1. What's in a Name?
"My father's name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip" (Dickens).
"Everyone called him Pop Eye. Even in those days, when I was a skinny thirteen-year-old, I thought he knew about his nickname but didn’t care" (Jones 1).
How much do our names, whether they be the names given to us by our parents or nicknames we acquire from friends, reflect who we are? The above two quotes, from Great Expectations and Mister
Pip, respectively, are the first lines of each novel. Both novels concern themselves with the theme of names and naming, and, subsequently, identity.
In a five-paragraph, expository essay choose three characters from Mister Pip and discuss how his/her name/s reflect his/her personality. Remember, some characters have multiple names. If so, this must be part of your discussion.
Note: If you wish to discuss just one character and his/her names, you may do this. However, your thesis statement will need to introduce the three points you will discuss regarding this one character.
2. Rate the Teacher
"There were gaps in Mr. Watt's knowledge. Large gaps, as it turned out, for which he apologized. He knew the word chemistry but could not tell us much more than that. He handed on the names of famous people such as Darwin, Einstein, Plato, Archimedes, Aristotle. We wondered if he was making them up, because he struggled to explain why they were famous or why we had to know them. Yet he was our teacher and he never relinquished that status. When an unfamiliar fish washed up on the beach it felt right to ask Mr. Watts to come and identify the strange eel-like serpent. It didn't matter that he would end up standing over the creature with the same blank face as the rest of us" (Jones 27-8).
Though Mr. Watts may know a lot about Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, and England, he cannot explain chemistry, cars, or sealife to his students. In other words, outside of these areas of expertise, Watts is "lost." In a five-paragraph essay argue whether Mr. Watts is a good teacher or a bad teacher (you must decide on one). Use examples from the book. When you quote or paraphrase passages you must cite them properly. You may also use examples from your own life: i.e. compare Watts to your teachers. In the essay, argue not only that Watts is good or bad, but also explain what makes a teacher good or bad and use Watts (primarily) and other teachers (secondarily) as examples.
"The roosters only know how to be roosters." Late in the novel Matilda mentions "the acting part" of Mr. Watts.
In a five-paragraph, expository essay show how role-playing and various types of dramatic re-presentation play a prominent role in the novel. Discuss the redskins and rambos as well as other individual characters who “play a role.” Why is there so much of this? What difference could it or does it possibly make to people’s lives? Consider both those who are "performing" and those who are the "audience" of the performance. Whose dramatic representation was most powerful and why?
At the end of the novel, Matilda makes this claim: "It has occurred to me only recently that I never once saw him [Mr. Watts] with a machete--his survival weapon was story."
In a five-paragraph, expository essay examine how the characters use story (narrative)s a means of coping with situations that threaten them. Choose three specific examples to discuss. Be sure to identify who tells the story, what the story is about and how the story is used to help the character survive. Consider as well whether the story is oral or written and how the "blending" occurs.
Read pages from page 222 to the end of the novel and decide on the effectiveness of the denouement by discussing the author’s management of themes and motifs he has worked with earlier. Consider the use of ambiguity as a central device in the final chapters, and decide how effectively the author’s final section works to satisfy the expectations of readers.
In your essay, make frequent references to the text as well as to other sources you may use. The essay must contain a well-crafted thesis statement, a series of paragraphs in the body section linked with appropriate transitional devices, and a conclusion. Use MLA formatting in writing this essay.