This essay should be a 500-750 word essay focusing on the plays we have read in Weeks 5 and 6.
1 This should be a close reading essay, and should use as evidence mostly passages from the play that you discuss. While it is fine to do a little background reading on the history related to the play you’re writing on, this should use as evidence mostly passages from the play that you discuss. If you need to bring in historical context at all, do your best to limit the context to “common knowledge” information (information that appears in more than 4 sources, and might have appeared in newspapers at the time, for instance). Try to avoid using ANY outside sources unless you discuss with the instructor first. If you do use sources, make sure to cite them if you quote or paraphrase them, even if you are quoting or paraphrasing common knowledge information.
2 The essay should be in MLA essay format.
Choose 1 of the following topics, and write a thesis-driven essay in response to that topic:
• Unrealistic Elements in Reed’s The C Above C Above High C: Ishmael Reed’s The C Above C Above High C is full of unrealistic elements–inserted scenes, superimposed characters, slide images as backdrops–that can be confusing, especially when one is reading the play. Pick 1 scene that makes use of unrealistic elements, and create an argument about how the use of that element affect the scene. Why do you think Reed made the choice to write the scene using unrealistic elements instead of writing it in a more realistic way? Do unrealistic elements open up specific possibilities that would not be available in a more realistic play?
• Social Issues in Reed’s The C Above C Above High C: Reed’s play is focused on major social issues of the 50s, not only those pertaining to race, but also those pertaining to sex and gender, and he approaches those issues from some interesting directions. Choose one social issue other than race that Reed engages and analyze his presentation of that issue through the particular characters and non-historical encounters that he depicts. Why does he approach the issue using these particular characters and their concerns? Is his approach effective? Make sure that you specifically define the social issue and characters being used, and if necessary, do some historical research on that issue to better inform your view.
Satire in The Importance of Being Earnest: Oscar Wilde is known for his satire, and The Importance of Being Earnest is no exception to Wilde’s usual mode of satirical writing. The effect of satire will change, however, depending upon the audience, and one of the fascinating things about this play is that the people Wilde satirizes are also the people he expects to be watching the play. Why does Wilde satirize the viewers who will be buying the tickets? What kind of reaction might he be aiming to evoke in his audience?
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