English 314
Conrad
Spring 2004

Paper #2
Due May 13 by 5 pm.

You are welcome to choose one of the topics suggested below.  Again, remember: these are just springboards for developing a paper; it is your responsibility to create a sustained, coherent argument and make clear the implications of your reading.  You are also welcome and encouraged to come up with your own topic.  If you choose the latter option, you need to run your idea by me before beginning by the last day of class.   Don't forget:  if you haven't written on a poem or poems yet, you must do so in this paper.

1.  Compare Arnold's "Dover Beach" with Anthony Hecht's poem "The Dover Bitch" (you may use the link on the website).  Questions to consider:  What is the effect of the shift of focus from the ideas of the poetic persona in the first version to the feelings of the unnnamed "love" in the second version?  Does the woman in the second version have more of a voice?  Does the satire seem more or less hopeful about life or love than the Arnoldian poem?

2.  Several of the poems we have examined so far have had ambiguous endings.  Examine one or two poems closely and explore how the ending of the poem(s) affects your interpretation of the rest of the poem.  Look closely at content (including individual word choice) but also form (meter, rhyme, stanza breaks, etc.) as you compose your argument. You might compare two poems.  If you choose to examine only one, you must choose a poem from after Jane Eyre on the syllabus.  One suggestion for a pairing:  "Goblin Market" and "The Aeolian Harp."

3.  What is the significance of the quotation from Dante that begins "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"?  Analyze the poem with this quotation in mind.

4.  Compare the Vorticist manifesto to a selection of Wilde's aphorisms or his Preface to Dorian Gray.  The Vorticists may appear to reject Wilde; do they share anything with him?  Why might that be important?  How might it help us to understand--or to criticize--the Vorticist project?

5.  Is Joyce's representation of Gertie in the "Nausicaa" chapter of Ulysses misogynistic?

6. Explore one or two related metaphors in Mrs. Dalloway (e.g. water, including images of plunging; scissors/knives, possibly including thread; heat; trees and/or flowers; or mirrors).  How do they add to the form and the ideas presented in the novel?

7. 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?

8. Does Mrs. Dalloway represent a triumph or failure of language?

9.  Explore the relationship between writing and violence in one or two of Auden's, Heaney's or Walcott's poems.  (If you like the topic, feel free to look at Heaney's poem "Digging" at http://alt.venus.co.uk/weed/writings/poems/shdigg.htm as one of your poems.)

10.  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?

11. Find a text that we haven't discussed in class and craft an interpretive argument.  If you choose this topic, you must submit your topic to me in writing by the last day of class.