answer one of these essay questions in 4 pages for english 2- College Paper Lab |

College Paper Lab

answer one of these essay questions in 4 pages for english 2- College Paper Lab |

Paper #2 Fiction

Answer one of these essay questions in 4 pages

Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: essay questions:

  1. Some critics believe that in Heart of Darkness Conrad illustrates how “the darkness of the landscape can lead to the darkness of social corruption.” What does this statement mean? Do you feel this statement is an accurate assessment of the novel? Why or why not?
  2. Heart of Darkness seems to blur the line between the so-called “advanced” society of Europe and the “primitive” society of Africa. Why is it difficult to distinguish between civilized/savage and Europe/ Africa in Heart of Darkness? Does Conrad via Marlow ever take a strong position? What conclusions can you draw based on your answer to the previous question?
  3. Kurtz’s dying words are a cryptic whisper: “The horror, the horror.” What “horror” could Kurtz have been talking about? Is there more than one possibility? Why does Marlow “lie” to Kurtz’s Intended about “the horror”?
  4. The meaning of Marlow’s story is “on the outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze.” How does Conrad’s style create meaning in the same way? And, of course, what meaning is there in Heart of Darkness?
  5. Track Marlow’s movements from the time he arrives at the outer station. He travels to the central station and then the inner station. On this journey he seems to grow in awareness. In what ways does this occur?
  6. The narrative is framed by two main voices, the first narrator on the Nellie at the beginning, and Marlow. Inside of Marlow’s narrative we hear from the chief accountant and the manager and the bricklayer, the Russian, and Kurtz. What do these different voices reveal about how they each see the world?
  7. Marlow clearly feels uneasy about where he is and what he’s experiencing in the first two stations [outer and central]. What, exactly, bothers him? Be specific. And what does this suggest about his persona?
  8. Marlow speaks in the same language as Kurtz in the sense that he feels the same sympathies. Explain the ways in which these two men are similar.
  9. Analyze Kurtz from what people say about him, his letters, and finally, his own words.
  10. The journey up the river is a metaphor for knowledge. It suggests that experience is the only path to true knowledge. Discuss this river journey and what Marlow learns along the way. Did he start out the same way he finished? Or was he changed?
  11. Track the journey through the three stations. What does each signify?
  12. Analyze the three stations as both physical places and symbolic places.

Camus’ The Guest: essay questions:

  1. Write a paper in which you analyze the three characters—Daru, Balducci, and the Prisoner—and the problem of choice. How does each man deal with the problem of choices in life?
  2. In discussing the three characters, see where morality plays into their decision-making [it may or may not]. Is morality absent for any of these characters?
  3. Discuss the imagery of the landscape in The Guest. How does this imagery inform the struggle in the story? How does it relate to Camus’ philosophy as a whole? There is a sense of loneliness to the story. Discuss this.
  4. Why is Daru so conflicted about turning in the Arab? Does he simply think too much? Would he be better off behaving like Balducci? Describe the moral dilemma at the heart of the story and argue for or against turning the Arab in.
  5. How does Daru change over the course of the narrative? Is he morally conflicted at the story’s beginning? How does his sense of the plateau change?
  6. Discuss the title of the narrative. Who is “the guest” in the story? Can Daru be understood as a European “guest” in Algeria?
  7. How does Daru’s hospitality toward the Arab influence the prisoner’s attitude toward him. Does his treatment of the prisoner carry consequences that Daru hadn’t thought of?
  8. Jean- Paul Sartre once said of Camus: “I would call his pessimism ‘solar’ if you remember how much black there is in the sun.” Is The Guesta pessimistic work? Does Camus see pessimism as the inevitable portion of humankind? Is redemption possible in The Guest?
  9. What do you make of the accusations aimed at the Arab? Do the others in the story presume that he is guilty? Do they care? Do we receive any explanation for why the Arab must be tried according to European justice?
  10. Compare and contrast the characters of Daru and Balducci. Do they have conflicting senses of duty? Note their respective ages, their respective social roles, their respective occupations. Why does Balducci call Daru “son”?
  11. Discuss the idea of freedom in the story. Does Daru’s decision to allow the Arab freedom of choice count as a “free” decision for Daru? Does freedom lead to happiness? Is freedom even possible within the world of The Guest?
  12. Daru’s inability to “take a stand” has something to do with his determination to stay out of the problem. He is seeking in many ways “freedom” from the difficulty of taking one side. He transfers responsibility over to the prisoner. Can one ever achieve this?
  13. In what ways is Daru complicit and does he try to evade complicity? How? In what ways?
  14. Balducci an Italian. Daru is French. Why isn’t the Arab [the prisoner] given a name? What might this signify?

Marquez’s Death Constant Beyond Love: essay questions:

  1. Garcia Marquez is noted for his use of “magical realism” in which the substance of the writing is incredible but the details themselves are highly realistic. In “Death Constant Beyond Love,” the protagonist, Senator Onesimo Sanchez is no hero; he is clearly a corrupt politician who accepts bribes and stays in power by helping the local property owners avoid reform. His electoral train is a traveling circus with carnival wagons, fireworks, a ready-made audience of hired Indians, and a cardboard village with imitation brick houses and a painted ocean liner to offer to the poor the illusion of future prosperity; the Senator uses carefully placed gifts to encourage support and a feeling of dependence among the citizens. But these background details of the story fade into insignificance before the broader themes of solitude, love, life and death. How are these themes developed? Is his life given meaning six months before he dies? In what ways does he overcome solitude, experience love, know life and death?
  2. The title is a play on the title of a Francisco de Quevedo poem called “Love Constant Beyond Death,” which we read in class. The Senator finds that death waits beyond the arid sea (at the end of life) for all of us and that his attempts to thwart death in in ambition, in politics, in money, are all futile–his attempts are perhaps a retreat from life and evoke in the reader pity for his loneliness, his terror of death, and his rage at his final defeat. But we are all left questioning what the Senator’s experience with Laura Farina might have been. Marquez does not explicitly declare what the Senator ended up doing with her in terms of their longer relationship [if there was one] but he does hint at it. So in what ways are his former attempts to thwart death futile? And is his lover for her futile also? Does her arrival in his life represent more futility? Or will he finally transcend himself [does he already] in falling in love?
  3. One theme in the story is the erosion caused by death. Because the senator knows he is going to die, he loses his care about his reputation and his values and loses himself to death. He gives in to his politically corrupt temptation because he is looking death in the eyes. Is this a valid argument? If so, why? If not, why not?
  4. What is the importance of the title the story? What does it tell us about the story’s central thematic concerns?
  5. Marquez has said that everything he has written has been about solitude. In what ways is “Death Constant Beyond Love” about solitude?
  6. What is the symbolic importance of the rose, the chastity belt, the campaign props, and Laura Farina herself?
  7. How does Marquez link death with nature, and illusion with beauty in the story?
  8. In the story, Márquez sharply observes politics, poverty, and corruption. The Senator is no hero, for his electoral campaign is a circus; he takes bribes and helps the local property owners to avoid reform. Stoic understanding [Marcus Aurelius] of the emptiness of career, however, and his cynicism, don’t help the senator, and he dies weeping with rage, without the love of Laura Farina. So, explain the “circus” of his presentation and how his cynicism in life doesn’t get him through his loneliness, his terror, and explain also why his love for Laura Farina, in the end [as Marquez points out] will not save him either. You might also ask the question, “then what’s the answer?” Is it simply to tell the truth about one’s own life? Is this what Marquez is getting at? Or will this “solitude” we share always win in the end?

Kafka Metamorphosis: essay questions

  1. Examine the three parts of the story and track the direction in which it goes. What does Gregor’s “illness” have to do with the rest of the family? Do their fortunes fall with him? Or do they [the family] rise as he falls? Explain.
  2. Gregor Samsa might be said to be experiencing the “alienation of modern life, modern living, the working world.” He is isolated, alone, in a seemingly meaningless existence. How does the story support this idea?
  3. Similar to number two, consider the problem of work and the values we place on work. Is Gregor satisfied with his life? Obviously not. Is his work fulfilling? Does his illness have anything to do with this dissatisfaction?
  4. Is this entire story a metaphor for depression?
  5. Gregor is the “breadwinner” for the family. When he becomes ill he cannot work. Go through each character’s response to this crisis, including his mom, dad, sister, and boss. They all react in their own ways to this problem.
  6. The story is a strange blend of fantasy and reality. In what ways is the story purely fantastic and in what ways is it actually quite realistic? How does Kafka blend the cosmic and strange with real life?
  7. The beauty of Kafka’s private nightmare is that its central human character [in this case Gregor] belongs to the same private fantasy world as the inhuman characters around them [in this case the family and his boss]. This character [Gregor] also, pathetically and tragically, attempts to struggle out of it into the world of humans—and dies in despair. Discuss this arc in the story.
  8. Discuss the theme of doors opening and closing. See where it happens—where doors are closed, where some open partially, what happens when they open, when they close? Use these as metaphor for a larger idea.
  9. Discuss the theme of ups ad downs. There are stairs people have to ascend to get to him, stairs people have to descend to get back down into the world. What might these stairs represent as metaphor?
  10. Nabokov once stated regarding Metamorphosis, that it represents beauty and pity and that this is the closest we get to a definition of art. What do you think the writer Nabokov meant by this? Is there beauty in this dark story? Is there pity? And why is that a representation of art itself?
  11. This is a story about a father and his son and the antagonisms that exist between them. The son is working because the father cannot. Or can he?
  12. There are many symbols in this story, but one of the most striking is the apple in Gregor’s back. Why does the dad throw the apple at him and what does the wound signify with regard to their relationship?
  13. Is Gregor involved in a kind of self-sacrifice for the family? Has he simply quit? Discuss this [similar to question number 5]—what is the family’s reaction to his decision to drop out?
  14. Discuss the theme of Gregor’s slow “movement into oblivion.”
  15. Discuss the cockroach metaphor. What does the “metamorphosis mean?

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