English 102 Midterm Essay: 4 Options
Choose ONE of these four options—
OPTION 1 (Character Analysis):
Assignment: Choose THREE different characters from three different works—one short story, one poem, and one play—COVERED IN CLASS. Comparison and contrast should certainly play a part. Using CITED examples and quotes from the chosen works, analyze the character(s) keeping the following criteria (not necessarily ALL of them) in mind:
• point of view
• roundness (vs. flatness)
• dynamism (vs. stasis—i.e., dynamic vs. static)
• the limits/biases of their perspective (mental state, physical state, gender, race, etc.)
• setting (not just place, but time/history)
Be especially sure to keep in mind how the author goes about bringing such details/revelations about a given character STYLISTICALLY.
OPTION 2 (The Gothic and Its Influence):
What is the typical gothic subject matter? The dark. The horrible. The grotesque. The mysterious…
In a nutshell, the persistence, threat, and resurfacing of PAST sins—that is, how they are hidden (“buried”) and perpetuated in the present (which often fools itself into thinking the influence of those past sins is dead, gone, and can no longer touch them).
How does this tend to manifest itself? Perversion, insanity, murder, sadism (persecution, torture), grotesquerie.
Keep in mind that gothic works have proven to be strongly and arguably universally influential in literature and others arts; works that might be considered less obviously gothic or not gothic at all often still utilize the tropes (thematic and stylistic patterns) of the Gothic.
Assignment: Compare the style and approach of how THREE different works COVERED IN CLASS that could be considered Gothic. Make sure that ONE of the works could arguably be a less obvious example than the other
OPTION 3 (Imagery):
Refamiliarize yourself with CONNOTATION and IMAGERY (see pages 421-422, 431, 433, and 446).
Assignment: Discuss, via comparison and contrast, how WORD CHOICE and IMAGERY contribute to the common thematic goal of THREE different works—one short story, one poem, and one play—COVERED IN CLASS.
OPTION 4 (Archetypes):
Refamiliarize yourself with what an ARCHETYPE is; read it on pages 542-543 and 557 of your anthology.
Assignment: Consider an archetype discussed in class or argue for the existence of a particular new, undiscussed one of your naming. Discuss how THREE different works COVERED IN CLASS approach a similar archetype differently.
Length: 3 to 5 pages, MLA style
This is what individual anthology entries on your Works Cited page (completely separate page, with MLA-style pagination at top right) should look like: (the formula, then examples)
Last Name of Author, First and (if any) Middle Name of Author. Title of Work within
the Anthology (in quotation marks if a short story or a poem, underlined or
italicized if a play). The Full Name of the Anthology (underlined or italicized)
followed by the edition. Translator (Trans., only if the original work was not
written in English; first name first; if more than one, alphabetical by last name).
Editor (Ed., first name first; if more than one, alphabetical by last name). City
of Publication: Publishing Company, Latest Copyright Date. Pages that the
work occupies within the anthology (numbers only). Medium (“Print” or “Digital”).
(Notice how the entries are listed alphabetically according to the author’s last name, and how they are reverse indented; that is, indented the opposite of how you indent a paragraph, with only the first line NOT indented.)
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction,
Poetry, Drama, and Writing 5thed. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Ed.
Dana Gioia and X.J. Kennedy. Boston: Pearson, 2016. 690-732. Print.