Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mid-Term Topics

Following the Mid-Term essay criteria posted on the course website, here are the topics from which you chose one.
  1. A dialogic novel is contradistinct to the polemical or didactic novel: a dialogic text avoids a single strong moral position and instead presents two or more opposing positions in dialogue with each other. In a polemic novel, the favoured position is decided by the author; in a dialogic novel, the reader makes his or her own decision. (The difference here is also described as being between polyphonic --'many-sounded'--and monologic--'one-speech'--texts.) Explain whether in your critical judgement Douglas Coupland's Hey Nostradamus! is a dialogic or a polemical novel.
  2. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and Anne Rice's Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana antithetically represent Christianity in relation to what Brown terms "the Sacred Feminine." Using an analysis of the text on that subject alone, and avoiding any polemic of your own in your essay, argue which one best meets and which one fails to meet Plato's requirement for Truth.
  3. Examine the differing degrees to which the first balanced pair of course essays--A.C. Grayling's versus A.N. Wilson--use argumentum ad populam in their opposing arguments on religion. Make clear your awareness of the fact detailed in lecture that fallacies are flaws in logic but often values in polemical effectiveness. Note that this topic is a very effective means of ensuring that your own essay work in this course (including on the Final Exam) is soundly formed rhetorically and dialectically.

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