Topics (select one): Write an essay in which you analyze the functioning of Apartheid ideology in Mark Behr’s The Smell of Apples. You may wish to focus your essay on a particular aspect of this ideology (e.g., nationalist history and its uses) or a recurrent trope, like the uniform or the copy. Alternatively you might explore the idea of the stereotype in the novel: how are they deployed, repeated, and perhaps exploded in the work? (For this topic, you must be sure to define ideology as you understand and use it in the paper. Althusser’s definition, which we discussed, is a good one.)
Write an essay in which you explore the sexual and gender politics of The Smell of Apples. The Smell of Apples begins and ends with secrets. Write an essay about the recurrent idea of the secret (and related ideas like the closet) in the work. Write an essay on the women characters in The Smell of Apples. Even as the novel explores the workings of a hypermasculinist and militaristic political order, figures like Karla, Ilse, even the poor white girl Glenda Kemp and the servant Doreen are somehow important despite (or because of) their marginalization. Write an essay on this subject.
Write an essay on narrative temporality in The Smell of Apples. What is the effect of the interruptive flash-forwards that occur at various places in the novel? How to they change or amplify our understanding of the events of 1973, on which most of the narration focuses. Write an essay on the idea of history in The Smell of Apples. How does the novel present the relationship between the past and the present? What might it mean for the living to be “trapped in history,” as the narrator suggests in his final lines? Write an essay in which you analyze the functioning of masculinist or sexist ideology in Junot Diaz’s “The Cheater’s Guide to Love.” You may wish to focus your essay on a particular aspect of this ideology or a recurrent trope. Write an essay in which you explore the sexual and gender politics of “The Cheater’s Guide to Love.” You may wish to focus on the narrator or on Elvis, or on Arlenny’s function in the narrative, or on the silence of the narrator’s fiance.
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