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Student work is available for this course.

Essay Topics


Essays are designed to improve writing and research skills and allow students to develop critical interests. The essays, then, build toward a substantial research paper at the end of the term. Students will submit specific topics to me before the paper is due. The guidelines below give the basic structure and expectations for each assignment

Essay 1: Close Reading

(五頁 – 應於第十堂課繳交;於第九堂課提交主題)

(5 pages - due Lecture 10; submit topic by Lecture 9)

從你目前為止讀到的作家著作選一段小說,是修辭豐富、意義深遠,最令你感動的。請分析其文體特性 ── 措詞、句型、語態和語氣的使用,還有其他聽覺效果、意象和比喻語言風格,或是其他散文文體的特殊效果,接下來,詳盡闡述你對這段小說的看法,加以分析,用來支持或豐富你認為作者創作這段小說有什麼目的。你雖然把焦點放在文本的某一剎那,但可以發揮你所知道的作者資料,還有作者在其他地方選擇描述的特定時刻。你的論文要提出一個具體論題,然後用這篇小說段落的細節來支持你的論點。

Choose a passage from one of the authors you have read so far, one that strikes you as particularly rich in terms of language and meaning. Analyze its stylistic peculiarities - diction, sentence patterns, use of voice, tone, and other auditory effects, imagery and figurative language, or any other special effects of prose style. Then develop a reading of the passage in which you use your analysis to support or complicate what you see as the author's aims in writing it. Although you are focusing on a single moment in the text, you may draw on what you know about the author and his or her choices elsewhere. Give your essay a specific thesis and use details from the passage to support your point.

Essay 2: Single Author Research

(五頁 – 應於第十七堂課繳交;於第十五堂課提交主題)

(5 pages - due Lecture 17; submit topic by Lecture 15)


In preparation for your research paper at the end of the semester, choose an author and topic you would like to investigate through outside research in different sources, print and online (at least two of each). Your research may be biographical, historical, critical, cultural, and multimedia, or a combination of the above. A central aim of the essay is to identify useful sources and explore different ways of approaching a topic.

Essay 3: Critical Essay

(十頁 – 應於第二十八堂課繳交;於第二十四堂課提交主題)

(10 pages - due Lecture 28; submit topic by Lecture 24)


This essay will allow you to develop a full-scale treatment of a single author, using multiple works, or to compare two or more authors from the term. Although your focus will be on literary issues - how authors use literary techniques to approach a (literary, social, thematic) problem - you may draw on research in any area you choose. Conference times will be available with me on Lecture 22 and Lecture 26 for discussion of your research, and you will receive class feedback as well during the reports in the week of Lecture 24.

Examples of Student Work

  • William Wells Brown與傑佛遜和海明絲的醜聞。(承蒙Kristin Hrabak提供。經同意轉載。)
    William Wells Brown and the Jefferson and Hemings Scandal. (Courtesy of Kristin Hrabak. Used with permission.)

  • 《德瑞得》《笨瓜威爾森》中的法律和奴隸身分(承蒙Kristin Hrabak提供。經同意轉載。)
    Law and Slave Identity in Dred and Pudd'nhead Wilson.  (Courtesy of Kristin Hrabak. Used with permission.)

  • 《湯姆叔叔的小屋》中不見報復。(承蒙Mahni Ghorashi提供。經同意轉載。)
    The Absence of Revenge in Uncle Tom's Cabin. (Courtesy of Mahni Ghorashi. Used with permission.)

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