Here are some possible essay questions. Choose one. You are allowed to come up with your own question, but be sure to clear it with me first. Essays should be around three to four pages in 12-point font, double-spaced (not including the bibliography). As with the essay samples that I have included on Brightspace, you do not need a title-page; instead, you just need to include your name, student number, course number, your teaching assistant’s name, and the date in the top right hand corner of the first page.
Your essay should have a title that reflects not only your topic but your argument about that topic; an introductory paragraph that introduces your topic, suggests how it will be approached in regards to the text, and closes with a clear and specific thesis statement; supporting paragraphs organized around points that support your thesis and that open with a strong topic sentence; specific evidence from the primary text itself; a sense of sound and logical transition from supporting point to supporting point; and a strong conclusion that reinforces your thesis and suggests something about its wider implications. The essay samples on Brightspace are very clear in regards to what I am looking for, so be sure to look over these before and while writing.
Be specific, be organized, and be sure to make good use of the text when making your case. When it comes to quoting from the text, be sure to comment on the quotes you use and incorporate them into your larger argument. If you have any questions while writing your essay, or if you would like me to look over a draft of your essay, please let me know.
1. How does Pushkin’s “The Bronze Horseman” serve as a chronicle of Russian history? To
what ends? (note: for this essay you will need to make use of some historical sources. Please let me know if you have any questions about valid sources.)
2. How are themes such as power and powerlessness, as well as order and chaos, civilization and
nature, explored in Pushkin’s “The Bronze Horseman”? To what ends? How might this poem serve as a comment on the relationship between the Tsar and the Russian people?
3. Discuss the function of the duel in Pushkin’s “The Shot.”
4. Discuss the contrasting themes of courage and cowardice in Pushkin’s “The Shot.”
5. How does Gogol mix comedy and tragedy, as well as fantasy and reality, in “The Overcoat”?
To what ends?
6. How is St. Petersburg represented in Gogol’s “The Overcoat”? How is life in the city,
particularly for the rising class of clerks and bureaucrats, represented? To what ends?
7. How is nostalgia explored in Goncharov’s “Oblomov’s Dream”, especially in relation to the
pastoral setting? In keeping with the latter point, what kinds of contrasts might Goncharov be suggesting about city and country life? To what ends?
8. Using both the selection from Herzen’s My Past and Thoughts and the essay on Herzen by
Isaiah Berlin, what kind of image do we get of mid-nineteenth political and intellectual life in Russia? Despite Herzen’s strong political beliefs and his commitment to fighting injustices in Russia, what does Berlin see as Herzen’s chief intellectual – even temperamental – characteristic? How does this distinguish Herzen from other political radicals, both past and present? To what ends?
Essay 1 Here are some possible essay questions. Choose one. You are allowed to c