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Pilgrim’s Progress and Gulliver’s Travels

The excerpts from Pilgrim’s Progress and Gulliver’s Travels are examples of allegorical prose works that are ancestors of the novel. In an essay of 1,000-1,400 words, use the tools of allegorical interpretation you learned earlier in the course, pick one incident in both books, and analyze each allegory in detail. Then, consider the point of each allegory: Bunyan and Swift write with different purposes, and the type of journey described in each book indicates that. What is Bunyan’s overall purpose, and what is Swift’s, and how can you tell? Finally, novels are defined as long fictional narratives in prose that deal with the concerns of ordinary middle-class people, using realistic characters and situations. Where do you see this kind of realism in each book?

Use specific quotations and paraphrases from each work as evidence for the points you make.


For your final exam, I would like you to write about

three to five common themes

found in the works we have read this semester.

Grade: 20% of total course grade.

Evaluative Criteria:

clarity of language

unity of paragraphs

cogency of terms

analytical insight

relevance of textual references

Words of Advice:

You do not need to discuss every work we have read, but try to draw your references from as

many as possible. Part of your effort should be in the precise naming and definition of your

themes: if, for example, you discuss “revenge,” refine the meaning of that term from several

angles, e.g.: cultural, historical, literary, psychological, military, etc. Focus explicitly on the way

you define the thematic concepts, and then seek after points of comparison and contrast: so, in

terms of revenge, how is Beowulf’s violence against Grendel similar or different to Dante’s

“violence” toward the damned he encounters further down in the Inferno? It is entirely up to you,

however, as to which themes you choose, and how you define them.

In addition to discussing the works themselves, you might conclude with (or include within the

body of the essay) a consideration of the ways these texts bear relevance to the world and time

we live in now, and your own life.

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