Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mid Term Topics

For the mid-term essay, select one of the following three topics and write a two-thousand word essay, using the stipulation in the English Department's published Style Guide, to be handed in the lecture of March 11th.
  1. The General has a narrative structure that, matching on the surface the convention of popular fiction, seemingly ignores the rejection by literary Modernists of the facile narrative voice in literature. C.S. Forester, however, writing the decade following the ascendancy of High Modernism, is a subtle and deceptively complex author, well-aware of the new artistic range afforded by the Modernist experiments. Support this claim with a textual analysis that interprets Forester's narrative as being informed and shaped by some of the specific devices and methods of Modernists such as Woolf and Madox Ford.
  2. Explain how Rebecca West uses the well-worn literary device of the unreliable narrator in a radically inventive way to express the concepts of social class, shell shock and sexual deviancy in explicitly Freudian terms. Limit your argument to a rigourous analysis of the text of The Return of the Soldier.
  3. As we have seen, Jacob's Room can be understood to be formed in a telescoping fashion, where each successive structural component of the text is a macrocosm of the microcosm which precedes it; starting from the smallest microcosm which is the title, to the first sentence, then the first paragraph, then first section, then first chapter, and so on. Show, then, how Virginia Woolf designed the book as a whole as the ultimate textual macrocosm for all the sections preceding it.

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