1. According to Aristotle’s Poetics, a play should follow three unities: UNITY OF ACTION (one main action with few or no subplots), UNITY OF PLACE (limited to one physical space), and UNITY OF TIME (cover no more than a 24-hour period). Also, according to the formula of the 19th-century “WELL-MADE PLAY,” a play should occur in real time, with no chronological leaps.
Discuss the strategies by which Susan Glaspell’s Trifles meets the credentials for THE UNITIES OF ACTION, TIME, AND PLACE and THE “WELL-MADE PLAY,” as well as how those strategies contribute to the plot and to the theme.
2. Compare how ONE play and ONE poem differently address the discrepancy between traditional IDEALISM and modern DISILLUSIONMENT.
3. Chinua Achebe’s Michael Obi, from “Dead Man’s Path,” is a tragic character. How is a character from another work covered in class similarly tragic?
4. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper” is an essential example of the so-called “female Gothic.” How so? Also, compare its female-Gothic credentials to those demonstrated by another work covered in class.
5. Poetry is a great way to try to express the inexpressible—or at least the complicated. Yusef Komunyakaa expresses a complicatedly sad and dark bundle of emotion and social commentary through his lyrical transformation of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial into a kind of Gothic object. Explain, focusing on imagery and word choice. (In doing so, be sure to keep his identity—that of an African-American Vietnam veteran—in mind.)
6. Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night” and Wallace Stevens’ “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” each address death differently, and both betray what might be expected. Explain, focusing on imagery and word choice.
7. Consider how a short story covered in class plays with the uncertainty of individual perception and subjective experience in the same way as Louise Bogan’s poem, “Medusa.”
8. Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” and William Butler Yeats’ “Leda and the Swan” both use Romantic language and imagery to ironically disillusioning (even upsetting) effect. Explain.
9. How is Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” an example of the Southern Gothic? In particular, consider what the grandmother and the Misfit each represent.
10. Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” has been called “suburban Gothic.” Why? Also, how does Oates clearly take a page from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book when it comes to using ambiguity (such as in “Young Goodman Brown,” for example)?