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University Degree: Literary Criticism

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Gulliver's Travels. Write a satirical critique on European Politics of Book 1 in Gullivers Travels.

    Echoing this is John Boyle's view, "In this last part of his imaginary travels...the representation which he has given us of human nature, must terrify, and even debase the mind of the reader who views it...we are disgusted, not entertained; we are shocked, not instructed, by the fable." Whatever the reasons may be, Gulliver's Travels may be regarded to be a representative of eighteenth century Europe in general and its politics in particular. This essay intends to firstly examine briefly the structure and narrative of the novel.

    • Word count: 2604
  5. The purpose of the writers incorporating the technique of using sexual desire as a vehicle, instead of just stating the wider themes as they are, is to get the readers to infer the themes of control in One Flew over the Cuckoos nest, power in Engleby,

    She maintains this element of control through her constant emasculation of the men, carried out behind what could be argued is a sexless facade, or an attempted one at that. This is shown through the quote "A mistake was made somehow in manufacturing, putting those big, womanly breasts on what would of otherwise been a perfect work (1.118)" Nurse Ratched de-womanises herself in order to appear less sexually desirable to the men, as she knows that her power in the ward would be undermined if they saw her as a sexual object.

    • Word count: 2801
  6. Wollstonecraft critique on Rousseau

    In Rousseau's novel La nouvelle H�lo?se (1761) and his educational quasi-novel �mile (1762) Rousseau idealizes domestic woman and 'their place in society'. In Du contrat social (1762), he takes it one further and compares the family, based on domestic affection, as the model for the state. Showing how through education a man can overcome the corrupt environment and be the best citizen he can be. Writings on the place females in society at the time was a controversial topic and Rousseau does well to stay on the 'social norm' side.

    • Word count: 2245
  7. Compare and contrast the manner in which the work of any two theorists involves revisions to conventional models of (i) literary authorship

    Barthes argues that giving a text an author is 'to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing.'1 Foucault agrees saying that 'the author remains at the contours of the texts- separating one from the other, defining their form and characterizing their mode of existence.' 2 Both critics are saying here that an author is used as a means of literary structuralism. The name of the author, they argue, has been assigned as much weight as the genre the text is classified in.

    • Word count: 2983
  8. Free essay

    Comparing Works of Thomas Mann and George Eliot.

    p 93). The relationship of music and words became very important, and writers began to realise that they could use the same methods in their work and both write about music and also include music within their writings to emphasise character and comment on what happens to those characters throughout the narrative. Wagner very much believed that music and words should be linked, that the melody and the text should be married together and interlinked so that the meaning of the drama is fully expressed.

    • Word count: 2144
  9. Southern Gothic. A Rose for Emily, is a story in which a woman, Emily, is discovered by the townspeople to have a rotting corpse of her lover, Homer Barron, in her bedroom, and OConnors A Good Man is Hard to Find, portrays a southern fa

    Before Emily's death, the townspeople thought that Emily's lover had left her, but really he was in the upstairs bedroom slowly decomposing after Emily had poisoned him. Faulkner ends the story by showing the reader how gruesome Emily's actions were when he writes, " Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gay hair" (215).

    • Word count: 2053
  10. Compare and contrast any two versions of a fairytale of your choice - the Brothers Grimm and Lin Lan versions of the story commonly known as Cinderella.

    It is in this era of television, video and indeed the cinema the modern story of Cinderella has evolved. There have been over 50 film adaptations made since the first, 'M�li�s', was made in 1899. (Zipes, 2000, ???) The fact that there have been "hundreds if not thousands of literary, dramatic, musical, poetic and cinematic versions" of this rags to riches story shows its endearing appeal throughout the centuries. (Zipes, J, 2000, ??) This appeal has even crossed over to adults' as we can see from films such as 'Pretty Woman' in which the lead character has Cinderella-like qualities.

    • Word count: 2287
  11. Novel Analysis: The Yellow Wallpaper

    Such thought implies her internalization of the social norms that fighting against male authority is equivalent to committing a crime which will lead to suicide and self-destruction. This ironically coincides with her losing mind in the end, which enhances the oppression on women. Moreover, the wallpaper "is torn off in spots and it sticketh closer than a brother" with "perseverance as well as hatred" (p.34). This alludes to the slight chance of escaping from the oppression consisted by men's reinforcement on their power and strong denial of gender equality.

    • Word count: 2109
  12. In what ways and to what end have contemporary women writers appropriated and reworked the conventions of the gothic romance genre?

    Heathcliff is a villain and is haunted by the past. This genre has been taken up by contemporary women writers of today, they use many features of the genre but put a spin on the traditional conventions. The texts may begin as a gothic romance yet end as something entirely different; also the settings are rarely castles, more likely they are dark, forbidding buildings. The characters are all there but where in the traditional the emphasis is on the power of men and heterosexual relations, in the contemporary texts women's rights are discussed more freely and the relations are often lesbian relations.

    • Word count: 2235
  13. Breakfast of Champions Literature Review

    Thinking about the question, and referring to the exhaustion of literary technique it has to be considered the different techniques that are apparent in Breakfast of Champions, relating to the events that caused the style in which the book was penned, as a self-therapy novel, it can be considered that this is where the wacky style came from, all the trivia details, descriptions and such like that are featured in the book are very much a representation of Vonnegut's mind, all over the place.

    • Word count: 2392
  14. On balance, does The Two Gentlemen of Verona sustain or undermine the idealisation of male-male friendship that lies at the heart of the male friendship tradition?

    Shakespeare clearly wanted the audience to take notice of the names as in the first speech between Valentine and Proteus as he states both their names twice. 'The names suggest, Proteus is unable to find his identity, and Valentine finds his in love' (Godshalk, 1969 p170). The name Proteus as Godshalk points out, derives from a Greek myth about a sea god who could change his shape as he pleases, the character of Proteus is in Ovid's Metamorphoses. This is probably where Shakespeare also got the rape theme from as in Titus and Gisuppus Sophronia goes with willingly with Titus, yet as Carroll puts across 'love in the metamorphoses itself is all too frequently enacted as rape', (Carroll, 2004 p23).

    • Word count: 2392
  15. Discuss the significance of narrative perspective in Melvilles Benito Cereno and Douglass Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

    When Delano boards the San Dominick to help the crew, he notices "Don Benito's unfriendly indifference towards himself1" and his "sour and gloomy disdain". This is a strange reaction to Delano's company, which should be greeted as a form of rescue. However, Delano attributes this indifference to the "effects of sickness2" and dismisses it. As a consequence, readers of Benito Cereno assume Delano's excuse as their own and also dismiss such a trivial observation. But Delano is good at making these "trivial observations" but instead of connecting them and drawing a conclusion, he rejects them as soon as it is noted.

    • Word count: 2801
  16. Comparing Narratives in films and texts

    When adapting a novel, definite decisions have to be made, such as where and when the events are located and the exact time period in which events take place, and the narrative becomes a part of this. To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel concerned with time and at certain points in the story, time is presented as moving fairly slowly, even suspended at times as the characters themselves watch the action, "the spectators were quiet" (Mockingbird, 185). There is also a cyclical notion of time present as the story moves through the seasons and events take place over a

    • Word count: 2843
  17. Sonnet 130. William Shakespeares Sonnets is a collection of 154 sonnets published in the early 17th century towards the end of the Renaissance period. It was addressed to two distinct audiences in mind.

    This condensed five rhyme palette (a-e) creates a sonorous music in the vowel rich Romance languages. However, in English, the scheme can sound contrived and monotonous, particularly in a series of sonnets on the same theme. Thus, Shakespeare followed the more idiomatic rhyme scheme which interlaces a rhyming pair of couplets to make a quatrain. Overall, it is presented as three differently rhymed quatrains and a concluding couplet. This is can be seen in Figure 1: Sonnet 130 My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head I

    • Word count: 2068
  18. Comment on the significance of letters in any TWO of the set novels.

    Developed thought in relation to the significance of letters in both these texts helps the reader to understand how they have an impact on what is actually happening; often, the consequences of a particular letter may seem unimportant at the time but could be viewed as noteworthy a few chapters later; this is certainly the case when Beaver sends a telegram to Tony telling him he plans to visit Hetton that weekend in 'A Handful of Dust'. Episodes such as the end of 'The Turn of the Screw'; where the letter written by the Governess is used as a ploy to encourage Miles to reveal the truth about his expulsion, illustrate how a letter can also have an immediate impact.

    • Word count: 2182
  19. Discuss the relationship between the self and religion

    However, there are several fundamental aspects of Christianity that are important to all denominations. These include; moral rules on how to live life the way God wants, a sense of humility before the God who creates man, a highlighting of human weakness as they fall victim to sinfulness, the sense of comfort or hope from God in difficult times and finally the promise of eternal life. All these aspects are covered in the poetry of Donne and Herbert and are still relevant to believers today, even if their numbers are in decline. In the cases of Donne and Herbert, their relationship with religion is noted both in biographies about their lives and in their poetry.

    • Word count: 2210
  20. In an essay of 1500 words consider the ways in which Top Girls challenges traditional uses of language and play structure.

    There is no exposition at the beginning of Churchill's play. In Act One Marlene's fantasy dinner party (akin to The Mad Hatters Tea Party) introduces characters that are not seen or mentioned again in the play. The structure is fragmented and the location of the action changes from one scene to the next with little connection (restaurant, employment agency, Joyce's backyard). However, each location depicted by Churchill whether imaginary or realistic relays a space in which women express themselves. Churchill further challenges traditional play structure through the absence of climax.

    • Word count: 2658
  21. The Ghost Sonata

    Particularly important, Strindberg makes extensive use of the pause, in order create an atmosphere full of foreboding and uncertainty. However the audience is never entirely sure of what the actual mood means. To them it is just a feeling. The producer can not remove himself entirely from this ambiguity, but he can use other stage effects in order to manoeuvre the audience's reaction into a certain direction. Therefore all characters within The Ghost Sonata, evade specific interpretation. The Student is the first character to speak within the play, and he is drawn instantly towards the figure of the milkmaid, of whom we are told in the casting list, is a vision.

    • Word count: 2001
  22. To what extent is the word postmodern an effective critical term for describing late twentieth-century literature and culture?

    However, the problem with this term is that it is not relevant for literary critiques: The literary techniques and devices usually singled out to distinguish the specifically postmodernist outlook are not decisive. For such deliberate interruptions of the processes of knowing, and of feeling, such a dispersal of experience and understanding into a meaningless kinetics of intellectual and aesthetic games at which formal literary devices like, say, heteroglossia, or heterotopia [...] are, in fact, contrary to the purpose of art, which still is what it was for Conrad: 'to reach the secret spring of responsive emotions...and ... make you feel,...

    • Word count: 2373
  23. The nature of narrative

    The narrative form accumulates experiences and actions at the individual as well as the group level. It is precisely narratives that provide a foundation to erect and sustain or to demolish the relationships between individuals, individuals in a group and between groups. Deliberations of the narrative form, express the idea of being human. In fact, to live life, is to live a story, we are essentially living within our own record of existence, our own narration. Similar to a narrative, the complete sum of all parts of human life is bound by the beginning of birth and the ending of life.

    • Word count: 2570
  24. In the Ruin, the focus is on either the decay or the splendour rather than on the contrast between them(TM) (Renoir) Do you agree with this analysis of the poem? In your answer you should compare The Ruin

    But in The Ruin, the speaker 'draws no explicit moral from his description' (Mitchell and Robinson, 2007.265). However, I cannot agree that the descriptions of decay and splendour do not sometimes affectively work together. Renoir has described the poem as a 'vacuum' for the reason that it does not indicate a prescribed moral from the meditations on former splendour and earthly decay. The poem does not seem to link these two together in the similar formula of inductive reasoning that is noted in The Wanderer where the observations on decay lead to remembrance of the subject's former greatness which subsequently leads to a conclusion that all matters on earth will decay.

    • Word count: 2268
  25. The condition and concept of the child in Dickens

    that could be used as a vehicle to allow the reader to understand his views as well as feel them. Of course, Dickens had for inspiration the 'sentimental examples' (79) of Wordsworth as well as the Augustinian tradition of child depiction adopted by Blake and Gray. Indeed, it is suggested that by adding a sense of gloom to the Wordsworthian tone used primarily for the representation of nature Dickens is able to extend these sentiments to his child figures. For example, whilst his paraphrasing of 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge' in The Old Curiosity Shop depicts the beauty of nature on the 'sleeping town', (79)

    • Word count: 2993

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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