good friend to Robbie throughout this tragedy, but the changes Robbie goes through are too much for her to handle. Eventually, Andy starts to get help through a psychologist, Dr. Carrothers, who gradually helps him improve. His parents feel as though he's handling the situation productively, but neither his mother nor father pays him any attention. In the conclusion of the book, Andy commits suicide because he is unable to handle the guilt of Robbie's death.

 Forged by Fire

o Gerald grows up in an abusive environment with his mother. When his mother leaves him at home at the age of three alone to party and do drugs, he sets his house on fire while playing with a lighter. His mother, Monique, looses custody to him and his Aunt Queen raises him. Gerald enjoys life until his Aunt Queen dies and he's forced to move back with his mom, abusive step-father Jordan, and his little sister, Angel. When Gerald moves back with his mother and step-father, he battles abuse from his step-father, his sister being sexually abused by his step-father, and a clueless mother who is physically and emotionally abused. In the conclusion, a final house fire is started when Jordan tries to rape Angel and knocks over a cooking pot of hotdogs. Jordan dies in the fire and Gerald comes home in time to rescue Angel. The children along with their mother have another opportunity to be a family.

 Darkness Before Dawn

o Keisha is trying to pick up her life after the suicide of her ex-boyfriend Andy (characters in book 1, Tears of a Tiger). While Gerald and Tyrone attempt to help her through this hard time, she finds more comfort in the new track coach, Jonathan Hathaway. Keisha and coach Hathaway's relationship soon turn more into a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship rather than a mentorship. Eventually Keisha finds out Jonathan is moving a lot faster than she is ready for, but Jonathan doesn't take rejection well. On a date, he attempts to rape her, but she escapes by cutting his face. Later, she finds that she is only one of many that Jonathan has sexually assaulted. In the conclusion, Jonathan is finally arrested and sentences for 59 years to life for sexually assaulting another minor. Keisha is able to graduate from high school and finally enjoy life after all she has been through.

3. Themes

 All of these books have the following themes:

o Fear

o Guilt

o Neglect and/or abuse

o Grief

o Overcoming obstacles

4. Changes

 The only changes that were made throughout this series of books were the kids grew older. In the first book, the main characters were entering their ninth grade year. In the last book of the series, they were graduating from high school.

Report on The Hazelwood High Trilogy

The Hazelwood High trilogy which includes Tears of a Tiger, Forged by Fire, and Darkness before Dawn is a series of three books written by Sharon Draper. Sharon Draper is an African American author who highlights various aspects and cultures of the African American heritage. Not only does she highlight African American culture, but she also draws attention to serious issues that teenagers face. Her books are extremely popular in middle and high school libraries.

The Hazelwood High trilogy and the other books by Sharon Draper are fiction books. Her main characters are high school students who go through various obstacles. In each of the books, the same characters are used, but the main characters are switched. In the book, "Tears of a Tiger", both the characters and the plot was memorable. The main character, Andy dealt with the guilt of his friend dying in a car accident in which he was the driver and drinking at the time of the accident. His parents were unaware of the issues he was having. Although Andy drastically changed after the accident with the drop of his grades and behavioral issues, his parents' inability to see his struggles and guilt further added on to his problems. The story is told in first person, which really allows the reader an in-depth look at how Andy truly felt and the extent of guilt and depression he was facing. At the height of the plot, Andy commits suicide because he couldn't handle the guilt



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