Posted: November 23rd, 2022

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What is an Essay?

 Literary Elements and “Young Goodman Brown” 

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 The Dead”: Symbolism, Irony and Characterization 

M1A1: What is an Essay?

Write a short essays of 350 words. In preparation for these weekly assignments, you are now asked to reflect upon your own writing process and what you understand an essay to be. The essay has a long history.

Perhaps history’s greatest essay writer, the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, published his volume in 1575 at the height of the Renaissance. Reading any one of his Essays, will give you an excellent idea of how this form of writing can be perfected.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American master of the form.

M1D1: Literary Elements and “Young Goodman Brown”

For this activity you need to have read, and ideally, re-read Hawthorne’s classic story about the Salem Witchcraft era, “Young Goodman Brown.” 

Then, in a primary post of at least 300 words, identify one symbol and one image in the story “Young Goodman Brown” and explain how imagery and symbolism contribute to your understanding of the story’s theme.

M1D2: “The Dead”: Symbolism, Irony and Characterization

For this activity you will need to read Joyce’s short story “The Dead” with great care. In preparation for the discussion, read how Joyce’s’ use of snow as a symbol contributes to the reader’s understanding of the main character’s depth, as well as the story’s overall theme and design. The article is entitled: “Analysis of “The Dead”, James Joyce’s Symbolic Use of Snow. You might also want to view a superb film adaptation of Joyce’s story by John Huston.

Joyce’s characters are clearly of the round variety. They are rich, complex, and multidimensional. Please describe the characterization of either Gabriel or Greta Conroy in a minimum of 300 words. What makes them complex characters? Give at least two attributes for the character and then show how the character’s behavior exemplifies those attributes. What is your personal reaction to the character? Can you identify with the character on some level? How? Finally, how does this character help represent one of the story’s themes?

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