English 2H06 Essay #1 Topics (Expired)

Length: 1500 words; percentage of total mark: 10%; due dateOctober 31, 2011, at the beginning of the lecture.

PLEASE NOTE: Essays should be typed, double-spaced, with proper margins; back-printing is fine. Include the title of the essay, your name, the course name and number, my name, and the date. Essays are due at the beginning of the class on the date specified; the penalty for late submission of assignments is 3% per day. Please give the essay directly to me, and keep a copy of the paper until the original is returned to you.

There is no need to use secondary sources, but they must be properly documented if they are consulted. Please use the MLA handbook for style and citing of sources (you must acknowledge all borrowed ideas and quotations.) Be sure to read the “Statement of Academic Ethics” included in McMaster’s Senate Policy Statements booklet.

1. Poe and Hawthorne were both masters of the tale. Analyze one tale by either author. In your analysis, focus as much as possible on devices such as imagery, character types, use of literary conventions and allusions, archetypes, and/or themes.

2. Select an aspect of imagery or setting (for example-and these are only examples–the use of houses or images of time in Poe or the forest or garden/Nature in Hawthorne) that recurs in more than one of the tales by either Poe or Hawthorne and explore its thematic significance.

3. Write an essay on the theme of the double and its significance in Poe’s tales.

4. Discuss the use of biblical allusion in Poe or Hawthorne.

5. Literature often depicts the inner conflict of individuals who feel compelled to act in a way that goes against their conscience. Discuss the theme of psychic or moral conflict as it appears in either one or two of Poe’s tales, one of Hawthorne’s tales, or The Scarlet Letter.

6. Hawthorne has been praised for his characterization of Hester Prynne in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, in particular for his ability to create a female character who is complex and not.simply one-dimensional. In this regard, you may want to compare the characterization of Hester with that of Hawthorne’s other female characters, such as Beatrice Rappaccini and Georgiana (“The Birth-mark”). (Note: you need not accept this positive assessment of Hawthorne’s depiction of Hester as entirely valid.)

7. Write an essay on the role or theme of Nature in The Scarlet Letter, and/or one or two of Hawthorne’s tales.

8. Come up with a topic your own in consultation with me or your TA. The topic must be approved by me, or the essay will not be accepted.

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