Comparative Literature 186RR: Topics for the First Essay

Due in class, Thursday, June 30: Write a 1000-1200 word essay that involves a close critical examination of at least one of the works we have studied so far. You may choose your own topic or use one of the following topics as a starting point. Use MLA citation style for quotations of both primary and secondary sources. The essay should prove an arguable thesis, that is, a position that a reasonable person could oppose. Feel free to use appropriate secondary sources when necessary, but only if necessary.

Suggested Topics on Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro or Beehtoven’s Fidelio:

Suggested Topics onBlake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience:

Suggested Topics onBurke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France:

Suggested Topics on David or Goya:

Suggested Topics on European Slavery and Women’s Rights:

  1. Equiano and Wollstonecraft: Describe how Equiano’s Narrative demonstrates the political point he is trying to make about the essential humanity of Africans. How does it suggest parallels with other autobiographical texts—especially conversion narratives—in order to persuade its audience that he is a human being capable of development and salvation? Does this implicit argument correspond to Wollstonecraft’s explicit assertion
  2. Jacobus: Examine the theoretical basis for Mary Jacobus’s argument regarding the relationship between Wordsworth and the slave trade.