Essay 2

Please write about one of the suggestions below. As before, you should have a compelling thesis and base your analysis on textual evidence. All essays should include a counterargument, which should help to sharpen the focus of your main thesis.

Start early, so that you have time to develop your ideas, and be sure to proofread carefully. Papers must be at least 5 full double-spaced pages and no more than 7 pages.

Nostalgia for the past plays a central role in romantic literature, as authors often recall the innocence of their youth to contrast with the difficulties of adulthood. Werther describes his return to his childhood home in a letter of May 9, 1772; Olaudah Equiano devotes the first two chapters of his autobiography to memories of childhood in an African village; Rousseau imagines the infancy of humankind when he writes about “man in the state of nature.” Pick two of these works and write a thesis-driven, evidence-based essay on the role these reflections play within the works. You might consider questions such as: What do these writers find appealing about this state of innocence? In what ways do memories of the past serve as a positive or negative contrast to the present? Do the authors want to return to childhood or the state of nature? If such a return is neither desirable or possible, how do they manage (or fail to manage) to live on in a fallen world?


“Charlotte (Werther) and Toni (Betrothal in Santo Domingo) are virtuous, strong women victimized by narcissistic, insecure, and violently vindictive men.” Agree or disagree in a thesis-driven, evidence-based essay.


Guilt and remorse feature prominently in Equiano’s Interesting Narrative and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” When Equiano’s seemingly kind master unexpectedly sells him to another man (pages 93-95; ch. 4-5), Equiano is wracked with guilt about what he might have done to cause this turn of events. The ancient mariner is apparently doomed to tell his tale of crime and punishment for the rest of his life. Of what crimes, if any, are these men guilty? If they are not guilty, why do they feel guilty? If they are guilty, what could they do to atone for their crime? Write a thesis-driven, evidence-based essay on the role of remorse in these two texts.

Please do not use any outside resources besides the books.

Book:Rousseau, A Discourse on Inequality

Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative

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