Essay topics 2010

Here are the essay topics from which you have to choose.

1. What We All Long For and Nikolski are set in Canada’s two largest cities, Toronto and Montreal respectively.  Discuss the role that each of these cities plays in the novels. How do these particular cities shape the experiences of the characters? How do the characters interact with the particular nature of these two distinctly different urban environments?

2. Each of the books we’ve looked at features characters whose life experiences are greatly affected by the era in which they live. Focusing a single character from two of works we’ve covered, discuss the role of the temporal setting on the struggles faced by that character. How, in other words, has the time period in which each of these characters lives shaped how they understand and interact with with world around them?

3. Each of the books we’ve read so far has multiple narrators and a narration that bounces between first and third person. Focusing on two of the works we’ve read, examine how the authors use these variations in narration to achieve particular effects.  Why, in other words, does each author choose to use both first and third person narration?

For each topic, make sure to talk about two different texts.  In doing so, work to avoid simply writing half an essay about each text; make sure that you structure your essay in such a way that you can explore connections between the two books effectively.  Also, make sure that you are grounding your argument in the texts themselves by using plenty of quotations and specific examples to illustrate your points. Finally, assume that your reader is someone who has read the book and knows the basics of the book just as well as you do. There is no need, in other words, to waste valuable space recapping the plot or describing other details about the book your reader will already know. Although you might need to describe certain scenes or events, make sure that you focus on analyzing why these scenes or passages are significant.

Essay length: 1200-1500 words

Due October 28th

Here are links to a couple of documents that might help you as you’re writing your essay:

– Paul’s tips on writing essays

– the grading rubric I’ll use while grading your essays

Reading both of these documents carefully will help you avoid some of the common difficulties I see in student essays.


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