Choose one of the three reading selections from the list of topic choices below. The focus is on brief but important primary source material written by important authors. In each case, the subject relates to the problems of certain people who are oppressed or impoverished. In each topic, a different genre or approach is adopted to help readers see and perhaps address the problem. Read the selections as identified with each topic below. Write a 4–5 paragraph essay (350 words minimum) that analyzes the work following the list of things your paper should cover, given just after the topics.
- Reading selection of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. Her works are very popular today, with Austen reading clubs and all types of new books and events based on her ideas. In 2017, England printed new £10 bank notes bearing Austen’s image. Chapter 43 should be read in full.
- Reading selection from Samuel Johnson, No. 91. Sufficiency of the English Language, an essay first published in The Rambler. Johnson was the editor of two coffeehouse magazines, The Rambler (1750–52) and The Idler (1758–60), and was the author of Dictionary of the English Language. He was also the subject of one of the first biographies, by James Boswell. In his life, Johnson overcame numerous illnesses and handicaps.
- Reading selection of Olympe de Gouges’s Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female citizen (written in 1791). The selection should be read in full, with background provided on page 874 of our class text. You should also look at the revolutionary document of 1789 that she is “correcting,” called Declaration of the Rights of Man. Olympe de Gouges has the status of women as her main concern. The general context is the French Revolution and the attempts to redefine rights and status once one replaces monarchy.
For the reading selection and topic you choose, your paper should cover the following:
- Briefly introduce the writer and the situation that this reading is about.
- Identify the genre or nature of the reading. (Who is the author; why did he or she write this piece?)
- Using specific examples or lines within the reading, suggest the author’s key views and key aims for the reading audience. (Give a 1–2 paragraph summary of ideas.)
- Describe how the reading impacted you. Think about any similar situations today and key lessons you get from the reading that could be relevant to one’s professional and personal life.