San Diego State University En

Background: Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” captures a terrifying idea about humanity: humans prefer to live in ignorance rather than challenge or question the beliefs and knowledge that have been given to us. It could be argued that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and David Foster Wallace offer us modern interpretations of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” Both authors urge us to see places, people, and even situations from other points of view. Ngozi Adichie asks us to add “and” to the stories that we are told to create a more complete picture and Foster Wallace wants us to break free from our default setting, the unconscious belief that we are the center of the world. Plato, Ngozi Adichie, and Foster Wallace want us to reject the shadows given to us, each for his or her own reasons.

Assignment: Using Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” as your conceptual framework, analyze Ngozi Adichie’s or Foster Wallace’s text to answer the following question: What, according to Ngozi Adichie or Foster Wallace, is our illusion? How and why should we break free from the illusion to leave the cave? Expectations:

You will write a unified essay with structured paragraphs and a clearly articulated thesis. You will need to turn to the language of both author’s arguments, to take key phrases and passages from these arguments and see how they might be used to investigate your case. If you use exact words or paraphrased passages from the text, cite responsibly using quotation marks and/or parenthetical in-text citations using MLA format.

Advice: Write so that someone not in our class could understand the topic. Assume your audience has not read these texts. That means you’ll need to briefly summarize them to provide contextual, introductory background for your topic and source. Also make sure to convey to your audience why these ideas are important. Why should we care about leaving the cave?

Purpose: This essay will help develop your skills in summary and analysis as well as your ability to draw connections between texts.

References: Plato – “Allegory of the Cave”; Foster Wallace – “This Is Water”; Ngozi Adichie – “The Danger of a Single Story” (TED Talk)

Audience and Style: Your audience is educated adults. Avoid slang, jargon, or overly informal writing.

San Diego State University En

You are required to write a 5-page (double-spaced, standard tabs) research paper about a musical culture NOT covered in this course. Areas covered in this course include Indonesia, Japan, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, so you can choose any part of the world OTHER than these. Some areas to consider are: Native America, Polynesia, Australia, China, Korea, India, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Caribbean, Arctic Circle…. wherever, as long as it’s not covered in our course.

For this assignment, please use Nettl’s 3-part model, addressed in “Unit 1: Introduction” and Chapter 1 in our textbook. Focus on the Sounds, Behaviors and Ideas or Conceptions that govern the sounds and behaviors of the musical genre/activity you choose. It’s best if you stick to a specific genre or ensemble from whatever region you choose for this research paper. For example, if you wanted to write about music from Spain, don’t try to summarize all Spanish music (too broad, too big) but pick a specific genre or activity to focus on, such as Flamenco. Want to research Hawaiian music? Stick to hula or string bands. The point is, focus on one genre or activity from a region and give in-depth details, not just a broad, surface cultural overview.


What sounds are you hearing? Talk about the instruments (and voices) of the musical genre/activity. What are they made of and what do they sound like? Are there any rules or restrictions surrounding these instruments, like who can play or when one can play? Can you comment on the texture and form of the music? Texture refers to layers of activity. How many musicians are present and how do they relate to one another? Form refers to how the music is organized and presented,. How long does a performance last and how are the melodies and rhythms arranged. Lastly, what does the music sound like to you, the outsider?


What activities are associated with this musical genre/activity? What are people doing while this musical activity is happening? Is there a specific purpose or function surrounding this music, or is it just for enjoyment/entertainment? Does this musical activity have any behavioral restrictions regarding religion, age or gender? Is everyone participating communally or are the musicians/singers/dancers presenting music to an audience…. why? Lastly, can you draw any connections to musical behaviors in your life or culture?


What ideas or conceptions govern the sounds and behaviors of your chosen musical genre/activity? Why are people creating this music and why are people participating? Address ideas surrounding history, culture and musical evolution. Most musical genres throughout the world express indigenous and foreign, or outsider aspects. What traits are uniquely regional, or indigenous, and what traits are coming from an outside influence and why? Again, almost all music has a combination of both! How have politics, religion or human migration affected this musical genre/activity? Lastly, can you relate what you learned to your own life experiences?

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