English 262, Beyond Britain

Second Paper Topics.

Dr. Morillo

·        Paper due as a draft at the start of class, Wednesday April 12


·        Revised paper due at the start of the final exam, Friday, May 5

·        You are to pick only one of these questions and write a well-organized essay about it. 

·        Your paper will be at least 5 full pages (excluding any works cited ) and no more than 8 full pages, typed/computer-printed double-spaced, with standard margins (top & bottom=1” sides=1.25”).


 1. Despite being presented as a series of fragments, does Byron’s poem The Giaour manage to tell one complete story? To answer this, you may wish to consider the following issues related to its structure: how effective is the first section of The Giaour (lines 1-168) as an introduction to the whole poem? This is the part up until the fragmented tale of the Giaour, Hassan, and Leila begins. Are the ideas raised in that first section relevant to all of the rest of the poem, or to only some of the rest of the poem?  How might we relate the introductory section to the last section of the poem (ll. 787-1334), the part set in the monastery? 


2. What is the significance of those strange, echoing Marabar caves in the middle of the story in Forster’s A Passage to India?  Develop an interpretation of the novel that considers the “Boum” of these caves (heard by Mrs. Moore, Dr. Aziz, and Adela) in relation to the rest of the story that unfolds both in and beyond the caves.  Why is this odd sound at the center of the story?


 3. Write a critical review of David Lean’s film adaptation of Forster’s A Passage to India, or John Huston’s film adaptation of Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King.   Consider how well the film captures the novel or story; whether there are things that it revises and whether those revisions seem justified; what it does best compared to the novel; what it does worst.  Remember, don’t just describe or summarize the book and movie, make an argument about the relation of the two.  Is it as good as the book? Is it better than the book?


4. Anna Barbauld’s poem Eighteen Hundred and Eleven and William Yeats’ poem Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen have strikingly similar titles. Are they more substantively related? Are they making similar arguments about the state of the British Empire and its colonies? Do the main concerns of both poems overlap, or not? If you wish to research whether Yeats read and knew about Barbauld’s poem, that is encouraged, because it may give a strong warrant for why we should compare these poems in the first place.


5. Formulate your own question about some issue about Britain as imperial and colonial power that you have seen within the literary works we have read. You may pick anything we’ve read except for the work you chose for your first paper. Turn that question in to me in class, printed out, by or before Wednesday, April 5. That way I can help you focus and shape your question into one that can be answered in a paper of this length.