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Compare how the theme of gender is related to religion in at least two of the novels we have read. Explain how the two themes are related in this novel, how it affects the characters, and what other themes that the merging of these themes creates. For example, the theme of gender and religion in X creates the theme of sexuality because ...
Choose examples from three novels that show a character's natural impulse in regards to virtue? Does acting upon impulse demonstrate a character's pure virtue or show the cracks in the foundation of their so called "virtue"? Lastly, why do you think virtue is such an important topic in each novel?
Citing examples, how do minor characters reflect the changes in values or cultural circumstances in a story's plot? Or do they not generally reflect these changes? Explain why or why not.
In each of the novels we have read, every main character has changed in some way or another from the very beginning of the novel to the end. In Robinson Crusoe we see maturity through self discovery, where in Pamela we see it through her marriage. Choosing two main characters from two different texts we have read this semester, how do you think these characters have changed? How do you think these changes altered the endings of these novels. And was this change a good one or worse?
I think a good question would be "How does letter-writing/journaling function in novels such as Robinson Crusoe, Pamela, The Female American, and Evelina?"
Robinson Crusoe (1719)Fantomina (1725)Pamela (1740) Shamela (1741)Tristram (1759)The Castle of Otranto (1764)The Female American (1767)Evelina (1778)Vathek (1782) Although we haven't read these novels in this specific order, I just wonder if we can see a progression of "the novel." Because in many ways, novelists get ideas from other novelists... like Shamela was from Pamela... The Female American from Robinson Crusoe... but each novel still brings something new.
Using 3 or more examples, showing how wealth is portrayed in the various novels -- i.e. Robinson Crusoe's and Pamela's hoarding, Squire B's gift giving, houses/castles in Tristram/Otranto, decadence in Vathek, etc. Is it an important part of the story? Does it make it any more or less plausible? Does wealth matter?
I feel like a good question would be an open ended one. For example, something like: Having read a good deal of 18c fiction how would describe the progression of the novel through the century? Or, what sort of societal issues do people of the 18c seem to focus on as seen through any few of the books we've read?
Where does power come from? Is it indicative of race, class, gender, or some combination of the three? Is power something that is actively attained or something that is assumed from birthright? What kinds of characters both possess and employ agency? Does religion have any effect on power? Using examples from 3 of the novels we have read this semester, compare and contrast the nature of power and who holds it in characters from 18th century literature.
Explore the ways that female autonomy evolved in the novel genre through the eighteenth-century. In the first novella that we read--Fantomina, 1725-- Fantomina used her agency to satisfy her sexual desires a man. By the last novel that we read--Vathek, 1782ish-- the main female character in story uses her agency to explore witchcraft, with little hesitation about sacrifices others for her gains. Given this, did women really gain any autonomy over the course of the century? Or were the authors and society at the time suggesting that allowing women to have more freedoms would lead to their misbehavior?
Because I often find myself having trouble with open-ended questions where I'm expected to write a page or more of an answer (I either get caught up trying to squeeze too much into one brief part OR I write a paragraph and then I'm out of things to say), my preferential question would be something very specific. And just speaking personally, the ideal question for me would be one concerning something I researched in depth during the semester.So say it were a question for Evelina, for me a question that I could've gone into a good lengthy explanation for would've been: Consider the foot race scene and explain the possible relevance to any underlying themes of the novel if itself, if indeed there are any at play. Does this scene have a functional purpose within the narrative or is it a mere random interjection of strangeness?
I love the question about the progression of the novel, Christina.On a related theme I think a great topic of inquiry would be: How and why did the novel ascend to prominence as the dominant literary mode? What are the social and aesthetic factors at work it its progress? Nobody says they want to write the Great American Epic Poem. There is something special about the novel's place in literature and it is interesting to realize that it hasn't always been that way and ask why.
ooh! I should have said "Is the novel still novel?" Does it make sense to call something "novel" after more than two and a half centuries, or is there something about the expectations a reader takes to a novel that justify the continued use of the term? I think so, but if not, what enduring term should we use to replace "novel?"
How do power relations change in 18th century novels? Do women gain any sort of agency as the novel progresses?Also, I might ask something like "Judging by the books based in Britain, compared to those outside, has the relationship between Britain and the outside world changed at all during the 18th century?