Write an essay that discusses why and how specific symbols are used to depict one or two of the themes from Unit 2 in a particular way.
Your essay should incorporate details and quotes from the story (using parenthetical documentation with the author’s name), and you should use your own words to elaborate on the meanings of the details and quotes you use as evidence.
The themes to choose from are:
Love (Romantic, Platonic, or Filial)
The American Dream/Nightmare
The Quest for Identity/Coming of Age
Stories To Choose From:
Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”
Kate Chopin’s “The Storm”
Tobias Wolff’s “Powder”
Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains”
When writing your essay, the goal is to demonstrate what spin the story has on a particular theme. Be specific about the ways the theme is used and how the story’s use of symbols develops a deeper meaning to the theme. Provide details, including cited direct quotes from the story, but don’t forget that you must comment on the quotes you use to explain why they are significant.
As an example, one student might focus on how in Chopin’s “The Storm,” the passion between Calixta and Alcee is represented by the symbol of the rain storm and makes a social commentary on the theme of love. Love is a very general term, so this student should note that s/he is focusing on forbidden, or adulterous, romantic love in particular and comment on how that refines the broader theme. One appropriate thesis statement for this particular topic would be something similar to the following:
“Although Calixta loves Bobinot, she willingly has a passionate affair with Alcee in order to demonstrate that passion, represented by the storm, is ultimately a symbol of her own female independence.”
Then, you would contrast Calixta’s relationship with Bobinot with her relationship with Alcee in order to show that Calixta could simultaneously function as an efficient housewife and passionate lover to her husband if society at the time would allow such a woman to exist.