Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mid-Term Topics

For the mid-term essay, select one from the list of topics and write a scholarly essay of two thousand words. The schedule of mid-term due dates, listed in the course syllabus, are as follows:

  • June 16th or 18th: Essay outline or thesis ¶ due in seminar for peer editing.
  • June 23rd or 25th: Essay outline or thesis ¶ returned with Lecturer's comments.
  • July 9th: Essay due in Lecturer's Dept. Mailbox.

Topic list:

  1. Stella Gibbons and Helen Fielding configure their male characters as devices by means of which their female protagonists, by exercise of power of will, grow toward self-fulfilment. Detail this literary conception for each of our first two course texts successively, under the model of the hive matrix made explicit in Gibbons' novel.
  2. The character called "Mr. Mybug" in Cold Comfort Farm is an historically important satire of a certain set of social values and attitudes which had prominence in Britain through the post-war years and which Gibbons precisely locates using the term "Bloomsbury." Through a close reading of Gibbon's characterisation of Mybug, and any secondary research that you may find helpful, explain (a.) what those values and attitudes are, and (b.) what Stella Gibbons finds mockable in them.
  3. Stella Gibbons and Helen Fielding effectively subject their respective protagonists to sharp 'emendation of folly' even as they use them as their satiric agents. This does not seem to be the case, however, for the protagonist of The Trick is to Keep Breathing, Joy Stone. Explain what this difference suggests about the literary quality and artistic depth of Janice Galloway relative to Gibbons and Fielding. Your argument may find significance in the fact that the latter two novelists, unlike Galloway, came to literature from successful careers in the Press.

1 comment:

Michelle Postle said...

I would like to write on topic #1 for my mid-term essay; the idea that the authors insert men into the storyline in order to aid in the protagonist's self fulfillment.