Novel Analysis Essay

Write an 8 page paper on one of the broad topics below. Use the topic as a starting point for developing a clear and focused argument (thesis) about two provided novels. (you can choose the 2 out of the 4 in the provided list below)* Support your thesis with a mix of original literary analysis, and research. A minimum of 6 well-chosen (read: scholarly and pertinent) secondary sources are required. Please cite all sources properly (both in the body of the essay and in a Works Cited) using the MLA method of documentation. Define key terms clearly. Consider the similarities and differences between your texts.

***Please proofread your work carefully as the work has to be free of ANY grammatical mistakes and sentence/punctuation errors because the work is to be submitted as a major English course assignment. Be sure to meet the modest length requirements.

Make sure you use a lot of quotes and paraphrases from the novels of your choice to back up the analysis. So every paragraph should have at least two citations in it as back up: either from the novels or from the research sources.

Do include the topic you have selected in the chat so I know the correspondence with your writing.

  1. In The Rise of the Novel, Ian Watt argues that formal realism is the defining characteristic of the novel as a form. Discuss this idea with reference to two course texts. Do you agree with Watt’s thesis and with his definition of realism? Advance a clear argument about how realism operates in two texts and what the implications are.
  2. Three of our fall term novels are named after their protagonists. Compare and contrast two of the eponymous characters in order to make an argument about the way that the early novels focus on and depict the experiences of individuals.
  3. Make an argument about the role that narration plays in two novels. Clearly describe and closely analyze the manner of narration, and consider why the novelists chose to narrate the stories as they did. Consider also: how does the manner of narration affect the reader’s experience of the book?
  4. Compare the representation of gender (masculinity and/or femininity) in two novels.
  5. Analyze the settings of two novels and discuss the role and function of the settings.
  6. Compare the endings of two novels. How do the novelists resolve their plots? Is full closure achieved? How important is the ending (whether happy or tragic) to the meaning of the story overall? Close readings of final pages, paragraphs, or sentences are welcome. (N.b., Tom Jones is an eligible text for this question only if you finished reading the entire novel on your own.)
  7. Analyze how two novels borrow from narrative forms that pre-date the emergence of the 18th-century novel (e.g., epics, chivalric romances, spiritual autobiographies, travel narratives, etc.).
  8. In the eighteenth century, it was believed that literature should not merely entertain; it should also educate and inculcate morals. Discuss the didacticism found in two novels.
  9. The novel “rose” simultaneously with the rise of the middle-class reading audience. Social class is an important theme in the early novels. Analyze the way that characters belonging to particular social classes are represented in two novels.

Novels Choice:

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Oxford World’s Classics)

Samuel Richardson, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (Oxford World’s Classics)

Henry Fielding, Tom Jones (Oxford World’s Classics)

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Oxford World’s Classics)

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