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Literature Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Sorry for Disturbing You

Life is about many things. Some would say friendship is gold, others that money talks. But one main thing that many people isn’t listing that high, is communication. We have the ability to talk and express what we feel. That can be the key to loving relationships and a happy life, if handled correctly. But if one is not able to express those feelings, and not able to obtain intimacy with someone else it will lead to loneliness. The short story “Sorry for Disturbing You” is written by Richard Knight and is dealing with the importance of communication. It is about a meeting between two men that seem different but really may not be that different after all. The story…

Lord of the Flies – Character Analysis: Piggy

Examine the significance of the character Piggy in the novel “Lord of The Flies” consider his purpose, key role and relationship with the other boys at important points in the novel. To mimic men’s actions and lost of civility in times of war and need, William Golding, narrates a story in which all characters are boys, with the intention of taking the reader through the journey made by those who descend to savagery when facing certain conditions. This essay is going to explore and explain the symbolism behind one of the novel’s main characters and how his presence influences other characters’ actions and the way things turn out. Piggy is a Short and heavyset boy who wears spectacles and is…

Persevere of a Young Lady

The start of the Holocaust began under the leadership Hitler. The Nazis blindsided by ideology started a war of hate against the Jewish People. The Germans at the beginning restricted human rights and bans transportation. Later in their rampage they began the onslaught of the Jewish people. Jews that managed not to escape the German stronghold were hunted down. People of Jewish decent had to abandon their lives and go in hiding. Hidden Jews had to live in the moment because they never know what is the future is ahead. In Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank shows the reader that the Holocaust did exist. The diary shows how a young girl was able to persevere…

Dystopian Society Present in 1984 and Fahrenheit 451

The idea of a dystopian society is that of complete control, either through the use of a police state that has ultimate control over humanity and or the idea of man abusing technology to further gain control of its subjects. These ideas are very present in both novels. In 1984, the totalitarian state is technically and urbanely engineered to spy on and see people’s very thoughts. In Fahrenheit 451 a similar idea is used in the outlawing of literature and the use of denunciations to capture and punish those deemed to have broken the law. This essay is going to explore the idea of Man’s struggle against the society which seeks to break him, erasing the individual, resulting in the…

A Clean Well Lighted Place – Theme and Setting

A clean well lighted place by Ernest Hemingway has a few themes that stand out clearly but the one theme that stands out to me is despair. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, despair means to lose all hope or confidence. In the story, the older waiter and the old deaf man somehow share a common bond of despair. Both men are of age and like to be out, late at night, alone. Asides from the story alone, the theme of the story can be brought out by the setting. The setting contributes to the story’s theme in different ways. The setting contributes to the mood of the story, to the structure of the story, and to the lesson of the story….

A Worn Path Critical Analysis

“How old are you Granny? ” he was saying. “There is no telling mister,” she said, “no telling. ” “Well, Granny,” he said, “You must be a hundred years old and scared of nothing (216-217). ” Granny is an old woman; described as “being so old that her skin was as if she had a tree in the middle of her forehead with numberless branching wrinkles (213). ” Phoenix Jackson is her name. She is an African American woman, very old, withered and frail. Phoenix is the protagonist in Eudora Welty’s story “A Worn Path. Throughout time, people have gone on their own journeys, traveling rocky roads, climbing mountains while overcoming obstacles along the way; while grasping on to hope…

The Lottery

“The less there is to justify a traditional custom,” wrote Mark Twain, “the harder it is to get rid of it. ” “The tradition of preserving traditions became a tradition,” observes Gathorne Cranbrook. These comments accurately describe the situation that Shirley Jackson presents in her story “The Lottery. ” The villagers of a small town gather together in the square on June 27, a beautiful day for the town lottery. In other towns, the lottery takes longer, but there are only 300 people in this village, so the lottery takes only two hours. Village children, who have just finished school for the summer, run around collecting stones. They put the stones in their pockets and make a pile in the…

Antifeminism in Medieval Literature

Literature throughout the middle ages was often extremely antifeminist, in large part due to the patriarchal nature of society and the lack of female writers. Women were portrayed as vile temptresses, whose very existence revolved around causing man misery. This style of writing is strongly evidenced in The Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight where Geoffrey Chaucer and the Pearl Poet create characters to strongly reinforce the sentiment. These writers used historical and mythological examples, as well as The Lord’s Lady, and Alyson, the Wife of Bath, to portray women’s’ loathsome nature. In The Wife of Bath, the fifth husband of Alyson owns a book filled with examples of women of poor character. Unlike Sir Gawain and…

Jane Eyre and Much Ado about Nothing

Charlotte Bronte’s novel, “Jane Eyre” and William Shakespeare’s play, “Much Ado about Nothing”, both focus on the themes of love; “Jane Eyre” was written in 1851, the Victorian era whereas “Much Ado about Nothing” was written in 1599, the Elizabethan era. Although there may be over hundreds of years between them, both texts exhibit the ways the difficulties of love can be explored. Both texts imply that there will be difficulties as the relationships are established. Charlotte Bronte presents a flourishing relationship between Jane and Mr Rochester; this is evident when Mr Rochester says ‘“My cherished preserver good night! Strange energy was in his voice. Strange fire in his look. ’ Charlotte Bronte uses passionate language to display the development…

The Unveiling of Roger Chillingworth

In Chapter Ten, when Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates the transformation of Roger Chillingworth from an unoffending man to a leech-like character seeking revenge on his host, Dimmesdale, the author implements comparisons along with specific word choice to characterize Chillingworth. His personality in the reader’s eyes metamorphoses into one of a fiendish parasite due to Hawthorne’s application of comparisons and connotations relating to both leeches and Satan. Together these literary techniques develop Chillingworth’s mutation from an upstanding citizen to a devilish bloodsucker and depict his relentless obsession with vengeance. Hawthorne integrates similes and metaphors into his unveiling of Chillingworth as a less righteous man than originally believed to aid characterization. His examination of Dimmesdale is begun “with the severe and equal integrity…

To Kill a Mockingbird

Frank Barron, a professor in Psychology once said, “Never take a person’s dignity: it is worth everything to them, and nothing to you. ” Scout Finch is a wise, young and respectful girl who lives in a little town in Alabama called Maycomb. Scout lives with her older brother Jem Finch and her father Atticus Finch. Scout has a fuse when it comes to her temper, so when something sets her off she shows it. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the character of Scout Finch is revealed to the reader as a respectful character through standing up for her father, and respecting her Uncle Jack in forgiving him for what he had done wrong to her. Scout is…

To Kill a Mockingbird

The first character, Atticus, shows empathy to many people throughout the story including Miss Caroline, Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson. Atticus first had empathy for Miss Caroline when Scout came home complaining about getting in trouble by her, “’ You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it’” (Lee 39). Atticus meant that in order to know what another person felt in a certain situation, she had to think how that person would be thinking. Second, Atticus has empathy for Boo because people are always telling stories about him and giving him a bad reputation. Atticus knows when Scout, Jem, and Dill are playing…

Rain of Gold

This is a non-fiction book of many layers. It’s about greed, prejudice, hate and anger, poverty and death. It’s also about family, love, relationships, and dreams. Parallel stories are told of two children, both babies of their families, who grow up during the Mexican revolution. Children of war who are driven from their homes in Mexico, hoping for a better life in America. In America, however, they find that the Mexicans are treated no better than dogs. It was interesting to read about prejudice against Hispanics. We hear about prejudice against the blacks all the time, but don’t think as much about what the Mexicans have gone through in immigrating to this country over the years. In the book, both…

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

“As he is about to clasp her he feels a stunning blow upon the back of the neck; a blinding white light blazes all around him with a sound like the shock of a cannon—then all is darkness and silence”. Ambrose Bierce has a unique way of captivating reader’s attention and it is perfectly shown in his short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”. The story tells about a man in southern Alabama during the Civil War, which is about to be hanged by a group of Union soldiers. This man to be hanged is identified as a gentleman named Peyton Farquhar who attempted to destroy the Owl Creek Bridge, the same one they are standing on. Suddenly, the…

Love Songs in Age and Wild Oats by Philip Larkin

Throughout Love Songs in Age and Wild Oats, Philip Larkin uses various literary techniques, such as imagery, structure and symbolism to convey certain aspects of love and the passing of time. These aspects are illuminated by Dannie Abse in Down the M4. Love Songs in Age pictures a woman, perhaps Larkin’s mother, who has kept the musical scores of songs she used to play, perhaps on the piano, and rediscovers them after many years, when she is a widow. In the poem, Larkin uses lexical choice to explore how the idea of love is often distorted and in reality, love fails to live up to its promises of ‘freshness’ and ‘brilliance’. In the third stanza, the concept of ‘much-mentioned’ almost…

Close Reading

The answers to these questions emerge more from the doing than the talking. Briefly, close reading is a basic tool for understanding, taking pleasure in, and communicating one’s interpretation of a literary work. The skills employed in close reading lend themselves to all kinds of cultural interpretation and investigation. Close reading takes language as its subject because language can operate in different ways to convey meaning. Reading sensitively allows one to remain open to the many ways language works on the mind and heart. When an assignment calls for close reading, it’s best to start by choosing a brief but promising passage and checking your assumptions about its content at the door. Close reading often reveals the fissures between what…

Cult of Domesticity

Women faced many restrictions during the 1800’s based solely on their gender. The Cult of Domesticity served as a basic guide that explained the appropriate ways women of this time period were expected to act. It essentially laid out four proper characteristics women had to portray: piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness. Many authors captured the difficulties in a woman’s life with having to deal with such strict expectations in their writing. These included Emily Dickinson with her poems “I felt a funeral in my brain”, “This is my letter to the World”, and “These are the days when the Birds come back”, Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”. These pieces of literature…

Frustration on a Deserted Island

William Golding wrote a book Lord of the Flies that has his thoughts about human nature and his central idea of the theme civilization versus savagery. The book starts with kids that are stranded after a plane crashes and fight for survival. Two characters show their differences in the book known as Ralph and Jack. Golding uses these characters as a foil that will lead to the overall theme, shows how violent people get when there are no rules that control them and he also shows symbols in the book that defines each character. In the book Ralph and Jack have their differences and similarities. Ralph shows how he wants to rule in a form of civilization that will unify…

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Happiness is a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. In “A doll’s house” by Henrick Ibsen, the feelings concerning the home are not mutual. Torvald thinks that they have the ideal home and a perfect, happy life; Nora realizes that their life is far from perfect. Their home is like a playground, it is only all fun and games—there is no real love or care. A home that is like a playground, and not filled with love and care, is not a happy home. From the very beginning, Torvald treated Nora like a baby. Is that my little lark twittering out there? ” (5). “Is it my little squirrel bustling about? ” (6). Before…

Jimmy Carter and Political Maxim

Hardball by Chris Matthews is an interpretation of what many know as “hard-politics”. The book describes the skill of playing the game in Washington and how to be successful at it. The book is a guide that teaches a series of maxims that would be in favor of politicians to learn in order to be successful. The different tactics provided in the book hold a lot of knowledge that would make the life of anyone following these strategies much easier when trying to get ahead in life. Matthews describes a countless number of examples of successful politicians that rose to the top. Those politicians are the ones who learned how to play hardball in Washington. Matthews provides many of his…

The Speckled Band

Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Speckled Band,” within the book Sherlock Holmes: The Major Stories with Contemporary Critical Essays, is an attention – grabbing locked – room mystery that has elements of chivalry and of great danger, as well as complication and the classic reasonable deductions that all come into play during this enthralling narrative. These are combined with an abundance of unusual circumstances, characters, and clues that eventually lead to the conclusion of the story. The central character, aside from Holmes and Watson of course, is a young woman named Helen Stoner. After the death of her mother she and her twin sister live with their cruel stepfather, Dr. Roylott, who controls and abuses them both physically and…

The Wizard of Oz as a Fairy Tale

For hundreds of years, parents have been enthralling children with stories of magic and wishes coming true. Fairy tales are passed from one generation to the next through oral tradition, and, in modern times, books. As various societies develop, fairy tales are changed to fit the needs and morals those societies want to impress upon their children. Thus, the style and content of a fairy tale is directly affected by the social attitudes of a particular society at a particular time. Jack Zipes adopts and assumes the magical folktale is the oral version and the fairytale the literary version of a tale when he describes the rise of “the fairytale in the Western world as the mass-mediated cultural form of…

Telemachus’ Change in the Odyssey

Emergence of Telemachus’ Heroic Traits in the Telemecheia Joseph Campbell’s ten archetypal heroic traits appear in many literary protagonists. Physical strength, eloquence, leadership, and ties to supernatural forces are characteristics that are pervasive among heroes. King Gilgamesh, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, possesses the Campbellian traits of unmatched physical strength, confident leadership, and ties to gods. Whereas in the case of Telemachus in Homer’s Telemecheia, the young prince has not matured to Gilgamesh’s prominence, but several of Campbell’s attributes become apparent in the story. As Telemachus undergoes his journey, he begins to develop the heroic characteristics of having (1) connections with the gods, (2) eloquence, and (3) leadership. (1) Athena spurs Telemachus to develop his heroic traits by inspiring and…

The Role of Characters in Dracula and Carmilla

This paper would not have been possible without the help of many people. Firstly, I would like to thank my classmates for all of their inputs and perspectives, in class discussions, thread discussions and their papers, which helped me gain a complete understanding of the two stories. I would also like to thank my peer edit partners Joey and Michele who provided me with constructive criticism that guided me in writing my final draft. Thank you to Professor Kaplan who guided our class discussions and played the “devil’s advocate” to get me thinking about the opposing side of the argument more thoroughly. Finally, thank you to Bram Stoker and Joseph Sheridan LeFanu for writing Dracula and Carmilla. In a story,…

A Rose for Emily

In the literature piece of “A Rose for Emily” it’s clear that change is essential in a person’s life. Emily is an example of this based on how she stays in the past throughout the story. She remains the same since her pre-civil war self and Faulkner would agree that the past should stay in the past. The narrator is spoken in third person and he is seen as ghostly since his identity is unknown, from context clues you can assume it’s someone in the town “But the voice of the town is the most ghostlike: pervasive, shape-shifting, haunting. No wonder Miss Emily stayed indoors (Klein). Time is very important all throughout the short story it’s ”divided into five sections,…

Out of This Furnace

Out of This Furnace is a historical fiction that was written by Thomas Bell in 1941 and describes the life of immigrant workers in America. Bell grew up in Braddock in Pennsylvania, a mill town that was typical of many of the industrialized areas in America at that time. His novel reflects the hardships his family faced as they struggled to survive in the “new country” and he utilizes the medium of a fictional story to challenge the capitalist ideals of the government of that period through the trials and tribulations of his immigrant steelworkers. The book focuses on the lives of four individuals and describes how the four individual characters; Kracha, Mike, Mary and Dobie’s lives change as a…

Othello and the Moor of Venice

The play, the Tragedy of Othello and the Moor of Venice, written by William Shakespeare has many underlying and reoccurring themes throughout. One major theme is that of betrayal and loyalty. During the entire play every character is either loyal to, or betrays another character. The theme of betrayal and loyalty is seen through every character and every act in the play especially in Iago, Desdemona, and Othello. Every character that is portrayed as being loyal is disloyal, and every character that is portrayed as being disloyal is loyal. No one ever knows who and who not to trust, and this adds a lot of drama and build up to the story line. This play shows you that you can…

Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess and Shakespeare’s Othello

When we compare “Othello” written by William Shakespeare and “My Last Duchess” penned by Robert Browning, we found a lot of similarities and differences between these two works in realms of characters, events and incidences, and the causes of murder. Jealousy and possession are, however, the ruling passions in these two tragic works of art. There is remorse in “Othello” but there is none in “My Last Duchess”. Let us discuss these two masterpieces of domestic tragedy in detail in order to dig out the elements that made them happen. Let us start the discussion with the characters, first the male and then the female characters. Othello is a brave soldier. Unlike the Duke of Ferrara in “My Last Duchess”…

The Opening Scenes of Othello, King Lear and Macbeth

The influences of feminine powers from the Shakespearean plays, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth, portrayed during the opening scenes have affected the courses of male instincts and literary arguments throughout the play. In this study, the emphasis is given to the powers of feminine influences portrayed in the opening scenes and the effects of these to male characters and arguments throughout the play. The three plays of Shakespeare have shown significant interests on how females provided influential to seemingly manipulative roles throughout the play. In the opening scene of the play Macbeth, the feminine force of Lady Macbeth only becomes evident in the latter scenes (Act I: Scene V), but her character and roles in the play have shown immense…

Oscar Wilde’s

The following essay will examine British Literature in two fold: the first being that of Oscar Wilde’s contribution to British Literature and the second being feminism in British Literature in the 1800’s and on. It is hoped that focusing on two separate but entangled subjects will make the paper more accessible and therefore broader in scope and understanding of the reader to British Literature. Peacocks and Sunflowers:Oscar Wilde’s “Immoral Aestheticism” as an Escape from Reality into the Realm of Beauty Gilbert, the author’s alter ego in Oscar Wilde’s essay “The Critic as Artist” (originally published in 1888) declared that “[a]ll art is immoral” (274), and that phrase turned into a manifesto for the “immoral aestheticism” doctrine of the famous dandy…