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Caleb & Sweeney Todd (lit/film essay)

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The gothic sublime defines itself in contrast with romanticism, particularly in its exploration of human psychology, criminality and madness. While the romantics associated the sublime experience with external forces of nature and divinity, gothic artists turned their gaze inwards, to the “tangled labyrinth of dreams”. Vijay Mishra writes that Gothicism represents a regression from the “soaring grandness” of Burkean sublimity, and into the deep chasm of fear and ...

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The Tell-Tale Heart (lit essay)

Posted on February 24, 2013 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The Tell-Tale Heart (Edgar Allan Poe, 1843) is a short story with elements of horror and suspense. While the tale depicts a grisly murder, the horror comes from the twisted psychology of the killer, and the cold, meticulous process of his deed. Poe’s story represents a new kind of genre that emerged during the Victorian era – the detective story. While very similar to a Gothic tale, this piece focuses on a crime (a murder), a criminal’s inner psycho...

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Watchmen & The Tyger (lit essay)

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Watchmen (1987) is a twelve-issue comic series, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. It depicts an alternate history of the world in which superheroes began emerging in the 1940s and 50s, and aided the United States government during the Cold War. The series itself is set during the 1980s, after the Watchmen have been outlawed and disbanded by a totalitarian American government, and the nation readies itself for nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Moore contrasts...

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The Lamb was Bleating Softly (lit essay)

Posted on February 9, 2013 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The Lamb was Bleating Softly (Juan Ramon Jimenez) conveys the arrival of an extraordinary (perhaps divine) presence into a rural landscape. The poem opens with the farm animals being stirred awake by “His” appearance. They are excited, and this anticipation is communicated aurally, as the narrator him/herself is roused by the commotion. The fact that the animals sense His coming first may suggest a communion with nature that is simply weaker in humans. The open...

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Dawn After the Wreck (lit essay)

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

This painting (by Joseph Mallord WilliamTurner) portrays the elements of land, sea and sky, and a lone dog, gazing upwards. The colours seem to bleed into each other, making it difficult to determine where the water ends and the sand begins. It is also unclear whether the sun is rising or setting, or whether the tide is ebbing or flowing, leaving the entire scene in a state of flux. The twilit sky is reflected by the wet sands, giving the picture a mirrored feel, and drawing the viewer...

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Paradise Lost (lit essay)

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The object of Paradise Lost (1667), as John Milton declares in the opening passages, is to learn why Adam and Eve tasted the Fruit of Knowledge, and who or what seduced them into disobedience against God. He also wants to understand the reason for God’s plan, and to justify his decision to expel the fallen angels, and human beings, from Heaven.

 

The character Satan is initially in despair over how far he has fallen, not just the physical fall from He...

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The Prelude (lit essay)

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Lines 356–400 of The Prelude (Wordsworth, 1850) explore the notion of guilt in a young boy. Wordsworth recounts the finding of a little boat. He argues that it was Nature herself that lead him to the vessel. The environment has taken on a voice of its own, and the boy is letting himself be guided and swayed by the forest and the river. On the other hand, perhaps the boy is very much in control, and is using the still canvas of nature to pour out his own whims and desires. A...

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Book of Thel (lit essay)

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The Book of Thel (Blake, 1789) suggests that you cannot know life until you experience it for yourself. The maiden Thel is fascinated by what the future holds for her. She asks four different individuals, at different stages of maturity, for answers. However, none of their advice prepares her for the reality of life, with all of its torment and heartbreak. The sublime experience of the “hollow pit” cannot be understood at an intellectual or academic level. It had to b...

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The Hobbit (lit essay)

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (5)

Strength, bravery, boldness, and resilience – these are some of the characteristics that embody the hero of Homeric legend. This classical hero, almost always a man, is as much a symbol of masculinity as he is moral virtue. At first glance, Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of The Hobbit (Tolkien 1937), could not be further from this portrait of gallantry. He is polite, nervous, and concerned chiefly with personal comfort and social perception. Yet, beneath this timid persona ...

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The Tragedy of King Lear (lit essay)

Posted on November 2, 2011 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (1)

King Lear (William Shakespeare 1623) traces a father’s decent into madness, after dividing his kingdom up between two of his three daughters, based on flattery. The King’s foolishness brings about tragic consequences for his family and people. Lear’s own insanity grows in parallel with the chaos and bloodshed that has befallen his realm, and many of the characters begin to ask themselves why the gods torment them so; for their sins of for “sport”. Th...

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Thoughts After Ruskin (lit essay)

Posted on September 27, 2011 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Elma Mitchell’s poem, Thoughts After Ruskin, is a unique portrait of women. It is not about a particular woman, but rather the nature and manner of women within a domestic setting. It depicts domestic life with a gritty, violent urgency that goes against the idealised view of femininity and grace. The poem’s title is addressing John Ruskin, and other male poets, who romanticise the nature of women; and contrasts their flowery language with a harsh reality. This essay ...

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Paradise Saved (lit essay)

Posted on August 2, 2011 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

A.D. Hope’s Paradise Saved is a retelling of humanity’s original sin in the Garden of Eden. It describes Adam’s refusal to partake in the fruit of knowledge, thus damning Eve into the wilderness alone, while he remains safe in God’s paradise. However, Adam continues to pine after Eve, and feels empty within God’s grace and devotion, because his love has been denied. This essay will analyse the structure and form of the poem, and how it has ...

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White Noise & Pulp Fiction (film/lit essay)

Posted on June 4, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The novel White Noise and the film Pulp Fiction are postmodern texts that utilise a “[montage] of tones, styles, and voices” to examine the “terror and wild humour as the essential tone of contemporary America” (Lentricchia). Both texts employ pastiche and intertextuality to explore the consumerist, media-saturated societies in which they inhabit. They also contrast themes of human violence and amorality with a postmodern self-awareness. In ot...

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Garden and Sea at Dunwich (lit essay)

Posted on April 29, 2010 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

This essay will begin by investigating the poetic structure and overarching narrative of the piece, as well as an examination into its theme of man’s place in the natural world, and the religious connotations that inspires. We’ll then explore two distinct allegorical readings of the poem – Christ’s death on the cross and the schism between England and the Roman Catholic Church.


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Jabberwocky (lit essay)

Posted on January 3, 2010 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

The 1871 poem Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll, is an example of nonsense verse, or “amphigouri”. Poetic forms of this kind are normally composed for humorous effect, and are “intentionally and overtly paradoxical, silly, witty, whimsical or otherwise strange” (Mills). It is particularly common in English poetry, due to the typically absurdist streak in British humour. The poem is full “nonse words” of Carroll’s own creation, many of them ...

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The Tragedy of Hamlet (lit essay)

Posted on June 19, 2009 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

First-Person Character Study

I am Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and the story of my life is not a happy one to recount. It is a tale of murder and deception; a legend of madness, incest and brutal revenge. It is indeed a tragedy to behold. When the story of my life was first performed some 400 years ago I was praised as a hero of the stage and a champion of Denmark; a valiant man whose spirit was not crushed by the treachery of ...

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The Poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (lit essay)

Posted on May 23, 2009 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (1)

Imaginative Journeys (Discussion)

A journey is when a person or group of people set out to reach an objective or accomplish a goal. The journey is the distance between the person(s) and their objective; the physical, mental, psychological, emotional, and spiritual changes and developments they experience along the way; and the events and stages that they are confronted with.

 

There are many reasons why people undertake journeys. They inc...

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Animal Farm (lit essay)

Posted on May 11, 2009 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Orwell said, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” The quote itself refers to an essay originally published by Orwell in March, 1946. The essay is called In Front of Your Nose, and was written as a piece that explored the implications of social facts that are so obvious that other intellectuals prefer to remain oblivious to them. What this basically means in English is that throughout history, particularly throughout the past century, societies a...

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The Tragedy of Macbeth (lit essay)

Posted on May 8, 2009 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Through The Tragedy of Macbeth William Shakespeare puts forth the idea that ambition is the root of all human evil. Macbeth is the story of a valiant and loyal soldier who is told by a trio of witches that he will ascend to the throne of Scotland. This enigmatic prophecy stirs within him a ruthless and brutal ambition to claim the crown for himself. His deep desire for power and advancement leads him – against his own moral conscience – to kill his venerable and beloved King Dunca...

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Fight Club (lit essay)

Posted on May 2, 2009 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Plot Summary

Chuck Palanhiuk's novel Fight Club tells the story of a white-collared, middle-class, everyday young man (who's name we never learn; let's call him Joe). Joe suffers from insomnia and is frustrated with his bureaucratic job, superficial relationships and consumer-based lifestyle. One day however, he meets a man named Tyler Durden.


After his apartment is destroyed he goes to live with Tyler at 123 Paper St. It is here the two invent fight club...

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