Approaches to the Literary Essay

Read: “Topics and Approaches to the Literary Essay” in the Resources folder. Choose one of the topics provided for you, or email the professor for approval of an alternate topic.

Prompt: 1. Post a working approach for the topic you chose. 2. Write a brief few sentences explaining why you chose this topic. 3. Respond to two other students.

Directly and completely post a response to the prompts in a minimum of 150 words or write as much as necessary to answer the prompt.

Use standard American English grammar and spelling,  with adequate sentence structure, correctly punctuating, capitalizing, and spelling.

 

Topics/ approaches (Focus on only one of the following, though some may overlap):

  1. Analyze one of the minor characters, such as Petrus.
    ExampleAnalyze not only the chosen characters’ personality but also what role they played in advancing the overall theme of the novel.
  2. The protagonist’s conflict, the hurdles to be overcome, and how he resolves it.
    Examples: It could be hope for change, both in South Africa and in David Lurie. OR: the disgrace David Lurie has suffered over the affair with a student and how that matches the disgrace South Africa has suffered through apartheid.
  3. The function of setting to reinforce theme and characterization.
    ExamplePost-apartheid South Africa is a setting arguably more important than anything else in the novel. Your outside sources would be a bit of history concerning apartheid. The use of literary devices to communicate theme: imagery, metaphor, symbolism, foreshadowing, irony.
  4. Symbolism in the novel–
    Examples: Determine if David Lurie represents the old, white authorities of South Africa, while Lucy represents the new white people of South Africa. OR: Analyze what dogs symbolize in this story. Another example: What is symbolized by the opera David Lurie is writing on Byron?
  5. Careful examination of one or more central scenes and its/their crucial role in plot development, resolution of conflict, and exposition of the theme.
    Example: Analyze one or more scenes in which hope that change for the better is possible through a character’s remorse and subsequent action, for example, the scene in which David Lurie apologizes to the parents OR the scene in which Lucy gets raped.
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