Second Paper Assignment.
Due Friday, April 1, at my office, Tompkins 270 . Please turn in the
paper in 2 forms: printed out on paper AND as
a emailed file to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put your last name
in the file name.
assignment worth 20% of your final grade.
double-spaced typed/printed text.
If you have any other format questions, ask me.
1) Is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
a story with a moral? If so, what is it? If not, how and why does it
avoid having a moral? Select the best textual evidence for whatever
claim you decide to make. Your job is to argue, not simply summarize.
as what is called a "nested narrative." That is, there is a story,
within a story, within a story. Identify what you consider to be the
most important layers of this series of stories, who is telling or
writing them, and then construct an argument about why Mary Shelley may
have decided to use this particular narrative structure for her
tale. Is there some relationship between the form the story takes
and what it is about?
3) Byron's Manfred
with an epigraph from Shakespeare's Hamlet
Is Byron's brooding Count best understood as a rewriting of
Shakespeare's dour Danish prince? Identify the most important
similarities and differences between the two troubled heroes in order
to construct an argument either for or against reading Byron's play as
a rewriting of Shakespeare's tragedy.
This one will require a good grasp of two plays.
4) Generations of readers have noted and often been puzzled by the fact
that Manfred lives in Switzerland but calls upon a series of gods from
pagan Greek tradition (Nemesis) and from an Eastern religion:
Zoroastrianism. Manrfred's scenes with Arimanes, god of evil, and
his fraught relationship with Astarte, his Aphrodite-like forbidden
love, all create dramatic characters out of principle gods of one
Eastern religion. The prophet figure for that same religion is
called Zarathustra. How
helpful to understanding Byron's whole play is it to see Manfred as
type of Zarathustra? Are the Zoroastrian touches in the play just so
much exotic window-dressing, or are they central to understanding what
this play is about?
This one will require you to choose useful secondary sources to learn
about the life of Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism.
5) Pick your own topic about any work on the syllabus after Blake and
through Mary Shelley. You must
put this in writing and hand it to me on paper, in class, by Monday,
, so I can see that it has potential to produce a
Feel free to discuss your developing ideas with