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Assignment: Write a well-organized persuasive essay on one of the following topics.  You will need to develop a strong thesis statement and write a clear, cogent argument to defend your thesis.  Be sure to make specific references to the literary work that you are discussing, with at least one quotation per paragraph as the supporting evidence for your claims.   

Instructions on Choosing a Topic/ focus: Please ensure that you pick only one topic from the list below and, once you’ve chosen your topic, choose only one guiding question or prompt as the focus for your argument/ thesis.  If you prefer a simple topic rather then a more detailed question as the basis for your essay, then please refer to the heading of your chosen topic when formulating your paper’s thesis/ focus.

1. “The Single Effect” in the Short Story: 

In his theory of the short story or “tale,” Edgar Allen Poe stressed that the primary goal for creating works of short fiction should be the development of a “certain ... single effect.”  Poe introduced this theory in one of his reviews of a collection by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  How do Poe’s short stories (such as “The Black Cat” “The Cask of the Amontillado,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”)  emphasize the creation of a “single effect”?  What is the “single effect” exactly – does it have to do the revelation of character, for instance?  Or is it concerned with the psychological processes involved in a vengeful homicide or a fall from innocence? How does his attempt to create a “single effect” in a story affect how it is told and the unique form of a “twist ending” that he gives it. As you respond to this topic, consider how the tale you are discussing is constructed and how it achieves unity (if you think it does). Ultimately, what is the meaning of Poe’s story when everything is taken into account, and how does it express its unity and effect? (Note: this is not a comparative question: choose one of the Poe stories, not both, to respond to this topic). 

2. Madness and the Self in Poe’s Stories:  

In its later manifestations, Gothic writing is concerned primarily with the darker aspects of the psyche – madness, obsession, and the fragmentation of the self.   Poe with his terror-stricken or insane narrators explores the depths of the human personality in often excruciating detail.  Look at the treatment of madness in one of the works by Edgar Allen Poe (such as “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat”). Why does this author push the characters beyond their limits?  What insights do the stories offer into the human condition and into the self by foregrounding terrified, abnormal and disturbed minds in their stories?

3. Humour and Horror in Poe: 

"The Cask of Amontillado" is a chilling story, but Poe also uses humorous elements as the narrator recounts his experience with Fortunato, particularly in the grim ironic humour that Montresor employs from time to time as he speaks to his victim. Identify the elements in the story that might be regarded as humorous and discuss what you think the humour adds to the story.  Is it linked to Poe’s ability to deflect the reader’s sympathy from Fortunato? How does it enhance the pervading atmosphere of gloom and horror in this short story?  In particular, what does it contribute to the reader’s perceptions of Montresor’s villainy?  Alternatively, you can discuss the use of verbal and dramatic irony in "The Cask of Amontillado." How does it contribute to the horror theme of the story and to the dark atmosphere? 

4.  Symbolism in Poe: 

Write an analysis of the symbolism used in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” As you write this essay, consider what specific symbols occur in this story, and how the function in that story.  Consider such issues as those following:   Explain the symbols of light/dark, wine and trowel, carnival/crypt, the costumes of the characters or the manner of the murder.  In “The Cask of Amontillado,” what do the character names symbolize?  How do the various symbols comment on the two main characters and how they are portrayed? How are we to interpret this story of cold-blooded murder and revenge, if we follow the clues offered by the symbols?   (When you write this essay, make sure that you do more than simply describe the symbols involved in your chosen story; remember to look at them together and interpret their overall significance in the story, the characters, the plot or the story’s overall meaning).

5. Horrific Confessions in Poe:  

Look at either “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “The Black Cat,” and discuss the relationship between the confessions of Poe’s guilty narrators and their claims to sanity and reliability. Why do Poe’s narrators in these tales experience such an overwhelming urge to confess their previously and painstakingly hidden crimes? How do you interpret the nature of these confessions, and what do they reveal about the characters and thus contribute to the horror of their tales? For instance, why do these narrators each provide apparently rational explanations for their mental fixations and portray their crimes as excusable within the logic of their confessions?  Why are they so remorseless in describing every detail of their malfeasance in lurid detail? How are they driven by a guilt which they apparently cannot properly express or consciously acknowledge? Notice, for instance, how the narrators attempt to use the form of the confession to explain away the content of their actions, but not to express remorse or regret for the full crime. Ultimately, how does Poe use the intimate connection between the form and content of these horrific confessions to undermine the reliability of these narrators?

 

6. The Monster's Self-Justification in Frankenstein:  

Some people argue that the 'monster' in this novel is more human than his creator; other critics view him crafty and essentially fiendish, with his unnatural hideousness being a metaphor for his evil.  In your view, how duplicitous or trustworthy is Frankenstein's creature? The creature tells Frankenstein: “misery made me a fiend.” Do you think the creature’s unhappiness justifies his murderous behaviour or is he just making excuses for himself?  Is the creature at all noble or does he merely feign nobility to win sympathy?  Most importantly, how much responsibility does Frankenstein bear for the evils of the monster because of his initial rejection of it? Explain your answer using examples from the text.

7.  Narrative Structure in Frankenstein:   

(Note: If you choose this topic, answer only one of either A or B, not both).  a) Discuss the elaborate framing device provided by the letters at the beginning and the end of the novel. What purposes does this strategy serve? Why is this wrap-around frame more effective or useful than the usual introduction-only frame? 

b) Frankenstein is full of small mini-narratives, many of them embedded narratives, such as the story of Justine, the story of Safie, etc. Many of these narratives, although coherent enough in themselves to be semi-autonomous, have relevance to the larger themes of the book. Choose one of these narratives and explain how it sheds light on the major themes of the novel.

8. Families in Frankenstein:   

Given the diverse presentation of families in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, how do you interpret the creature's desire to begin a family? Is it inevitable or unnatural?  Consider the creature's motives in light of the various families and how they are described.  What about Victor Frankenstein’s family?  If it is so ideal, why does he spend most of the novel avoiding it?  Does the fault lie with him or are there problems with the traditional family, as it is presented here, which perhaps contribute to the self-destructive and life-denying path that Frankenstein chooses to follow?a

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ENGL 1101 English Literature

Write a brief essay of no less than 490 words and no more than 500 words on the central characteristics that, in your view, contribute to a successful or satisfying story. Use any or all of the Module 1 stories as examples to illustrate your ideas. You may, if you wish, refer to other short storie ...

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v> Review the assigned textbook readings on plagiarism and read the article “The Globe and Mail’sPlagiarism Problem” published by The Walrus (https://thewalrus.ca/the-globe-and-mailsplagiarism-problem/). 2. Compose a paragraph exploring plagiarism and how it can be corrected ...

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COMM161 College Communication

1. If it is true that most thefts are committed by drug addicts who are avoiding withdrawal, why do you think society is so slow to deal with the problem? Write an OUTLINE for a preliminary essay outlining your reasons. 2. Considering the author’s argument as to what the problem is, ...

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Dreams And Desires

ARUOGU 1 Chinyere Aruogu Tonia P, ENGL 1102 4/7/2021 Dear reader, “Story of an Hour: Character of Louis Mallard” Louis Mallard, the protagonist of “Story of an Hour” is portrayed as a person who aspire s for individual freedom from all the constraints of marriage. ...

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