Instructor: Ann-Barbara Graff
Office: Room 291
Office Hours: MWF 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Class Meeting Times: MWF 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Final Essay Topics
Choose one topic from the following list:
1. Citizen Kane, Dora, The Return of Martin Guerre, Rebecca, If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, The Turn of the Screw, and The Autobiography of my Mother, are peopled with archetypes (e.g. the best friend with a good heart, the housekeeper with a secret, the sickly wife/mother, the dead mother, the wise medical professional, the innocent boy). Pick an archetype that is present in two different texts, and discuss the ways in which the archetype is deployed to either buoy conventional modes of representation or mock/satirize/betry those modes.
2. The Autobiography of my Mother is a spare novel. At the same time, it strives to articulate the emotions of its characters, particularly its main character Xuela Claudette Richardson, in a palpable way. It does not use conventional means of expression. Analyze the means by which Kincaid expresses or reifies Xuela's particular emotional perspective.
3. Discuss the pitfalls and (social or literary) benefits of biography using at least two of Gertrude Stein, Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, Daphne DuMaurier, Orson Welles, Natalie Zemon Davis, Sigmund Freud, and Jamaica Kincaid. Alternatively, analyze the genre of fictional biography in contradistinction to "authoritative" historical biography using at least two of the above listed.
4. Analyze the means by which Faulkner achieves (or attempts to achieve) narrative unity in If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem.
5. From the perspective of a scholar of narrative, compare The Return of Martin Guerre (Vigne) and The Return of Martin Guerre (Zemon Davis), two renditions of the same story in two different media.
This assignment is worth 15 % of your total grade. The essay must not be more than 2000 words (8-10 pages, typed, double-spaced) and should be handed in on or before Monday April 9, 2001. Graded papers will be handed back during the exam period, unless announced otherwise
Penalties for lateness: Extensions should not be asked for and will not be granted EXCEPT in cases of serious emergencies, e.g., medical crisis. Late essay will be penalized 5% per day (including weekends and holidays).
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Posted 8 March 2001