ENGL 2210 World Literature II

Term Papers

Be sure to read the Essay and paper writing guides for writing essays before you attempt to write your paper. The paper will be no less than 1500 and no more than 1800 words. The paper should be typed, double spaced, with one inch margins on all sides. Number the pages on the upper right hand corner and staple together in the upper left hand corner. The cover page should include your name, the title of this course, the topic number, and the title of your paper. The title should be 8-10 words in length. At the end of your paper write the number of words. TURN IN THE PAPER AS AN ATTACHMENT TO AN E-MAIL MESSAGE. ALWAYS REMEMBER TO MAKE A COPY OF YOUR PAPER BEFORE YOU TURN IT IN!

These are some guidelines for your paper.

The paper is an interpretative exercise. You are to offer an insight that you feel will help others understand the work. This is not a research paper. Extensive research will not improve your grade; poor research may lower your grade. Outside reading is unnecessary, though it may give you some ideas. I strongly encourage you to consult with me either in my office or by e-mail as you formulate your thesis.

You are asked to develop a useful insight on what a work says, on how it says it, or on its relation to other aspects of its culture or to any other work we read. Your assessment of the truth value of the work may influence your choice of topic and your focus, but should not be the subject of your papers.

Support your thesis by short, specific references to the text. When the specific wording is important to your argument, quote the relevant words, phrases, sentences. Quotations of longer than a sentence are usually not necessary. Document all references to the text with the appropriate page numbers in our anthology and line numbers where appropriate.

PLAGIARISM. It is your responsibility to find out what plagiarism means. You should know that plagiarism in your papers will not be tolerated. I will report ALL instances of plagiarism. I use several computer programs to check your paper against files available on the Internet.

Topics for FIRST paper. You MUST choose one of the topics below. It is important that your paper deals directly with the topic that you select.

  1. Discuss Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Man" and Moliere's "Tartuffe" as examples of Seventeenth Century Enlightenment thaught. Make sure that you focus strictly on those aspects of the works that are representative of the philosophy of the Enlightenment. Re-read the section in the book on the Enlightenment before you start formulating your paper.
  2. Compare and contrast Pope's view of man in "An Essay on Man" to the view of the narrator in Dostoevsky's "Notes from the Underground". How do you think each one proposes (directly or indirectly) that man should lead his life in relation to the "universe" or "society". What does each one find wrong with the "established" view of man?
  3. Most of the characters in Moliere's "Tartuffe" are what are called type characters; they are stock types found in many comedies. Such characters are usually in conflict with each other because they refuse to look at situations and at the world from a view outside of their own. Pick at least four characters from the play, describe the type to which they belong and discuss how their type is responsible for the conflict they have with each other.
  4. Re-read the section on Romanticism. Using several of the Romantic poems and Rousseau's "Confessions", write an essay on man's sense of alienation and isolation in the world and how he deals with it. Consider how the Romantic hero in Rousseau's "Cofessions" and in the Romantic poetry may feel alienated from their society and how they deal with this alienation. First, make sure you understand what being alienated means.
  5. Consider the narrator's position in "Notes from the Underground" that individuality, free will, suffering, despair, man's natural inclination to be stupid, and sometimes evil, are what make man happy and what preserves his personality and individuality. Discuss how the family, religious, educational, social institutions and governments contribute toward preventing man from being happy and and from preserving his personality and individuality. Be sure to provide specific examples and specific references to the "Notes from the Underground".

Topics for SECOND paper. You MUST choose one of the topics below. It is important that your paper deals directly with the topic that you select.

  1. Cultural anthropologists say that no culture is "better" or "worse" than any other culture, and that there are always parallels in the cultural practices between any two cultures. For example, all cultures have "heroes", but they acquire their heroism in a different way. The purpose of cultural practices in society is to solidify the group and to maintain cohesion among its members, so that in some cultures cultural practices have the same standing as the legal system in advanced western cultures. For example, an individual would sooner break a law than go against a cultural practice. Make a list of the major cultural practices in the culture of the novel Things Fall Apart and discuss their POSITIVE impact in maintaining "proper" behavior and cohesion in the culture. Consider in your discussion the idea of the hero, religious practices, family structures, role of ancestors, traditions, communal ceremonies, story telling, marriage rituals, death rituals, etc. It's important that you don't simply find instances of these and list them. See me if you need help.
  2. Alienated protagonists trapped in repressive society. Pick any 3 works we have read since the midterm and discuss how a character, or characters may feel trapped in their society and how they deal with their situation.
  3. Some of the works we read since the Midterm deal directly or indirectly with the view of what constitutes one's self (who am I?), what one's role is/ought to be in the society, one's responsibility toward one's society, and society's responsibility toward one's self. Pick any 3 works we read since the Midterm and compare and contrast these views among the works.
  4. Pick at least three works that we have read since the midterm and discuss characters who have rebelled in one way or another. First, find a good definition of "to rebell" and "rebellion". It does not mean to simply disagree. Discuss and (and describe) what group, or society the character is rebelling against, what is the reason for the character's rebellion, and what the the outcome is of the rebellion.
  5. Compare and contrast female characters form the play "Tartuffe" and from two or more works we read since the Midterm and discuss how they deal with issues that are specifically related to their place in the given cultural and/or historical setting.