Write a 750 word (approx. 2 pages) typed essay on one of the following topics. This essay must be logically organized, grammatically correct, clearly and precisely worded and sufficiently supported with quotations and/or details from the work. It should also provide a comprehensive analysis of the issue in question, and any literary analysis should eventually lead to an explanation of the theme of the work. Make a claim about the story and support it with specific details. Your essay does not have to answer all of the questions listed with the topic nor does it have to be structured by them. The questions are there to prompt your thought processes about the stories.
1. “A & P” – Point of View – How does the first person, unreliable narrator function in this story? What is the result of the story being told from this point of view? How does it help or hinder the presentation of character and/or theme?
2. “Araby” – Setting and Symbolism – What does Araby symbolize to the boy, and how is the conflict of the story resolved when he goes there?
3. “A & P” and “Araby” – Both these stories are initiation stories, meaning that the boys experience growth, or a rite of passage, from one stage of life (e.g. childhood) to another (young adulthood). What do you think the each boy has learned? How is their growth similar or different?
4. “A Rose for Emily” – Setting – How does the narrator describe Emily’s house and neighborhood? How is this description important in our attempt to understand Emily’s character?
5. “A Rose for Emily” – Point of View – Who narrates this story? Why is this figure’s perspective important to the understanding we gain of Emily Grierson?
6. “A Good Man is Hard to Find”– Symbolism – Discuss the role of religion in the story either symbolically or thematically.
7. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” – Character – Compare and contrast the Misfit and the grandmother in the story. What are they like and how do you know? How are they similar and how are they different? Why is this important to the theme in the story?
8. Select three of O’Brien’s qualifications for a true war story. Formulate a working definition for what O’Brien considers “true” in storytelling. How are truth and factual accuracy related?
9. Discuss the presentation of male-female relationships in any or some combination of the works.