English 314
Fall 2004

***Please read the plagiarism policy carefully before writing your final essay.  I recommend against consulting the internet at any point during the brainstorming or writing process (except as I've suggested in #1 below).***

Although as before you are allowed some room to make the question your own, please keep to the questions I've provided. It is your responsibility to create a sustained, coherent interpretive argument (i.e., an essay that sets out to present a fresh interpretation based on an initial thesis with which it is possible to disagree); to anchor your interpretation in close reading of the text (i.e., based on careful attention to and interpretation of the details); and make clear what's important about  your reading (i.e., answer the question "so what?").

I encourage you to make use of the Writing Center (see syllabus for more details), and to give yourself time to REVISE.  Also, if you haven't yet, consult my guide to paper grading on the Blackboard website (under Course Documents).

A final reminder:  at least one of your papers this semester needs to treat (one or two) poem (s). Essays on topics #2, #3, #4, and #6 would fill that requirement.

1. Explore the metaphor of thread in Mrs. Dalloway.  Examine the places in which the word occurs and see how the metaphor develops.  Think not only about what the word means in context, but also 1) why it's significant that she use this particular metaphor, and 2) how the metaphor works to create meaning in the text.  You may find yourself engaging with other metaphors that work with or against that of thread.
(An easy way to find instances of the word 'thread' is by going to the text at http://www.linux.ime.usp.br/~celso02/dalloway.html  .  Then, in your browser, going to the 'edit' menu; click on 'find in page,' and type the word.)

2. Septimus Warren Smith, in Mrs. Dalloway, at one point says "beauty, that was the truth now" (69). Does Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" help us to understand Septimus?  If so, how? If not, why not?

3. Auden had ambivalent feelings about "September 1, 1939," saying that it was "infected with incurable dishonesty."  Take on this statement and, through a close reading of the poem, show how Auden's comment is or is not apt.

4. Auden writes that 'The unacknowledged legislators of the world' describes the secret police, not the poets" (2677).  How does Auden's poetry respond to Shelley's?

5. How does Harry in Cloud Nine provide a commentary on the characters in Mrs. Dalloway?  Look in particular at Harry's speech near the top of p. 2852.

6. Nuala ní Dhomhnaill's poem "As for the Quince" is actually titled "The Tree" in Irish (as Gaeilge:  "An Crann").  The poet Paul Muldoon changes a number of things, including the title and the nature of the tree:  in the original Irish version of the poem, there are no quinces.  How do you think that changes the meaning of the poem?  And how might those changes speak to the larger issue of translation?  (You might consult ní Dhomhnaill's essay in treating this last point, but you don't have to.)