World Literature

Choose 1 of the following Topics to write essay on:
1.It’s time for a little Method Acting! Pretend that you are either an actor or a director and are preparing for a film production of one of the following: Tartuffe, The Metamorphosis, Hedda Gabler, “Barn Burning,” “Walker Brothers Cowboy,” or “Death Constant Beyond Love.” Choose a role that you find interesting and write a short biography for that character. Of course, you will want to draw from the original work, but you have the freedom here to use your creativity. Describe that person’s personality. Discuss the character’s past history. What does your character do in the play? What will happen to the character after the play ends? The biography should be at least 500 words long.
2.Compare The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass to the current film Twelve Years a Slave. (You could also read the book, Twelve Years a Slave (1853) is a memoir and slave narrative by Solomon Northup, as told to and edited by David Wilson. Or you could watch another film version, “Solomon Northup’s Odyssey,” available on Films on Demand through Galileo.) What common themes do you see in the two works? How effective is film as a medium, in contrast to the written word? Some other topics you can discuss: the depiction of the protagonists, the importance of the slave community, the roles of the white owner and overseers, literacy, violence, sexual exploitation.
3.In the wake of the recent events (the shootings at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the protests in Charlottesville), there has been much debate over the Confederate flag and other vestiges of the Confederacy (including statues of Confederates and buildings and streets named after military leaders and politicians who held pro-slavery, white supremacist views). There has also been much discussion of the causes and the long-range effects of the Civil War (e.g., the romanticization of the “Old South,” the reality of “Jim Crow” segregation laws that remained in place in much of the South until the 1960s). With all of this in mind, imagine “What if Frederick Douglass were alive today? What would be his response to the recent events in South Carolina and elsewhere?” (Yes, that would make him close to 200 years old, but then this is a “what if” topic.)In the voice of Douglass, write an essay (this could be in the form of a newspaper editorial) commenting on these controversies over history and how it should be interpreted.
4.Write an update of Candide in which our title character and any supporting characters that you choose visit the 21st century. Think of this as a short chapter, an episode. Some questions to consider: What issues in our society would Voltaire satirize? Where (geographically speaking) would you place them? Any real life people that you would put in the narrative?

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