Sample Critical Thinking On World Literature Questions
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William Blake is considered a Romantic writer for the following three reasons. First, Blake’s poetry makes us feel powerful emotions. For example, in the “Chimney Sweeper” poem Blake wants us not only to understand the social, grim reality of the young boys who die early deaths as chimney sweeps in London, but also to feel as they feel. Blake shows us the boys’ naivete about their fates that they will be happy and singing, even despite the miserable reality of the poor working conditions. The second reason Blake is a Romantic writer is that his poetry glorifies the innocence of humanity’s natural state before the corrupting influence of society. This Romantic tendency is best seen in his collection of poems entitled Songs of Innocence and Experience. The first half of the book depicts poetry of happiness and being in one with nature, especially in childhood, while the second half of the book shows how experience, and the coming of age of the child into an adult comes with it a removal from nature’s natural goodness. And finally, William Blake is a Romantic poet because his work is spontaneous, and is not written in the rigid style of a Shakespearean sonnet. Romantic writing is the combination of emotion, a natural state of man, and the spontaneity and freedom that come from making something beautiful.
Ibsen’s play Hedda Gabler portrays Hedda as different from the other female characters in the play in the following ways. First, Hedda is very cunning. She does not accept her role in society in the way that other women in the story do. For example, Juliane is more interested in Hedda having a baby. The second way, which Hedda is different from the other women in the play, is that she has a tragic flaw. In all great works of theater, especially in tragedies, the main protagonist has a flaw that ends up being his or her downfall. For Hedda, her tragic flaw is not only does she not accept her societal role, but also she thinks that by placing herself in the presence of powerful men will make her happy. The reason Hedda’s tragic flaw ends up being her undoing is that she is never satisfied. She kills herself at the end of the story, not because she is crazy, but because she realizes that the world she lives in will never fully satisfy her desires. The other women in the play have adjusted to both society’s demands and have found ways to be happy, or at least content.
In James Joyce’s “The Dead,” symbolism is used to point out relevant social and political issues. First, speeches and letters are symbols of not being able to be understood or head. We think of speeches as being the best way to communicate, but when Gabriel gives his glorious speech on Ireland he ends up deeply upsetting Miss Ivor. In the story, the instruments of language are symbols of how we are unable to communicate or to understand one another. Gabriel does not realize that his wife actually loved the young boy who died so many years ago, but at the same time, he is part of an educated Irish elite and has been brought up to be erudite, but ironically, the message is that his erudition has not made him very wise.
French ideas of liberty, as we saw in the readings, are very different from American ideals of Liberty. First, in the French view, liberty is seen as something that will achieve something. For example, the liberty acquired as a right, makes us better as a society because we are more free to pursue higher goods. In the American view, liberty is seen as wanting to be freed from something, namely the Colonial rule of Britain. How are these different views of liberty similar? The way the American and French view of liberty are similar is that both see two aspects of liberty that are part and parcel of the same phenomenon. We are always seeking freedom from something in order to do something else. I want to be freed from the obligations of school work so that I can focus on my hobbies. But the freedom to entertain a hobby gives me a greater awareness of my skills.
Mazzini thought that by unifying the Italian states he could quell rebellion and establish the old in the new. We sort of think of the idea of nations as always being around, but people like Mazzini, in their very modern concept of the Nation-state, have shaped what mean when we talk about nationalism. Nationalism, in this sense, is about “Risorgimento,” bring together, to make the rise again, what makes a people great. Mazzini thought that by bringing together the disparate Italian states, the nation of Italy would be brought together and made to rise again from the ashes. He thought that unification was good for one very important reason. What scared him was the rise of rebellion in Europe. He wanted to keep the rebellion at bay so he thought that unification would be the best way to prevent rivalries and to keep everyone happy.
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