Evaluating & Analyzing 20th Century English Literature: Essay Prompts

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  • 0:00 Evaluating & Analyzing…
  • 0:54 Writing Prompts
  • 2:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Practice evaluating and analyzing turn-of-the-century and modernist literature with this lesson. Five short writing prompts are given to help you increase your skills in relation to these two chapters found in our English 101 course.

Evaluating & Analyzing Literature

One way to make sense out of complicated material is to evaluate and analyze texts through writing. These high-level skills require you to think about what you read critically, and go beyond simple 'who and what' ideas. Like most other skills, the way to get better is to practice. That's where writing prompts come in.

The following short answer prompts are designed to help you analyze the important ideas found in the works you read about in the Turn-of-the-Century Literature and Modernism in English Literature sections. Review these sections if necessary to brush-up on key ideas and concepts. Remember, the following questions don't just involve simple recall or summarizing a plot and identifying the main characters, but rather your analysis of literature. Imagine that your audience is already familiar with the text and avoid summarizing text in your answers.

Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt #1

Choose one work from the section Turn-of-the-Century Literature section and describe how themes of fear, vanity, and oppression connect to the author's personal struggle. For example, you may choose Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and describe the role of fear plays in the novel, then connect it to Conrad's personal life.

Writing Prompt #2

Review the Modernism in English Literature section and choose one selection. Discuss the use modern literary devices in your choice. For example, how are literary devices, such as foreshadowing, metaphors or imagery, used in James Joyce's Ulysses? Brush up on these devices with the lesson Literary Devices: Definition & Examples lesson.

Writing Prompt #3

E.M. Forster often used his novels in an attempt to break down ideas of class. Choose one novel he wrote and describe how Forster explores this issue as well as how it contributes to the plot as a whole. Include a description of how you related to the characters in the novel.

Writing Prompt #4

Think about the poets from the Turn-of-the-Century section and consider their language and composition styles. Describe both and the impact each had on the overall work.

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