The in-class essay: the official list of questions

The essay will be written in class on March 1st, 2001.

You may refer to your annotated texts of the poems, but NOT to any other notes.

You will choose one question from two or three that will appear on the test. The questions that will appear on the test will be chosen from the list below. The questions may be focussed more narrowly than they are here.

1. Several poems that we have looked at this year have imagined a paradise, and/or a world that is different from the everyday world. Write an essay that identifies and interprets the salient features of these imagined worlds, and shows how these imagined worlds characterize what is "human". Poems could include Marvell: "The Garden", Yeats: "Sailing to Byzantium", Keats: "Ode on a Grecian Urn", Milton: Paradise Lost, Book 1. You'll have to be careful with Milton, but remember that Book I of Milton's Paradise Lost describes Hell: to what extent can we construct Heaven as its antitype?

2. Discuss the thematic significance of women's body parts in 4 or 5 of the following poems: Yeats' "Leda and the Swan", Williams, "Queen-Anne's-Lace", Spenser, "Sonnet 18", Shakespeare, "Sonnet 130", Bradstreet, "A Letter to her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment", Eliot, The Waste Land.

3. Discuss the relationship between art and life in 3 or 4 of the following poems: Shakespeare: "Sonnet 18," Sidney: "Astrophel and Stella 1," Bradstreet: "The Prologue," Keats: "Ode on a Grecian Urn," Tennyson: "The Lady of Shalott," Yeats: "Sailing to Byzantium."

4. Discuss problematic heroism in Paradise Lost and two of Byron: Don Juan, Tennyson: "Ulysses", Wordsworth: The Prelude, Rossetti: "Goblin Market".

5. What figurative language is associated with attempts to describe contact between humans and God? Consider Eliot: The Waste Land and at least two of the following: Anon: "I syng of a mayden", Yeats: "Leda and the Swan", Donne: "Good Friday. 1613. Riding WEstward", Herbert: "The Pulley", Marvell: "The Garden".

6. Writing epitaphs: in Shakespeare: Sonnet 55 [which we didn't do], Gray: "Elegy written in a country church-yard", Tennyson: "The Lady of Shalott", Browning: "The Bishop orders his Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church" [which we didn't do]. You might make a case for including Tennyson: "Ulysses"!

7. Old age in Tennyson: "Ulysses", Yeats: "Sailing to Byzantium", and at least one of the following: Thomas: "Do not go gentle into that good night", Hardy: "The darkling thrush", Hopkins: "Spring and Fall: to a Young Child", Shakespeare: "Sonnet 73", Eliot, The Waste Land.

8. Female ambition in four of Bradstreet: "The Prologue", Finch: "The Introduction", Leapor: "The Epistle of Deborah Dough", Pope: "To a lady, on the characters of women", Barbauld: "Washing-Day".