Topics for Paper #1

Ideally, you should learn something about a work of literature by writing on it; my subjects are therefore geared to make you reread and think (papers written on the basis of notes or of memory are inevitably weak). You are encouraged to choose your own subject, but you must talk it over it with me if you do (to prevent unforeseen suicides). Bear in mind that this is not a long paper (1500 words). The first impulse of most students is to pick the largest possible topic and deal with it superficially (that takes the least thought). I expect a topic that is not too large, dealt with in detail (analyze both the problem and the poem), with specific references to the poem(s).

Remember that these are topics. You will have to turn them into theses (see the page on theses, under Writing Guide). EVERY paper must have a point, and that point must be discussable ( i.e., it must be possible to disagree with your thesis, so pure description or story telling won't do). If you have any doubts about what this means or how to do it, see me.

A few suggestions (do not take over my wording in your paper):

You could analyze:

Or you could discuss:

Or you could compare (see page on Comparison Papers):

None of these is better than your idea. Decide for yourself what you want to write about (as long as it is about one of the texts we have read). .

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Rev 2/97