Essay practice! (Kinda) Like what we did in class!
1. “Select a novel or play in which a tragic figure functions as an instrument of the suffering of others. Then write an essay in which you explain how the suffering brought upon others by that figure contributes to the tragic vision of the work as a whole.”
Tragic Figure: Frankenstein’s monster
Suffering he causes: Death of Victor’s brother, death of Victor’s wife, terror among townspeople
How it contributes to whole: Each event cumulates. The monster didn’t know his own strength with the first murders, and they become more intentional. His first kill wasn’t meant to kill and the repetition of killing makes the story hit home more and more. His final murder was intentional and a lover, hitting what could be the strongest heartstring that Victor possesses.
2. “In many works of literature, past events can affect, positively or negatively, the present activities, attitudes, or values of a character. Choose a novel or play in which a character must contend with some aspect of the past, either personal or societal. Then write an essay in which you show how the character’s relationship to the past contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole.”
Book: Their Eyes were Watching God
Character’s relationship with past: Janie is always being shoved into one category or another. She was a child, then a women, then black. Never unlabeled throughout her life.
Contend with it: she proves to society that those labels don’t define her.
How it contributes to whole: Janie’s entire life was run for her as a child, and she hated that. After her grandmother planned out her life then passed away, Janie ran away because she didn’t like that she had no choice. As a woman, she was labelled as “delicate” but she proved that she was not. She was black and lived in Eatonville with her “manly” husband that treated her like a soft rose. She hated that being black and being a women defined how she had to live her life so she left. She had to come to terms with the fact that she was born into this life and this realization drove her choices throughout the novel that told her story.