ENG214S: The Short Story Collection, First Essay Topics
Instructor: Ann-Barbara Graff
Office: Room 291
Office Hours: MWF 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Class Meeting Times: MWF 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
First Essay Topics
Choose one topic from the following list:
1. A basic characteristic of Joyce's stories is the technique of "epiphany"--that moment when the essence of an experience suddenly becomes clear to someone--either a character in the story or the reader--a moment of recognition. Discuss both the character's and the reader's epiphany in "Araby" or "An Encounter." This question is asking, how does the epiphany work, how does the 'discover' put the story in context.
2. What larger thematic concern(s) is revealed by Joyce's insistence on a dissonance between men and women?
3. Starting with the proposition that there is an irresolvable tension between (a) worldliness/cosmopolitanism and tradition OR (b) wisdom and ignorance OR (c) guilt and responsibility OR (d) sight and blindness in James Joyce's "The Dead," what does this tension tell us, reveal, show, reflect and how does it work within the tectonics of the story? Alternatively, analyze how themes introduced, maintained and developed in other Dubliner stories culminate in "The Dead."
4. "Self-knowledge is often the product of intense suffering." Discuss with reference to the experience of the main characters in "A Painful Case" or "A Little Cloud."
5. How does Joyce manage to convey a sense of futility, or if you prefer, the theme of an unlived life in "A Little Cloud," "A Painful Case," "Counterparts," or "The Dead."
6. Albert Camus wrote, "Unless we choose to ignore reality, we must find our values in it." What values does Joyce espouse in Dubliners?
This assignment is worth 25 % of your total grade. The essay must not be more than 1200 words (5-7 pages, typed, double-spaced) and should be handed in on or before Wednesday January 26, 2000.
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 3 January 2000