Topics for 2nd Formal Paper
4 pages long
Paper copy due at beginning of class, 12/5/11
1. Compare and contrast the representations of love in Shakespeare’s “Let me not to the
marriage of true minds” (592) and Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” (595). Do the speakers in
these two poems agree or disagree about the nature of love?
2. Compare and contrast Shelley’s “Ozymandias” with Shakespeare’s “Sonnet LV” (“Not marble,
nor the gilded monuments”; see text of poem below). In what specific ways are these poems
different and/or similar, both in terms of theme (content, meaning) and poetic form (structure,
use of poetic language)? Do you think that Shelley had Shakespeare’s poem in mind when
he wrote “Ozymandius”? Why or why not?
3. In “Act I” of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Mrs. Linde says to Nora, “you’re just a child” (616). Do
you agree with this description of Nora at this point in the play? Why or why not? Do you
think that Nora changes significantly by the end of the play? Explain.
4. What is the meaning and function of music in Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”? Examine
numerous moments in the story where music is either heard, performed, or talked about,
including the ending of the story.
5. Compare and contrast two of Hamlet’s soliloquies from different acts of Shakespeare’s
Hamlet. Do the two soliloquies show significant changes or development in Hamlet’s
character? How or how not?
* If you choose to write on Topic #2, this is Shakespeare’s “Sonnet LV”
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
! 1
Important Notes for English 200 Formal Papers:
• Your essay should be given an interesting title, designed to capture your reader’s
• Your essay should be properly formatted, using double-spaced lines (with no extra
spaces between paragraphs), a conventional 12-pt. font, 1-inch margins (left, right, top,
and bottom), and numbered pages.
• Your essay should begin with an introduction, a single paragraph in which you:
1. open your paper by gaining your reader’s interest;
2. introduce the names of the authors and titles of the works that you will be
writing about.
3. introduce the topic that you will be writing about.
4. state your thesis, which will be a debatable (interesting, non-obvious)
argument about your topic (in the case of literature essays, this argument will
take the form of your general interpretation of the texts you will address).
• Your essay should develop your thesis in the body of your essay, consisting of
paragraphs that:
1. are each organized by a single, main idea which develops your thesis (a
paragraph’s main idea is usually stated in a topic sentence near the beginning of
the paragraph);
2. each develop a main idea (and your overall thesis) through close readings of
relevant, significant textual quotations;
3. each consist of clearly written sentences that logically connect to each other;
4. include smooth, logical transitions between paragraphs.
• Your essay should end with a concluding paragraph.
• Your essay must properly cite your sources, using proper MLA format for in-text
(parenthetical) citations).
• Your essay must contain a works cited page, formatted according to MLA rules.
• Your essay must be thoroughly proofread and revised.
• Your essay must be free of grammatical errors and other technical writing errors

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