Project #50631 - LITERTURE

  • Chose only ONE of the following questions to answer in a formal, academic essay.
  • 1250 words, double spaced, typed, titled, stapled.
  • Have a focused thesis that directly responds to the question and defend your original answer with evidence from the text and logical, reasonable, well-defended inferences.
  • Quotations should be integrated with your text and referenced in MLA parenthetical citation style. Example:  The connection between Sylvia’s spiritual center and nature is evident when the narrator states, “Sylvia’s heart gave a wild beat; she knew that strange white bird” (Jewett 433).
  • No research is requested or required. Proceed from your own analytic interpretation of the text and contextual knowledge from class discussions. These are short papers and focused questions –any research or outside help, documented or not documented, will be grounds for failure. Any plagiarism, which includes the taking or unattributed paraphrasing of ideas, in whole or in part, or unattributed direct quotations, even one, is grounds for failure.
  • Develop your own interpretation; I’m not expecting you to parrot my ideas back to me.
  • Papers are graded based upon thesis, consistency in thesis support development, organized essay and paragraph development, quality and correctness of language, grammar and other mechanics, proper textual and logical support, and correct MLA format.
  • Rely on close readings, quotations and careful textual analysis –don’t broadly or over summarize/rely solely on plot.  Assume your reader is familiar with the work.


  1. Of all of the large and complex objects for Robert and the narrator to draw that Robert Coover’s story “The cathedral”-say a skyscraper or a jumbo airliner-why select a cathedral?  What special significance does that structure have to particular themes within the story, and what is Coover saying through having the narrator and Robert trace that structure? 

I will be writing on this ^ The name of the book is The Norton anthology American literature volume 2 1865 to present By: Raymond Carver the "Cathedral"

Sample question for class study:

What specific type of ontological dilemma is Neddy Merrill experiencing in “The Swimmer” and what is the reasoning behind that ontological dilemma?


Thesis with their accompanying grades preceding:


F. In the story Nedy Merrill swims through pools and he don’t know where he be at the end.

D. Neddy Merrill’s’s dilemma is he needs to escape so he has a fantasy of swimming through pools to get home but in the end it’s all a dream.

C. Neddy’s dilemma is he is not happy so he swims home, but he’s not really swimming home, he is escaping from his financial problems.

B. The ontological dilemma that Neddy Merrill experiences is escaping from his problems through having a fantasy where he can complete a heroic quest.

A. Neddy Merrill’s ontological dilemma is being a failure and an iconoclast in the world of the 1950’s suburbs, a world that demands conformity and rewards success, and so he retreats from reality into a fantastic, heroic activity where he can reject the standard rules of geography and deny his crumbling home life.



Sample Introduction


The post-World War Two 1950’s and early 1960 in America were a period of great contentment and hence, great conformity in America.  One of the elements of the post-War boom was the development of affordable family housing in the outskirts of major metropolitan areas, known as suburbs.  The middle classes and affluent, mostly white, fled to racially and economically homogenous suburbs as many urban areas were left to minority communities and economic decay. The fictional suburb “Bullet Park” is the setting for John Cheever’s short story “The Swimmer,” a narrative where the protagonist Neddy Merrill spends his Sunday afternoon basically yard-hopping and swimming from pool to pool in his neighborhood to get from a party at the Westerhazy’s residence back to his own.  However, as Neddy’s strange journey continues, the reader notices more and more the optimistic world Neddy imagines himself in darkens, and events in the text reveal Neddy has undergone some tragedy of fortune he himself refuses to acknowledge, until we arrive at his empty, dilapidated and locked home. Why does Neddy “need” to be in another world, and why does he select that particular world?  Neddy Merrill’s ontological dilemma is being a failure and an iconoclast in the world of the 1950’s suburbs, a world that demands conformity and rewards success, and so he retreats from reality into a fantastic, heroic activity where he can reject the standard rules of geography and deny his crumbling home life.


Sample Body paragraph:



One of Neddy’s early interior monologues establishes himself as someone who is ‘different,” but even in this monologue we can see Neddy is not someone who is fully self-aware, and prone to evasions and myths.  In Cheever’s story, although Neddy tells himself that “his life was not confining and the delight he took in this observation could not be explained by its suggestion of escape,” (1179) his life must be “confining” if the idea of ‘escape” suggests a delight to Neddy.  The self-delusion that life within suburbs is not confining is the idea Neddy must be struggling against-although he is in no physical “prison” and lives in a democracy where there is ‘freedom” he is confined, in terms of the behaviors that others must expect of him in a conformist and affluent society.  The decline of Neddy’s economic standards and the breakup of his family is one way Neddy has stepped out of the norm, and an idea that he must repress through constructing an alternate reality where he can be eccentric and heroic: “He was not a practical joker nor was he a fool but he was determinedly original and had a vague and modest idea of himself as a legendary figure” (Cheever 1179).  How can one be original but not considered foolish by an audience with conformist expectations? How can one be modest and legendary in a setting that asks one for the mild achievement of a stable home life and economic stability? Neddy’s crazy journey is not towards home but away from a life where he not only did not meet the expectations of his community, but he never had any intrinsic desire to fit into their expectations.


Subject History
Due By (Pacific Time) 12/06/2014 01:00 pm
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