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Short Essay Exercises

1.
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What rhetorical features of "This Little Light of Mine" connect it to the traditional lullaby?
2. Analyze the rhetorical device of repetition in "Rock Me, Baby." How does the lyricist manipulate repetition to achieve the song's particular power?
3.
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What elements of black vernacular jazz music do you hear in "The Message"?
4.
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How do prayer and the act of praying function in the spiritual "I'm a-Rollin'"? Do you think the function of spirituals as prayer, or as a supplement to prayer, has changed over time? If so, how? If not, why not?
5.
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Trace the strategies for collective and individual black survival that are delineated in one of the following lyrics: "City Called Heaven," "Go Down, Moses," or "Steal Away to Jesus."
6.
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What lines in Sam Cooke's lyric "A Change Is Gonna Come" invoke the antebellum slavery origins of the spirituals? What historical underpinnings do you find in Cooke's lyric? Why might he invoke these ideas in song in 1965?
7.
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The "Shine" songs and "Stackolee" feature the "bad man" character who is the subject of a musical "toast." Select a work from the anthology that features such a character and draw parallels between the behavior of the literary figure and the subject of the song.

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