Essay topics for Flowers for Algernon

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Essay topics for Flowers for Algernon:

  1. Do you think that Charlie’s writing as a mentally disabled man at the beginning and end of the novel accurately represent the way a disabled person would really write? Defend your answer, and explain why you think these passages are written as they are.

  2. How has Charlie changed at the end of the novel? Is he different from the person he is at the beginning of the novel, and if so, how? Do you consider the novel’s ending to be tragic or inspiring?

  3. Does the novel make an absolute statement about the role of intelligence in human life, or does it simply explore this idea as an open-ended question?

  4. Compare and contrast the characters of Professor Nemur and Dr. Strauss. How do their reactions to Charlie’s intelligence differ? How do their approaches to science differ?

  5. How does the diary or journal-entry form of the novel affect the emphasis of the story? Is Charlie dependable as a narrator as he progresses through his various stages? Is Charlie capable of providing insight into the other characters, or is he too preoccupied with himself?

  6. How does Algernon function as an alter ego for Charlie? How does Algernon’s condition represent Charlie’s condition?

Essay topics for A Child Called It:

  1. Why does David’s mother begin to abuse him? Could there be more than one cause?

  2. How does the mood shift throughout the novel? Is it generally uplifting or somber? Give specific examples and

3.) Discuss the role of the father in the memoir. How does his relationship with David change over the course of the book? In the end is he any better or worse than David’s mother?

4.) Consider the ethical issue of David stealing food. Does this detract from his character? By backing him into a corner where he commits crime, is Mother winning?

Essay topics for A Handmaid’s Tale:
1.) Discuss the role of the Aunts and of Serena Joy in the novel. How do they relate to other women, and how does this make them fit into the hierarchy of Gilead?

2.) Is Offred a heroine? Discuss and give specific examples.

3.) Is the reader meant to take the final section seriously or not? What might Atwood consider important in the final section. Explain.

4.) Is the Commander a sympathetic character, a monster, or both?

5.) Is Atwood’s novel ultimately a feminist work of literature, or does it offer a critique of feminism?

6.) Discuss the significance of setting in The Handmaid’s Tale. Why does Atwood choose to set the novel where she does?

7.) How does Gilead create and use a new vocabulary to support its totalitarian order? Give examples. Distinguish between literal and figurative language.

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