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Second Set of Discussion Questions

Expressing yourself succinctly and concisely, choose one of the following four topics and write a response of approximately 400 words.

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  1. Much of British literature is retrospective: the works look back to a time in many respects better than the present. The reader ascertains this elegiac theme throughout most of the works studied this semester. For instance, Beowulf looks to the time of past heroes, Arthurian tales look to the time of Camelot, Wordsworthian poetry looks to the time of innocent childhood, and Eliot’s Prufrock looks to the time of Hamlet, Lazarus, and the Renaissance. Examine this theme of a glorious lost past in the literature we’ve studied throughout the centuries.
  • From the Anglo-Saxon “The Dream of the Rood” through Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, almost all the literature of Britain has incorporated Christian themes and Biblical references. Using examples from three-to-five literary works, discuss how authors make use of these themes and references.
  • Throughout this semester, you have read various types of poetry including epic tales such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, formalistic works such as Shakespearian sonnets, startling metaphysical conceits such as Donne incorporates, popular ballads which ushered in the Romantic period, and Eliot’s formalistic and reserved “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Examine the development of poetry throughout the centuries we have studied.
  • Throughout our tour of British literature, we have covered approximately 1200 years of literature from these eight periods:
  • Anglo-Saxon Period
  • 14th and 15th Centuries
  • 16th Century, 1485-1603
  • Early 17th Century, 1603-1660
  • Restoration and 18th Century, 1660-1785
  • Romantic Period, 1785-1830
  • Victorian Age, 1830-1901
  • 20th and 21st Century

Taking one of your favorite works from one of these periods, analyze why you liked the work and how the work exemplifies the characteristics of British literature which we have studied.

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