response to prompts

Using MLA format, double spacing, and Times New Roman size 12 font, pick ONE of the following Topics and write a 5-7 page essay based on that topic’s prompts, which entails answering ALL prompt questions for the topic, and having, in your opening paragraph, a cohesive thesis statement that ties all of the questions together (or your answer(s) to them) and simultaneously presents a main point or argument. Regardless of which topic you choose, you MUST answer the questions/support your thesis with proof from the texts to which you are referring. This can be done either by paraphrasing or quoting. Use quotes only when necessary. Also, don’t forget to give context before moving on to your support (“In the scene/passage/excerpt where such-and-such is happening,…”), but don’t over-summarize. You must provide a proper Works Cited page, which cites the stories you’ve chosen to discuss, and use MLA style in-text citation when quoting the stories. Topic #1: Religion/spirituality/human connectedness For this topic, you will be writing about the stories “Cathedral”, “Revelation,” and “The Machine Stops.” In the above-mentioned stories, there are climactic moments where a character or characters seem to experience things on a spiritual level, albeit sometimes briefly or vainly. The catalyst for the spiritual awakening is in the form of human contact, be it violent or gentle. Using evidence from the texts, first discuss how the lack of human contact affects the main character in each story. Then compare the catalysts of human contact in these three stories. Next, discuss/compare the moments of spiritual awakening in these three stories that are caused by human contact. Which moments are successful, and which are not? Or is it left unclear as to whether any of the characters even reach some type of spiritual enlightenment, or decide to change their attitude/personality as a result of their spiritual experience or profound human contact? Within each story, how real or present is God (or, in a broader sense, a deity)? Or can it be argued that there is no real presence of God in some or all of these stories, and that the climactic moments are merely psychological? Topic #2: Point of View/Narration For this topic, you will choose to write about at least THREE of the following stories: “Cathedral”, “Revelation”, “Us and Them,” and “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Discuss how the narrative’s/narrator’s point of view affects how the story is told for the three stories you’ve chosen. Is the story conveyed to the reader differently because it’s filtered through one character’s point of view? How does point of view change the language of the narrative? How does it change the attitude or tone of the story? How does point of view impact the ending or resolution of each story? How/why might the narrators be unreliable, and how does this affect the story? Be sure to use evidence from the texts to support your claims. Topic #3: Prejudice/discrimination (including, but definitely not limited to, racism)/judgment/oppression For this topic, you will choose to write about at least THREE of the following stories: “Cathedral”, “Revelation”, “The Lottery”, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, “The Machine Stops”. Many of the stories we’ve read so far portray prejudice or judgment in some form or another, often resulting in some sort of oppression. Using the three stories you’ve chosen, compare/contrast the various forms of prejudice or judgment in the stories, and how it can be oppressive. Depending on the story, is it based on race? Class? Disability? Or some combination of traits or behaviors? From the stories you’ve chosen, which one(s) depict(s) oppression not based on any discrimination? The solution for–or combat against–such prejudice and judgment seems to be the act of putting oneself in another’s shoes, so to speak. Discuss in which stories this act is successful, and in which it is not. In which story or stories is this act not even considered or attempted by any of the characters? In these stories/for the characters in the stories, how embedded in tradition or heritage is the act of prejudice and/or judgment? Which seems harder for the characters to break free from or fight against: the prejudice itself or the very tradition through which it’s passed to future generations? Or is each equally difficult in its own way? Topic #4: Genre and Theme For this topic, you will choose to write about no less than THREE of the following stories: “The Lottery,” “The Million-year Picnic,” “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” and “The Machine Stops.” Using the class materials and the stories you’ve chosen, discuss why an author may choose to write science fiction, and what the benefits are of using science fiction to convey messages and/or themes to the reader. Attempt to answer the following questions in your discussion: Why do you think authors, in using sci fi, bend reality and create exaggerated fictional settings and/or characters? Consider sci fi as a kind of hypothesis about human behavior, and how it could be seen as a prediction about how people would behave in a new, never-before-seen setting or situation, and a prediction about how human society could evolve over time. Which parts/aspects of these stories seem accurate predictions, and which seem inaccurate? What makes them accurate or inaccurate? Do you already see some of the predictions in any of the stories you’ve read unfolding in your own world? If you want, you can curve this more toward a discussion of Dystopia, rather than sci-fi in a broader sense, and focaqwus on “Omelas,” “Machine,” and “Lottery.”

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