Select one of the following topics as the basis of a 1,250-1,500 word essay whic
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Select one of the following topics as the basis of a 1,250-1,500 word essay which you will submit by 11:59 p.m. on December 2. In addition to evidence drawn from the primary text(s), you must also make reference to one or two secondary sources on the literature under consideration. You must document your borrowings from all texts using MLA style. A good essay will include a strong thesis, solid paragraphs, sound transitions, and grammatically clean sentences. The inferences you draw from the evidence should be logically sound.
Research the concept of literary naturalism and evaluate how Kennedy adopts the assumptions of naturalists to re-imagine Odysseus in the modern context of Francis Phelan.
Where Odysseus makes a brief visit to the Underworld, Francis Phelan cannot seem to escape it. How do you account for the ghostly presences in a novel that seems harshly realistic in other respects?
The ending of Ironweed presents two potential resolutions to the conflict; either Francis flees Albany on the train, or he returns to Annie’s attic to hide away from the police. What is the advantage to offering two potential perspectives on the conclusion of the novel, and how appropriate is the ambiguous conclusion to the themes of the book?
Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad re-imagines the events of The Odyssey from the perspective of Penelope whose voice is severely muted in the original poem. How does Atwood’s version invite readers to revise their views of key characters or episodes from the original?
In The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood mixes genres to great effect. Discuss her use of lyric and comic poetry as well as the device of the Greek chorus. How do these interventions in the epic narrative alter the nature of the storytelling? How suitable is the hybrid genre to the narrative goal?
In The Odyssey, human characters are often the playthings of the gods and therefore not responsible for their fates. In Ironweed, Francis seems caught between two visions of the world: the Catholic world-view taught to him by his mother in which people are held morally responsible for their actions, and the fatalistic world view in which people’s actions are largely determined by circumstance and environment. Show how Francis deals with this clash of world-views in his quest for redemption.