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English 2111 Online (Minor) - Essay #1: Assignment

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Research Project

English 2112

Fall 2012

      Essay #1

      Here is your first essay assignment. The guidelines are fairly simple: papers should be typed and double-spaced. They should have at least 500 words. If you cite any outside sources, be sure to provide MLA documentation, including a Works Cited list, for secondary sources. (Topics #4 and #5 will definitely need this.) When finished, submit your paper to The due date is September 28 by 5:00 p.m.  

  1. Discuss some of the satirical targets in Candide, giving at least three examples.  What makes it a black comedy? Does it hold up well today? Discuss. (Obviously this is an open-ended question with several possible answers.)
  2. Character archetypes originate with the beginning of literature—think of the hero on the quest (Gilgamesh, Odysseus), or the tragic hero brought low by fate and bad decisions (Oedipus Rex). Tartuffe features several character archetypes that re familiar to us because they can be found in current entertainments—think of wisecracking best friends and wily con men. With that in mind, the use of character archetypes in Tartuffe, giving at least three examples in your answer.
  3. Write an update of Candide in which our title character and any supporting characters that you choose visit the 21st century.  Think of this as a short chapter, an episode. Some questions to consider: What issues in our society would Voltaire satirize? Where (geographically speaking) would you place them? Any real life people that you would put in the narrative?
  4. Compare Tartuffe, Candide, or Gulliver’s Travels to a satirical work (or works) from the 21st century. You may use television shows, movies, books, or websites (e.g., The Onion) for examples, but they must be satires. Many current sitcoms or sex comedies will not fit the definition. Suggestions: The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show. Be sure to include citations for your examples.
  5. Take one of the historical references in Candide (e.g., the six kings in exile, the Lisbon earthquake, the role of the Jesuits in South America) and research it. In your paper, write about what really happened and its cultural and historical significance.  Then discuss how Voltaire managed to work in these real life elements into his fictional work and his thematic concerns. Be sure to cite all secondary sources.




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