English 102 – 2nd Essay: Short Story
The questions below are possible paper topics. They are intentionally broad and need to be narrowed to a workable thesis. Do not attempt to answer every question in the assignment. Simply choose one idea and develop a focused thesis, with appropriate quotes and notation of text for support. Use only one story for the paper. Do not hand in a summary of the story. Instead, consider a close reading of a section of the text.
1. Write a critical essay on how the story you've chosen is told by the author and perceived by the reader. Consider the 3rd person narrator, as seemingly objective (as in “Young Goodman Brown”) or the “stream of consciousness” of the character (“Eveline”). Or focus on the 1st person narrator’s “reliability” as in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “Araby” or “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.” How does the process of story-telling influence the reading of the narrative? Consider one of the following text: “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “Araby,” “Eveline,” “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” “Happy Endings,” “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.”
2. Consider the relationships between men and women in the story you've chosen. How are women portrayed in the work? How do these portrayals reflect or conflict with society’s view of women, be they traditional or contemporary? How are men portrayed in the work? Do these portrayals show a misunderstanding of or even a distrust towards women? Consider one of the following text: “Young Goodman Brown,” “Araby,” “Eveline,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “Happy Ending.”
3. To what degree does a character in the story you've chosen have control over his/her situation? Think about whether the character is being controlled by forces, by God or by others, or if he/she just makes bad decisions (or no decisions at all). You may even consider characters whose lives are being ruled by social norms or by authority figures. Consider one of the following text: “Araby,” “Eveline,” “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “Happy Endings,” “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.”
The essay should be 4 pages, typed and double-spaced, with separate pages for the title page and the Work Cited page. The due date is Tuesday, Oct 15 at the beginning of class. If you have any questions concerning the paper or the topic, feel free to contact me via email or during office hours.