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burbs

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Essay Topics Megathread
« on: April 08, 2011, 08:56:29 pm »
+9
THE ESSAY TOPICS MEGATHREAD

What is this?
A collection of all the essay topics we had saved for the initiative, and a place for any other topics your school has provided to be put.

How do I get topics on here?
To make sure this is not a cluttered thread, I would rather that you PM me (or any other mod) with the topics. You will be credited somewhere as a contributor. Also if your text is missing then let me know. Let me know if there is a doubling up of topics too.

Links are broken, you'll need to scroll sorry

Text Response

Richard III

Interpreter of Maladies

Twelve Angry Men

Year of Wonders

Ransom

Cosi

On the Waterfront

A Christmas Carol

A Farewell to Arms

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Maestro

Life of Pi

Bypass



Context

Whose Reality

Conflict

Identity and Belonging

The Imaginative Landscape


Language Analysis
Section C - Language Analysis - Sample Text Repository

Enjoy
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 05:44:14 pm by HarryPoderp »

burbs

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2011, 09:03:09 pm »
+1
Richard III


‘Richard III is totally evil, but the other characters in Richard III are not much better.’ Discuss. (This question asks students to consider how the writer expresses his views and values through the characters.)

“It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph” (Edmund Burke). How well does this describe Shakespeare’s play Richard III?

‘Richard III could not have gained power without support.’ Discuss.

‘Marriage is driven more by dynastic concerns than love in Richard III.’ Do you agree?
   
‘According to Aristotle a tragic hero is neither totally good, nor totally bad; he is a mixture.’ How well does this describe Richard III?
   
‘In the end Hastings and Buckingham regret their friendship with Richard.’ Discuss
   
‘Men plot and scheme; women weep.’ Is this the way the world of Richard III seems to you?
   
‘In Richard III, justice is only seen to happen when death is answered with death.’ Do you agree?
   
‘Richard acts more like a devil than a human.’ Do you agree?
   
‘Some characters are worse than others, but there is no-one in Richard III who could claim to be innocent.’ Is this true?
   
‘Margaret is the only woman in the play with any strength.’ Discuss.
   
“…in God’s name march!” ‘God is invoked several times in this play, both by the godly and the godless.’  Discuss.
   
‘Richard’s succession as king is the turning point in the play. Before that he is engaging and amusing; after than he is sullen and callous.’ Discuss.
   
‘Richard is able to succeed because the rest of the characters are so easily deceived.’  Discuss.
   
‘O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me.’ Shakespeare demonstrates that nobody can ultimately ignore their conscience. Do you agree?
   
‘Richard is so engaging because of his honesty – about himself, as well as others.’ Do you agree?
   
“We know each other’s faces; for our hearts / He knows no more of mine than I of yours.”
‘In Richard III, Shakespeare demonstrates that nobody can trust what other people are thinking or planning to do.’  Discuss.
   
‘Even though Richard is guilty of atrocious crimes, he is still the most attractive character in the play.’  Do you agree?
   
‘The play shows Richard in such a way that it is impossible for an audience to feel any sympathy for him.’  Discuss.
   
Richard asserts his determination ‘to prove a villain’. Does he succeed?
   
‘Richard III demonstrates the destructive nature of ambition.’  Do you agree?
   
‘How do the female characters in Richard III challenge our view of male power?
   
‘Richard is only as evil as the other characters allow him to be.’  Discuss.
   
Richard says, “Conscience is but a word that cowards use”.  How does the play show the importance of having a conscience?
    
‘Not everyone in the play is as foolish as Richard believes him or her to be.’  How accurate are Richard’s judgments?
   
‘For all its emphasis on power, much of the play is actually concerned with powerlessness.’  In what ways is powerlessness important in Richard III?
   
“I am determined to prove a villain”.  ‘Despite his wickedness, Richard charms the audience as he does some of the characters in the play.’  Discuss.
   
Richard says of Anne: “I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long”.  How are women portrayed in this play?

Revived:
‘Men plot and scheme; women weep.’  Is this the way the world of Richard III seems to you?
 
‘Richard’s succession as king is the turning point in the play. Before that he is engaging and amusing; after than he is sullen and callous.’  Discuss.
 
‘Richard is able to succeed because the rest of the characters are so easily deceived.’ Discuss.
 
‘In Richard III, justice is only seen to happen when death is answered with death.’ Would you agree?
 
‘Richard acts more like a devil than a human.’ Do you agree? 
 
‘Some characters are worse than others, but there is no-one in Richard III  who could claim to be innocent.’ Is this true?
 
‘O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me.’ Shakespeare demonstrates that nobody can ultimately ignore their conscience.  Would you agree?
 
‘Margaret is the only woman in the play with any strength.’ Discuss.
 
‘Richard is so engaging because of his honesty – about himself, as well as others. Would you agree?

‘We know each other’s faces; for our hearts 
He knows no more of mine than I of yours.’
In Richard III, Shakespeare demonstrates that nobody can trust what other people are thinking or planning to do. Discuss.
 
‘Even though Richard is guilty of atrocious crimes, he is still the most attractive character in the play.’ Do you agree?

The play shows Richard in such a way that it is impossible for an audience to feel any sympathy for him. Discuss.
 
Richard asserts his determination ‘to prove a villain’. Does he succeed?

Compare the characters of Buckingham and Hastings. How do their conceptions of loyalty to their respective masters differ? What traits lead them to their eventual executions?

Richard III has been called Shakespeare's first fully developed character in that we see many sides of his personality. Do any other characters in this play show more than one side? If so, who? And how?

How important are clergymen, the archbishops, bishops, and priests in Richard III? Are they different from other members of the court?Discuss.

Discuss the role of Buckingham. Is he better or worse, wiser or more foolish than Richard's other victims?

Revenge and the quest for justice dominate the action in Richard III. Discuss individual examples and their relevance to this major theme.

Richard is a brother, a husband, an uncle, and a son to various characters in the play. Analyse his behavior in each case.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 01:54:17 pm by burbs »

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2011, 09:06:59 pm »
+1
Interpreter of Maladies


A common theme in Lahiri’s stories is disintegration of relationships due to miscommunication and unexpressed feelings. Discuss with reference to at least three stories from Interpreter of Maladies.

In Jhumpa Lahiri's world, there are those who can manipulate others to gain what they want, and those who are powerless to resist them.

Despite some of the stories being set in India, and others in the United States, the setting has only a minor bearing on what Lahiri wants to say about human nature. Discuss.

A reviewer has written, 'Food in these stories is a talisman, a reassuring bit of the homeland to cling to'. Examine Jhumpa Lahiri's use of food and cooking as significant images in her stories.

It is clear that marriage places great stress on the partners to communicate well. In Jhumpa Lahiri's stories, however, many marriage partners see to have given up. Do you agree?

In the collection Interpreter of Maladies, silences and actions reveal as much about characters’ feelings and intentions as the words they use to communicate with others. Discuss.

In Jhumpa Lahiri's short stories, social and cultural differences can lead to both misunderstandings and enlightenment between her characters. Do you agree with this statement?

For Mrs Sen, 'Everything is there (in India)'. What instances are there in these stories of exile and estrangement, both emotionally and culturally?

 

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2011, 09:09:36 pm »
0
Twelve Angry Men

8th Juror is able to change the minds of the eleven other jurors not because he is right but because he is persuasive. Discuss.

The judge instructs the jury ‘to deliberate honestly and thoughtfully’. How closely is this instruction followed?

Twelve Angry Men illustrates the dangers of a justice system that relies on twelve individuals reaching a life-or-death decision. Discuss.

The lack of character names helps make Twelve Angry Men and its themes more universal. Discuss.

Choose one of the jurors other than 8th. What evidence in the text would suggest that he might behave differently in a similar situation, having had this experience?

In Twelve Angry Men, Rose shows that doubt is an easier state of mind than certainty. Discuss.
Twelve Angry Men shows that prejudice is a factor in every conflict. Discuss.

More, thanks to Furbob

1.   ‘Twelve Angry Men shows that we can have faith in the jury system.’  Discuss.

2.   ‘Twelve Angry Men is a play about twelve men whose names we never know sitting in a bare room discussing the fate of someone we never see.  It seems to break all the rules about what makes a good play, yet it succeeds.’ Discuss.

3.   The judge in Twelve Angry Men instructs the jurors ‘to deliberate honestly and thoughtfully.’  This is also an instruction to the audience.  Discuss.

4.   ‘The 8th Juror is the hero of Twelve Angry Men.’ Discuss.

5.   ‘Twelve Angry Men Demonstrates the weakness of the jury system.’  Do you agree?

6.   In the play, the accused’s guilt or innocence is never resolved.  Does this matter?

7.   How does Twelve Angry Men show that prejudice can obscure the truth?

8.   ‘The defendant in Twelve Angry Men is the dominant character in the play even though he plays no active part.’  Do you agree?

9.   Discuss how the setting of Twelve Angry Men facilitates an exploration of the key concerns of the text.

10.   Individual differences in the characters on a jury make little difference to the workability of the system.   Discuss with reference to Twelve Angry Men.

 
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 08:22:27 pm by burbs »

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2011, 09:14:51 pm »
+2
Year of Wonders


The plague was a vehicle for unleashing the hidden fears and suspicions that governed the lives of the village. Do you agree?

The true heroes in Year of Wonders are those who put others’ needs ahead of their own. Discuss.

Year of Wonders demonstrates the sinister side of religious fervour. Discuss.

In Year of Wonders it is the female characters who display the greatest strength and resilience. Do you agree?

More than anything else, it is Anna’s courage and determination that results in her eventual emancipation. Do you agree?

In Year of Wonders all characters who survive the plague emerge transformed. Discuss.

“Anna Frith, a woman who had faced more terrors than many warriors…” It is the women in the text that prove to be stronger in the face of adversity. To what extent do you agree?

While many characters in Year of Wonders display admirable qualities, Anna Frith is the true heroine of the novel. Do you agree?

Thanks to andy456 for these:

‘Brooks explores how ignorance, superstition and hysteria can be as fatal as any plague.’ Discuss.

Year of Wonders suggests that, in a time of crisis, it is more important than ever to hold on to traditional values. Discuss
“I wonder if you know how you have changed.” What has caused the changes in Anna?

Michael Mompellion’s powerful need for control is behind many of his actions. Do you agree?

This text demonstrates the difficulties of holding on to faith in times of adversity. Discuss

Year of Winders demonstrates the destructive power of love. Discuss.

Michael Mompellion tells Anna that he was ‘most shockingly wrong, in what I asked of this village’. Do you agree?

“This plague will make heroes of us all, whether we will or no.” How heroic are the people of Eyam?

The women in Year of Wonders are stronger than the men. Do you agree?

“... choices no longer had that same clear, bright edge to them.” Does Anna always choose wisely?

Elinor Mompellion rises above her past to become a more admirable person that her husband. Discuss

Year of Wonders shows just how little real power individuals have. Discuss

The plague destroys one world and replaces it with another. Discuss.

The plague has effect not only on the body but also on the mind. Discuss

Jon Milston, the sexton, says, ‘… these times, they do make monsters of us all’. Is this a fair assessment of the townsfolk of Eyam living under quarantine?

 ‘Year of Wonders explores how people are changed by catastrophe.’ Discuss.

‘It is the story of Anna’s courage and hope that engages the reader rather than the drama of the plague.’ Discuss.

“Fear was working a change in all of us.” What changes does fear bring about in Year of Wonders?

Year of Wonders reveals “how little we know ... of the people we live amongst.”

The person Michael Mompellion hurts most is himself. Discuss.

‘In what I asked of Elinor. In what I asked of myself. In what I asked of this village.’ Is Mompellion to blame for the tragic events that take place in Eyam during the plague year?

‘In Michael Mompellion, we see how a life ‘based upon a lie’ can destroy a man.’ Discuss.

 “I wonder if you know how much you have changed.” In what ways does Anna change in Year of Wonders?
 
‘Anna’s struggle to find a sense of identity is the real triumph of the novel.’ Discuss.

How does the narrator, Anna Frith, affect your reading of the novel?

‘The horrors of life in the plague village are heightened for the reader by Anna’s blunt and honest narration.’ Do you agree?

 ‘In Year of Wonders it is the female characters that are the real heroes. The male characters are negative and destructive.’ Do you agree?

‘I have something very few people can claim: my freedom.’ Are any of the characters in Year of Wonders free?

 ‘This matter, like all matters…would be weighed on scales that could be raised or lowered only according to the heft of strict self-interest.’ Do all the characters in Year of Wonders put their own interests above all else?

 ‘Year of Wonders is a story of survival.’ Discuss this statement with direct reference to the text.

‘Brook’s novel is more a story of love and survival than a story about the plague’. Discuss this statement making specific reference to Year of Wonders.

Is the text the Year of Wonders primarily a study of grief and loss, or does it offer the reader an uplifting, optimistic message?

The women in ‘Year of Wonders’ are more resourceful and resilient than the men.  Do you agree?

The attitudes and sensibility of the character Anna Frith are too modern which diminishes her credibility of the role she plays in the story. Do you agree?

"The plague will make heroes of us all..." and '...these times, hey do make monsters of us all". The plague brings out the very best and the very worst in people. Is this how you see the Year of Wonders?

"I have something very few people can claim: my freedom.' Are any of the characters in Year of wonders free?'

"The horrors of life in the plague village are heightened for the reader by Anna's blunt and honest narration" Do you agree?

"In year of Wonders it is the female characters who are the real heroes. The male characters are negative and destructive'. Do you agree?

“In what I asked Elinor. In what I asked myself. In what I asked of this village." Is Mompellion to blame for the tragic events that take place in Eyam during the plague year?

Is Year of Wonders primarily a study of grief and loss, or does it offer the reader an uplifting, optimistic message?

 "This matter, like all matters...would be weighed on scales that could be raised or lowered only according to the heft of strict self-interest" Do all the characters in Year of Wonders put their own interest above all else?

"In Michael Mompellion, we see how a life 'based upon a lie' can destroy a man. Discuss.

"In Year of Wonders Anna frith is presented as “too good to be true". To what extend do you agree?

"The decision made by Mompellion to isolate the village in year of Wonders is motivated by his own selfish reasons". Discuss

"The male characters in Year of Wonders are all weak" Is this how you see the novel?

"Although Anna is presented as a strong women, she is still constrained by the expectations of her time" Discuss.

Year of Wonders shows just how little real power individuals have" discuss.

Despite her hope to accomplish a "worthy life's work", Anna's actions are sometimes misguided". Discuss

"Here we will be for one another" What effects does the plague have on the bonds within the community?

Year of Wonders reveals "how little we know... of people we live amongst" Discuss.

"Fear was working a change in all of us" What changes does fear bring about in Year of Wonders?

“the plague has affects not only on the body but also one's mind" Discuss.

"The plague destroys one world and replaces it with another" Discuss

"The plague attacks not only individuals but the very structure of society". Discuss.

“Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders is a bleak exploration of human suffering and cruelty." Discuss.

“While many characters in Year of Wonders display admirable qualities, Anna Frith is the true heroine of the novel". Do you agree?

"In Year of wonders it is the female characters who display the greatest strength and resilience' Do you agree?

"More than anything else, it is Anna's courage and determination that results in her eventual emancipation” Do you agree?

In Year of wonders all characters who survive the plague emerge transformed". Discuss.

"The true heroes in Year of Wonders are those who put others' need ahead of their own' Discuss.

Year of Wonders demonstrates the sinister side of religious fervour' Discuss.

Year of Wonders demonstrated that times of crisis bring out the darker side of human nature." Discuss.

Year of wonders suggests that nature and religion will always be opposing forces." Discuss.

"From death and destruction inevitably comes rebirth". Discuss in relation to Year of Wonders

Year of Wonders is a story of great courage in the face of extreme adversity." Discuss.

“it is the first-person narration of Anna Frith that makes Year of Wonders so emotionally engaging for readers" Do you agree?

"Anna's Frith's narration of events in the Year of Wonders conveys the idea that humanity is at mercy of the natural world'. Discuss.

"Year of Wonders Demonstrates that a time of crisis brings outs the darker side of human nature" Discuss.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 01:49:06 pm by burbs »

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2011, 09:19:23 pm »
0
Ransom


Ransom is a novel of fathers and sons. What is being revealed about the pressures of both parenting and growing up?

Somax is upset at being renamed Idaeus. What is the power and function of names in Ransom?

Malouf’s novel demonstrates the power of story-telling in keeping history alive for us. Discuss.

Ransom depicts a determinedly male world, where the women are only incidental characters. Do you agree?

Does violence solve anything in Ransom? 5. Achilles feels as if he has found himself by the end of the novel. What does he discover about the ‘true Achilles’?

Words speak louder than actions in Ransom. Do you agree?

Are there any true heroes in Ransom?

In a world ruled by ancient gods, Ransom contemplates the notion of free will. How free are the characters to defy their roles and change their destinies?

‘Malouf’s use of language and imagery in Ransom shows the value of appreciating what is around
us every day.’  Discuss.

How is narrative point of view used in the novel to give the reader a range of perspectives on the
idea of the hero?’

Fate and choice. How does Malouf highlight the importance of each?

“There was a town hereabouts.”  In what ways does Ransom explore the working of memory?

‘Both Priam and Achilles are liberated as a result of what Priam does.  Discuss.

‘Somax is used in Ransom, merely to provide entertainment and humour.’  Do you agree?

“This old fellow, like most storytellers, is a stealer of other men’s tales, of other men’s lives.”  How
does Ransom represent the value of telling stories?

Discuss the significance of story and storytelling in Ransom.

‘Priam’s quest shows that there are greater acts of courage than those achieved in battle.’ Discuss.

‘Achilles is motivated as much by love as hate.”  Discuss.

‘In Ransom Malouf depicts war as the experience of grief, loss and destructive waste. The event of
war lacks any heroic dimension.’ Do you agree?

‘In the journey of Priam and Somax, Malouf reveals the deeper truths that make us fully human.’
Discuss.

‘Ransom is a novel that is ultimately about the indissoluble ties of family.’  Discuss.

‘The rage of Achilles and his defiant treatment of Hector’s body express the essential loss of
humanity in war.’ Discuss.

‘Ransom seeks to convey the perennial and universal appeal of storytelling.’  Discuss.

‘In both Homer’s poem and Malouf’s novel, it is the incidental aspects of great events that reveal
the most essential truths of the human condition.’ Do you agree?

‘The  true  power  of  Priam’s  vision  lies  in  the  fact  that  it  challenges  the  will  of  the  gods  and  asserts
the agency of men.’ Discuss.

‘In asking for the return of his son’s body, Priam seeks to transcend his role as a king and
transform himself into a man, thereby acquiring a universal significance as the hero of an epic
narrative.’ Discuss.

‘In Ransom Malouf shows that it is not their deeds that make men great, but how their deeds are
remembered.’ Do you agree?

‘Ransom focuses on a masculine world of heroes and warfare. There is only a minor role for the
feminine.’  Do you agree?

In exploring the “rough world of men”, Ransom neglects the world of women.’  Discuss

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2011, 09:22:24 pm »
+1
Cosi


The play within the play enables the audience to gain a deeper insight into the plight of the characters. To what extent do you agree?

How does Nowra use theatrical conventions to explore the ideas of reality and illusion?

'We admire Lewis for the moral stance he takes.’ To what extent do you agree?

How is the character of Lewis central to Cosi?

Nowra uses comedy to challenge our perceptions about mental illness and what it means to be “normal”. Discuss.

Cosi shows that the desire for art flourishes in the most unlikely of environments. Discuss.

The characters in Cosi suggest that we are all longing for purpose and intimacy in our lives. Discuss.

Cosi is a play within a play. How does Nowra use this theatrical device to explore his major themes?

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2011, 09:24:25 pm »
+1
On the Waterfront

The poverty of the dockworkers’ lives is portrayed effectively in the film’s cinematography. Discuss.

It is Terry’s anger that leads him to testify against Johnny, not his newly awakened conscience. Discuss.

The film presents clear-cut heroes and villains and a black-and-white view of morality that lacks subtlety. Do you agree?

The film suggests that love is a powerful influence for good. Do you agree?

On the Waterfront suggests that most people prefer security to justice. Discuss.

On the Waterfront tells us that we need the support of others in order to act bravely. Do you agree?

Although Terry complains that he “coulda been somebody”, he finally does become somebody worthy of our admiration. Discuss.

On the Waterfront reveals the powerlessness of the individual against a corrupt ruling group. Do you agree?

Courtesy ech_93

At the heart of On the Waterfront is an exploration of how individuals are products of their environments. Discuss

By establishing Terry Malloy as the hero, On the Waterfront values the individual conscience above community loyalty. Discuss.

On the Waterfront's ending is highly ambiguous. Discuss.

In Kazan's film the American Dream is exposed as being an illusion and success as a transitory result of the exploitation of others. Discuss

Terry Malloy's redemption lies in his willingness to sacrifice personal security to ensure the long-term security of a community. Discuss.

Johnny Friendly is as much a victim of the system as those he helps to exploit. Do you agree?

Charley Malloy is just as heroic as his brother. Do you agree?

It is the style of On the Waterfront that gives the film its power. Discuss.

It is Edie Doyle who is ultimately responsible for the changes in Terry and Father Barry. Discuss.

Father Barry: “There’s one thing we have in this country, and that’s ways of fighting back.” How does On the Waterfront explore the power of the individual?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 04:56:21 pm by burbs »

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2011, 09:26:52 pm »
0
A Christmas Carol

Discuss the role of Marley and the three spirits in helping to reform Ebenezer Scrooge.

What are the roles of the minor characters Mr Fezziwig, Fred and Bob Cratchit in the story?

How does Dickens examine the social problems of his age in A Christmas Carol?
A Christmas Carol is one of the most popular works of literature produced in the nineteenth century. How do you account for its lasting appeal?

The figure of Tiny Tim is invested with so much pathos and sentimentality that the reader feels emotionally manipulated. Discuss the importance of Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family in the text.

A Christmas Carol is a clichéd old moral fable with no possible relevance to readers of the twenty-first century. Discuss.

Scrooge's decision to change his way of life is purely selfish. Do you agree?

"A tale to make the reader laugh and cry - open his hands, and open his heart to charity." Does Dickens achieve his aims?

Courtesy ech_93

- “He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew...” Discuss Scrooge’s transformation in A Christmas Carol.
- Although there are a number of themes in A Christmas Carol, redemption is by far the most obvious and most important. Do you agree or disagree?
- A Christmas Carol is not just a tale of individual redemption, but a pointed social commentary: it is a cautionary tale about social responsibility. Discuss.
- The effect of A Christmas Carol lies in the contrast that Dickens manages to create through the characters and through the language. Discuss.
- In spite of Scrooge being “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” we never dislike him. Why?
- A Christmas Carol has been called a morality tale. What are the lessons it teaches?
- Explain the role of the Cratchit family in A Christmas Carol.


More, thanks to Furbob!!!!!111111!!
1.   Dickens’ use of allegory, imagery and other literary techniques transforms a simple story into a work of art.

2.   “The nature of relationships with others is central to the development of Scrooge’s character and his shift from misanthropy and alienation to a celebration of life and human connection.”  Discuss.

3.   How does Dickens balance his agenda as a social reformer with his need to write a tale “designed to evoke seasonal good cheer”?

4.   ‘Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead … but if the courses are departed from, the ends will change.’ To what extent do Christian messages of charity, love, forgiveness and redemption pervade Dickens’ writing in this novella?

5.   ‘Each of the three Christmas ghosts has a different perspective on Scrooge’s character and situation. As vehicles for Scrooge’s self discovery and redemption they are indeed effective.’ Discuss.

6.   “Scrooge’s implausible change of character is irrelevant in the light of Dickens’ use of him as an allegorical figure.” Discuss.

7.   GK Chesterton said that “the Christmas atmosphere is more important than Scrooge ... in a sense, the background is more important than the figures.” Discuss this evaluation in the light of your own reading of the text.

8.   Discuss the importance of childhood in shaping the narrative of A Christmas Carol.

9.   Discuss the importance of memory in shaping the narrative of A Christmas Carol.

10.   “In A Christmas Carol, Dickens’ use of silence is just as important as what is said.”  Consider this evaluation in the light of your own reading of the text.

11.   ‘Scrooge has to learn the truth about himself before he can understand life in general.’  Discuss.

12.   ‘The places Scrooge visits are just as important to his redemption as the people he observes.’  Do you agree?

13.   ‘Because Dickens focuses on highlighting social problems, A Christmas Carol is less engaging as a narrative.’  Do you agree?

14.   Discuss Tiny Tim’s role in A Christmas Carol.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 08:23:18 pm by burbs »

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2011, 09:29:41 pm »
0
A Farewell to Arms

Lieutenant Henry is certainly not as brave as he makes himself out to be. Discuss.

Both Catherine Barkley and Frederic Henry are resigned to the fact that their love cannot last. To what extent do you think this is true?

Frederic Henry is an adventurer who believes in nothing but self- preservation. Discuss.

A Farewell to Arms demonstrates that war is a place for men, not women. Do you agree?

A Farewell to Arms shows the futility of life in the face of war. Discuss.

A Farewell to Arms showcases a paradox in war: the sense of adventure and the horror. Discuss.

Because the story is narrated from Lieutenant Henry’s point of view, we are limited in what we understand about other characters. Discuss.

A Farewell to Arms shows the importance of friendship above all else in the face of war. To what extent is this true?

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2011, 09:31:25 pm »
+1
The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Could doubts about the American’s role be misplaced? With evidence from the text discuss whether or not he is a sinister character.

Background has a more powerful influence on a person’s life than their temperament. Discuss this statement with reference to characters in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

There are a number of references to film and fiction in The Reluctant Fundamentalist. What clues do they give us to understanding the narrative?

If his relationship with Erica had developed more positively, Changez would have remained in America. Discuss.

Examine the importance of setting and atmosphere in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Changez tells the American, ‘Your senses are as acute as those of a fox in the wild’. Discuss the various references to predator and prey.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a sad novel because it is about the loss of innocence. Discuss.

Despite the use of first-person narration in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Changez remains a stranger to us in the novel. Do you agree?

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2011, 09:33:52 pm »
+1
Maestro

Does Goldsworthy suggest that it is immaturity that prevents us from seeing true value?

And thus, while I listened the future became the present, unchallenged; and all too soon the regretted past. Analyse the relevance of the past in Maestro.

Paul maintains his ambivalent attitude to Keller throughout the novel. Discuss.

The setting in Maestro is inextricably linked with the characters' lives. Discuss.

Maestro is a story of betrayal and cowardice. Is this how you see the novel?

Maestro demonstrates the destructive force of self-centred ambition. Discuss.

The reader, in the end, sees Paul and Keller both as egoists and equally unattractive characters. Discuss.

Thanks to Vea for the following:


Maestro is a novel about adolescence, exploring its nature and development. To what extent to you agree with this statement?

Paul Crabbe is an unpleasant character, conceited and insensitive to everything but himself. Is this how you see Paul?

Both Keller and Paul have been betrayed by their love of music. Do you agree with this statement?

‘Growing up consists of learning things about ourselves and others and this is not always pleasant.’ To what extent is this true of Paul’s experiences in Maestro by Peter Goldsworthy?

To what extent are the changes in setting important in developing the issues of Maestro?

Is Maestro just a novel about music? Discuss.

Darwin is said to be ‘populated by men who had run as far as they could flee. From here there was no further escape’. To what extent does this assessment apply to Keller?

How does Goldsworthy support or condemn characters in Maestro according to their musical choices?

Through the stories of Paul and Keller, Maestro demonstrates that we are all accountable for the choices we make in life.

The lessons Paul learns about life are, in the end, more important than the music lessons. Do you agree?

The central message of Maestro is demonstrated by the many parallels between Paul and Keller’s lives. What do you think?

The central message of Maestro is demonstrated by the many parallels between Paul and Keller’s lives. Discuss

Keller says ‘it is more important to see evil in your own home’. To what extent does Maestro demonstrate that Keller is right?

Keller says, ‘the boy is too given to self satisfaction. The self-satisfied go no further’. Paul might be an arrogant and insensitive person but his memoir allows the readers to judge him less harshly than does his adult self. Do you agree?

‘You will learn each note by next week. Then I will teach you how to fit them together. I will teach you the music’. The narrative style of Paul Crabbe’s memoir is fragmented and episodic; however, by the end the reader understands the meaning of Paul’s experience. Discuss  

Australian society is depicted as naive and insular in the novel, Maestro. Discuss

Keller is out of place in Darwin. So are Paul and his parents. Discuss.

Throughout the memoir music is directly connected to human passions. Explain how this device works to tell the story in Maestro.

Maestro is a novel about the Holocaust, yet it is never mentioned. Goldsworthy relies on reader knowledge and established attitudes to get his point across. Discuss.

‘First impressions? Misleading, of course.’ How does Maestro reveal that first impressions can be deceiving?

Revived from an old thread:

'Maestro demonstrates the destructive force of self-centred ambition'. Discuss.

'Maestro is a story of betrayal and cowardice.' Is this how you see the novel?

'The setting in Maestro is inextricably linked with the characters' lives.' Discuss.

'Paul maintains his ambivalent attitude to Keller throughout the novel.' Discuss.

Does Goldsworthy suggest that it is immaturity that prevents us from seeing true value?

'And thus, while I listened the future became the present, unchallenged; and all too soon the regretted past.' Analyse the relevance of the past in Maestro.

'As he tells his own story, Paul reveals himself to be a sensitive, intelligent and likeable character well aware of his youthful weaknesses.' Do you agree?

'Humour and human warmth to some extent compensate the evil and pain in the novel, but in the end, suffering dominates Paul's and Keller's lives.' Discuss.

'The reader, in the end, sees Paul and Keller both as egoists and equally unattractive characters.' Discuss.

'The central message of Maestro is demonstrated by the many parallels between Paul and Keller's lives.' What do you think?

"When I think of my parents I see only polarities... Thick and thin, hard and soft." How important are Paul's parents in his life?

'Darwin - "a town populated by men who had run as far as they could flee." Discuss the impact of 'place' in the novel.'

'Paul refers to his teenage years as belonging to a "world of delucion and feeling ridiculous dreams". To what extent do you agree?'

'The use of a first-person narrator makes us more aware of Paul's weakness than his strengths.' Discuss.

"Everything grew larger than life in the steamy hothouse of Darwin, and the people were no exception." How important is place in the novel?

'Neither Paul nor Keller gets the life he expects.' Is Maestro primarily a study of disappointment and loss?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 01:50:16 pm by burbs »

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2011, 09:35:33 pm »
0
Life of Pi

“The most dangerous animal in a zoo is Man.” To what extent do you think this is true given your understanding of Life of Pi?

This story has a happy ending. Do you agree?

Life of Pi is an allegory about fear. Discuss.

In Life of Pi Martel demonstrates the essential unreliability of storytelling. Discuss.

“You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.” How does Pi live this out in his own life?

Pi says, “Survival had to start with me.” To what extent is this Martel’s comment on life in general?

Life of Pi shows animals and humans to be territorial creatures. How far do you think this is true?

Pi cannot live without Richard Parker, just as Richard Parker cannot live without Pi. Discuss.

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2011, 09:37:05 pm »
0
Bypass

McGirr celebrates the lives of simple, ordinary people and downplays the significance of those who have been more fortunate. Do you agree?

This is not so much the ‘story of a road’ as the story of people whose lives have been affected by the road. Discuss.

McGirr is more interested in the byways than the highways of life. Discuss.

How do issues of faith and spirituality inform McGirr’s account of his journey on the Hume Highway?

In Bypass: the story of a road McGirr shows a deep nostalgia for Australia’s past.Discuss.

McGirr is more interested in the byways than the highways of life. Discuss.


“I think my mind’s concave”. Despite this observation, McGirr’s view of his journey is mostly optimistic. Do you agree?

Although Bypass: the story of a road has humorous elements, it is concerned mainly with the tragic aspects of people’s lives. Discuss.

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Re: Essay Topics Megathread
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2011, 09:38:15 pm »
+2
Context - Whose Reality

'We can never attain a fully objective view of reality because we remain trapped in the prison of our subjectivity.'

'The line between illusion and madness is a fine one.'

'When we attempt to make order out of chaos then we risk distorting reality.'

'A child's world is shaped by their parents' reality.'

'Writing is an act that always involves a revision of reality.'

'Every reality is open to interpretation.'

'It is easier to remain happy in a world of illusion than it is to face reality.'

'Believing is seeing. The reality that we perceive is the reality that we want to perceive.'

'An experience becomes real when others feel what it felt like for you.'

'Through our imaginations we can experience different worlds.'

'A memory is equal parts fact and self-deception.'

'People's memories shape their understanding of themselves, their world and others.'

'Memories and the truth will always mean different things to different individuals.'

'We can never attain a fully objective view of reality because we remain trapped in the prison of our subjectivity.'

'When competing realities clash the result can be only tragedy.'

'Science provides no better description of reality than art or religion can.'

'Our sanity depends on a clear understanding of what is and isn't real.'

'A person's self-image can interfere with their ability to perceive reality clearly.'

The same event can provide very different versions of reality.

We need to hold onto illusions in order to cope with reality.

The answer to each of us to the question of “Whose reality is more important?” is mine.

What we feel tells us what is real.

One’s reality is influenced by various events.

One person’s reality can make perfect sense to them, but little sense to anyone else.

Reality has the ability to crush the human spirit.

We need to hold onto illusions in order to cope with reality.

Our sanity depends on a clear understanding of what is real and what isn’t.

We believe what those who are stronger than us tell us to believe.

What we feel tells us what is real.

The answer to each of us to the question of “Whose reality is more important?” is mine.

There is a difficulty in maintaining one’s sense of self and of one’s reality in the world in which one lives.

Reality has the ability to crush the human spirit.

One person’s reality can make perfect sense to them, but little sense to anyone else.

People attempt to escape a reality that has become totally unpalatable.

One’s reality is influenced by various events.

The same event can provide very different versions of reality.

When competing realities clash the only result can be tragedy.

Memories make the person.

Truth itself is an illusion.

What we convince ourselves we don’t know, won’t hurt us.

The amount of power we have in a particular situation determines how we see it.

Our perspective on social norms has been filtered by our experiences.

“We can never attain a fully objective view of reality because we remain trapped in the prison of our subjectivity.”

“The line between illusion and madness is a fine one.”

“When we attempt to make order out of chaos then we risk distorting reality.”

"When the differing perceptions of people conflict, catastrophe is sure to arise."

"The truth is sometimes difficult to discover"

“Some people’s versions of reality are more accurate than others’”

"Reality depends entirely on the individual and the context they find themselves in."

"Differences in perceptions result from the differences of individuals."

“A child's world is shaped by their parents’ reality.”

“Writing is an act that always involves a revision of reality.”

“Every reality is open to interpretation.”

“Reality is beyond the understanding of mere humans.”

“Believing is seeing. The reality that we perceive is the reality that we want to perceive.”
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 01:52:54 pm by burbs »