November 13, 2011

Assessment 1 2011–2012

Below you will find a series of questions, from which you should choose one and write a 5000-word essay discussing and analyzing your chosen text(s). For each question you should choose 1-2 novels on which to base your answer. Your answer should eschew plot summary and biography in favour of analysis; the questions below offer you starting points from which you should develop your own particular argument. In other words, do not attempt to cover all possible answers to any of the questions, but rather focus on an aspect of the question that you can persuasively and eloquently investigate in the allotted space. Remember to include an explicit thesis statement and to construct your argument logically. Secondary criticism should always be subordinated to your own interpretations; you do not need to prove anyone wrong but you do need to prove yourself right – or at least persuade your readers that you have made a plausible case.

Your essay should conform to the Departmental standards as laid out in the Undergraduate Student Handbook. Please note that mechanical and structural errors are liable to incur penalties. The essay is due by 12pm on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Late essays will incur a penalty of 5% per day. All requests for extensions need to be made to the Director for Undergraduate Studies (Dr. Daniel Katz) and not to your tutor. Finally, please note that pressures of work and computer problems are not accepted as reasons for an extension (see the Handbook).

1. ‘I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like’ (Jane Austen/Austen-Leigh, 1870). Consider the representation of male and female characters that might be considered realistic rather than likeable. 

2. Discuss the representation of the working class.

3. ‘The hidden passions burn fiercer by being suppressed’ (Thomas Trotter, 1807). Discuss the relationship between desire, repression, and danger.

4. ‘[A] romance is incapable of exemplifying a moral truth’ (S. T. Coleridge, 1797). Discuss the relationship between romance and morality.

5. Discuss the relationship between class and desire in any two novels.

6. Are marriage and independence mutually exclusive? Why or why not?

7. How do the authors use the following—time and place—to structure their narratives?

8. Open topic: you may devise your own topic in consultation with your tutor by no later than Week 10.

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