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University Degree: Literary Criticism

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  1. Multiple Perspectives in Atonement

    the story, commanding Cecilia to jump into the fountain, especially with the ominous music playing in the background, and while Briony's mistake is shown clearly in the novel, with McEwan writing 'The sequence was illogical'2 would only realise otherwise after seeing the scene from Cecilia's perspective. In the novel, we see this scene from Cecilia's perspective first, before seeing it from Briony's viewpoint, showing us both what happened and how Briony misunderstood the situation. However, the fact that the scene is shown from Briony's perspective first in the film is more potent, as it allows the audience to share in

    • Word count: 1239
  2. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Analyse two heroic women who find ways of being that go against the patriarchal grain and subvert the stereotype of the 'weaker sex'.

    Therefore, as she does not allow the Puritans to drive her from her home, she stands in direct opposition to their patriarchal society. In Fun Home, one could argue that Alison Bechdel's realisation that she is a lesbian is the ultimate rebellion against a patriarchal society as she subverts traditional gender stereotypes by embracing her homosexuality. However, she quickly discovers that her own father has had affairs with various men and therefore, whilst Alison goes against patriarchal society in the customary view, her homosexuality is in a way conforming to her father's own beliefs.

    • Word count: 1610
  3. Discuss how "Jane Eyre" and the works of Robert Browning subvert gender stereotypes.

    Furthermore, female sexuality was heavily oppressed as Christian belief was of high importance: women were to be beautiful and chaste. Gender stereotypes were therefore a prominent part of Victorian society that dictated every aspect of a woman's life. In Jane Eyre, the character of Jane is introduced to the reader as an outcast child, and is thus immediately set apart from the other characters. As her aunt describes: "... I don't like cavillers or questioners ... there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders ..."

    • Word count: 1997
  4. How do "Frankenstein" and "Another Country" articulate the experience of the outsider?

    not as long as you're white' (Baldwin, 2001, p.344). Despite this being directed at their mutual friend Cass, her delivery is really aimed at every white character in the novel, and indeed every one of Baldwin's white readers. So, it could be said that Vivaldo's race immediately isolates him. However, it is the character of Rufus who comes across as especially alone: 'Beneath them Rufus walked, one of the fallen - for the weight of this city was murderous - one of those who had been crushed ...' (Baldwin, 2001, p.14)

    • Word count: 1989
  5. 'Why Literature is important in our lives'. There are many limitations on the extent of a mans lifetime experience such as time, geography and point of view. Literature serves as a method of transcending such barriers.

    Thus Literature helps us transcend the time and social barriers. Through observing on the works of literature the audience can get an insight of the human beings and the society because, works of literature convey emotions, experiences and psychological explanations of human behaviors .It is hard to imagine how Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazi soldiers. Ann Frank's Diary reveals much information about the harsh experiences that she and her family went through during their stay at the Netherlands in Anne's father's office building. Also when we read Ann Frank's Diary we get to know her dreams and aspirations even though she died at a very young age (15)

    • Word count: 1236
  6. A Story of the Lesser Men: Male Characters in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises

    It begins with the main hero, Jake Barns. He is a typical example of a member of the Lost Generation - he's always on the move, a heavy drinker, careless and deprived of real emotions. Apart from that, he is an observer, he judges others from a distance and he always remains seemingly objective and neutral as a character. That's why others often trust him enough to reveal their secrets to him - for example Cohn, a jewish writer and Jake's long-time friend, at the very beginning of the book.

    • Word count: 1976
  7. Free essay

    Shunning the Human Person: A Response to Roland Barthes's The Death of the Author

    The implications are obvious and maybe even shocking. Barthes basically declares that the literary author is not important, that the text is the only thing that matters - and he expects the world to tremble. He presents his opinion as a single valid answer and completely ignores the real world reality. The essay reminds us that the "author" is an invention of modern times, of the focus on the "human person" and it goes on about this as if it were a bad thing.

    • Word count: 537
  8. Discuss how the novel Jane Eyre explores and criticises social hierarchy and gender relations in the Victorian Age.

    However, the narrative is not representative of the protagonist's intellect at the given point. Rather, it is written in retrospect by Jane, who adds her own analytical comments in narrative interstices, often in justification of her past actions or in a sarcastic wording of popular opinion in those times. Walter Allen says," Charlotte Bronte is to be judged as romantic writers, whether poets or novelists, always must be, by the intensity with which she expresses her response to life and experience. Her response is total and uninhibited."Other critics have also often commented upon the fiercely emotional character of Jane, and the astonishing juxtaposition of such a person against completely unsavoury circumstances.

    • Word count: 1424
  9. The Loathly Lady as a representative of female sexuality and geo- and socio-politicaldivisions within medieval English society, with special reference to The Wife of Baths Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer.

    In other tales the noble knight would simply have his way with a maid and go on with his quest, without any words wasted on the morality of the act.'Dames' and 'Ladies' however were a different class of women and knights were obliged to rescue them from distress, not take advantage of them. In the Wife's Tale, not only does Chaucer draw attention to the wrongness of the deed of raping, he also seats a court of women in judgment of the knight.

    • Word count: 1820
  10. The Revenger's Tragedy. In the extract, the key themes of lust, moral decay, misogyny and corruption are demonstrated and reinforced through the exchange between Vindice and Gratiana.

    This hence, further reinforces the idea that general moral decay runs rampant in the court. Furthermore, Vindice acknowledges the fact that despite his disgust, it was not surprising that the court would be mired in corruption, this being seen in the line "Tis no shame to be bad, because 'tis common" (II.i.18). As such, the audience is all but well prepared for the utter depravity that would reveal as the story unfolds, and this serves as a basis for further development of the themes.

    • Word count: 1151
  11. Sense and sensibility in 'Howard's End' and 'Sense and Sensibility'

    One could argue that Elinor represents 'sense' whilst Marianne represents 'sensibility'. However, the sisters show how when 'sense' or 'sensibility' control the mind excessively, these personality traits can have a destructive effect on their romantic lives. The title of Austen's novel shows the need for a state of balance between 'sense' and 'sensibility'. This is similar to the 'inner life' and 'outer life' which are explored in E.M. Forster's Howards End, where Helen represents the emotionally driven 'inner life' and Henry Wilcox represents the 'outer life', a world ruled by 'telegrams and anger' (Forster 25).

    • Word count: 1446
  12. Attraction and repulsion in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'

    The Jekyll-Hyde dynamic in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde may represent the dual desires of the human soul. Freud believed that the human mind is strongly influenced by thoughts and desires which we are not able to control and these impulses are often conveyed in our dreams. It is therefore possible to interpret the character of Hyde as Jekyll's subconscious desire to be freed from his society's restraints. This subconscious desire of Jekyll's is viewed by the characters around him as deviant and revolting.

    • Word count: 2454
  13. Marxist reading of Mansfield's The Garden Party

    On the surface, class conflict and prejudice are the obvious themes of 'The Garden Party'. It is deemed perfectly natural that the haves and the have-nots coexist along side each other and lead parallel lives. Everyone knows their place in society and all interaction between the classes is governed by strict codes of behavior. Every now and we get an inkling of underlying tension, such as when Laura's mother remarks that she's 'terrified' of the cook5. However such frictions are quickly and deftly smoothed over.

    • Word count: 1172
  14. Why I Write is a short essay by George Orwell (1946) in which he details the different writing stages he went through since his childhood until he became an adult

    In this piece, the Orwell supports " it is his job, to discipline his temperament and avoid getting stuck at some immature stage, but if he escapes from his early influences, he will have killed his impulse to write"2. What the author tries to explain on this statement is that writers must learn how to manage theirs feelings. Furthermore, the message of the latter evidence is that the control of an author�s own emotion is definitely necessary so as to write what they consider in a proper way.

    • Word count: 1803
  15. Pastoral writing is fundamentally conservative and opposed to change Using the books Brideshead revisited and Tess of the Durbervilles, discuss this claim.

    Charles also describes Sebastian as being someone with 'epicene beauty', which highlights the physical androgyny in the character and thus lack of sexual characteristic. Waugh also explores this relationship along Pastoral lines by, from the perspective of Charles, constructing Sebastian as an icon. He is the child who 'never had spots', enacting his representation of eternal youth. Other aspects of character further enhance this; he always carries his teddy bear, 'Aloysius', around with him for example, and even goes so far as apply to 'childish' rules of ownership to characters like Charles, who he explains that Samgrass is 'someone of mummies' and Rex is 'someone of Julia's'.

    • Word count: 1914
  16. Masculine Dominance of Australianness in Australian Literature

    Within Australian literature, the strength of the written story is in its ability to draw experiences of life through its characters, each different, yet all Australian. The characters created in Lawson's poems, verses and stories represented a specific aspect of the Australian life, principally as experienced in the bush, itself a literary construct. Lawson had a belief in humanity, democracy and social justice and a compassion for the country, compelling his views of tragedy, humour, and drama representing the Australian way of life.1 This style and social influences created an image that many readers could relate to in their own lives.

    • Word count: 2814
  17. Recurring Themes and Concerns in Prose and Poetry that Reshaped the Character of Australia

    Earlier subjects such as the convicts or gold miners told the story of their lives and their concerns. These poems and ballads were stories about the treatment of convicts, some written by the convicts themselves such as 'Frank the Poet', providing his view of life and his concerns. It is from this beginning that much of the material available shows the male prospective with very little influence or acknowledgement of women. Even when women are included in the content, such as "The Female Transport", "The Girl with the Black Velvet Band", "The Old Bullock Dray", "Gold Field Girls" and "The Twentieth Century Girl" (cited in Anthology LCS12 2009, pp 11, 14, 21, 31, 113)

    • Word count: 1848
  18. Orientalism, Edward Said. Orientalism legitimates a vocabulary, a universe of representative discourse peculiar to the discussion and understanding of the Orient (Said 71) and it consisted of a set of representative figures, or trope

    (Said 70) The fact that Orientalism derived its authentic from its unchanging nature would cause problems with the emergence of the 19th century. Orientalism would have to change to survive with the times. There was disillusionment when it was realized that the classical Orient did not properly represent the actual Orient. It became what was known as the 'betrayed dream'. What was realized was that one could only really use generalities to describe the Orient in order not to conflict with the specific actualities; it was almost as if "a bin called 'Oriental existed into which all the authoritative, anonymous, and traditional Western attitudes to the East were dumped unthinkingly."

    • Word count: 3900
  19. Orientalism: Linguistic and Cultural Representation of Truth. Said provides a critique of Orientalism as the basis of humanistic practice.

    The writings on the Orient are meant to be studied and investigated as a compilation of information that generalizes the characteristics of that region of the world through the lens of the Occident. The Orient is a discursive formation, which is subject to rules of conditions of existence, coexistence, modification; all that is outside of the discourse is 'non-discursive', which refers to the silences and elisions mentioned by Said. These are the boundaries of the discourse, for non-discursive things threaten the discursive formation. So, what is so important about discursive formation? It, in fact, directly pertains to notions of power.

    • Word count: 1342
  20. Read the following poems by Thom Gunn and Thomas Flatman in The Faber Book of Beasts (pp.5-6). In no more than 600 words, compare the ways in which the two poets represent cats.

    / They rub my leg and purr' (Muldoon, 1997, p.5). On the other hand, the use of rhymes is clear in Flatman's poem, 'Only cats when they fall / From a house or a Wall' (Muldoon, 1997, pp.5-6), according to the evidence provided is possible to say that Thomas Flatman is using rhyming couplets, where it usually consists of two lines that rhyme and have the same meter. Gunn uses a freer usage of structure in his poem, but his lineation is essential to the flow of the verse.

    • Word count: 731
  21. The Role of Fear and Obsession on Gothic Literature. It seems within these texts that a sense of Gothic, with regard to the influence and obsession of the characters, comes not so much from the conventional fear of the supernatural and the mystical but m

    The use of heavy adjectival phrases in describing the woman, the idea of 'deepest black', the woman described as 'pathetically wasted...pale and gaunt with disease' and the alliterative skin 'stretched and strained', give an initially comprehensive description of the woman which not only creates fear but also develops it steadily and makes it feel ubiquitous and unavoidable, as though every element of her is grotesque. Within the pre-1948 setting of the novel the idea of wasting, particularly referring to Tuberculosis, would have had a particularly chilling effect as the disease would have been the cause of many deaths and, before

    • Word count: 3402
  22. In what ways is Eliots The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock, an example of modernist writing? Discuss this in relation to form as well as content.

    Modernist influences can be seen through TS Eliots utilization of language and form. TS Eliots use of irony is prevalent in the title of the poem itself, as we determine that 'The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufock' is not a love poem but rather a depiction of a lonely, isolated figure who feels alienated from the society around him. The opening lines 'Let us go then, you and I/ When the evening is spread out through the sky' signal the start of a traditional love poem, and emanate thoughts of romance.

    • Word count: 1448
  23. William Gilpins 1794 essay On Picturesque Travel discusses the picturesque mode of beauty. This beauty is characterised by roughness and variety. Yet Gilpin is not only preoccupied with the visual qualities of the picturesque: he em

    I give permission for the Department to run the e-copy of my assignment through plagiarism detection software. By the submission of this cover sheet, I acknowledge the above. College ID number (9 digit number, eg 101234567): 090172506 College Username (eg le01234): le09094 Module Code: ESH334 Seminar Leader: Andrew Lincoln Assignment Number & Element (e.g. '1. Short Essay'): Writing Exercise 1: 20% Title: Writing Exercise Begin your assignment beneath this line Writing and Vision in the Romantic Period Written Exercise b) Examine the relationship between seeing and feeling in the passage, and consider some cultural implications of Gilpin's understanding of beauty.

    • Word count: 1479
  24. Imagination in Heroics of Odysseus and Don Quixote. Both the authors draw different characteristics of what it means to be a hero in different ways.

    Both the heroes are from two very different times of the world but both of them tried to conquer the world with their heroic acts. It's not just their heroic acts that set them as two of the most renowned heroes of all time; it's also their imagination or ability to conjure things that makes them stand out. But in comparison, imagination is the key which makes Don Quixote as the hero where imagination just adds a dimension to Odysseus' character that rules him along with other traits.

    • Word count: 2675
  25. Themes in Ben Johnsons Plays

    827-830). Johnson's reputation was established as a writer of comedy. He was famous for his satirical plays. He was friends with his contemporary great English poet and playwright William Shakespeare. Shakespeare even acted in one of his plays called 'Every Man in His Humor'. Johnson used to live a bohemian life and he was once almost sentenced to death after he had killed a Spanish actor in a duel. Most of his great plays are written after this incident of his life. His greatest works are 'Volpone', 'The Alchemist', and 'Bartholomew Fair' which were written and acted between 1605 and 1615.

    • Word count: 1216

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Discuss the ways in which women are constructed in any two texts on the course.

    "The post-twentieth century societies depicted in Sister Carrie and House of Mirth reward those who are able to adapt to a more independent, self-sufficient way of life. Carrie is able to reconstruct herself as she progresses in society. This is in contrast to Lily, who allows other people to impose their constructions of her upon her but fails to construct an identity for herself. Ultimately the constructions of Carrie and Lily are founded on illusions. They are the perceptions and ideas of other characters, which are imposed upon the female leads of Wharton and Dreiser's novels. Even Carrie's construction of herself is based on illusion. Ironically, the only construction of a character that is rooted in reality is Lily. Death is a tragically real ending for Wharton's heroine. However, Wharton's use of the mysterious word at the novel's conclusion constructs Lily as still being alive, her legacy being a construct based on the mystery of the unspoken word and the imaginings and fantasies of the reader over what the word is."

  • To what extent is the word postmodern an effective critical term for describing late twentieth-century literature and culture?

    "In conclusion, I do not think that postmodern is an effective critical term for describing late twentieth-century literature and culture. The term can be used to describe political theories or philosophies, but for literature and culture it just does not evoke the true essence of the period or movement. I think it suggests too much of an extension of the attributes of modernism, instead of the reaction against modernism that it really is."

  • Discuss the way that children's literature works variations on the theme of 'the missing parents

    "In conclusion, with so many childrens texts containing this theme of 'missing parents', it seems that this theme is necessary in some way to these texts. The centralisation of this theme perhaps adds a level of reality to these stories; on the transition to adulthood a child normally has experiences that are devoid of adult guidance, that though scary, change the child in the long run. This transitional period is often missed by a younger child, and is instead picked up on a later reading of the text. Furthermore, it is perhaps time to ask, 'is this theme what defines a children's book?' On the evidence above, and close reading of many other texts as a child, i argue that although it may not conclusively define a childrens book, it is an important aspect of a childrens book. There are many examples where this theme strengthens the plot of the story, involving the reader more than the author would otherwise have been able."

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