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March by Geraldine Brooks

Length Requirement: 1875-2000 words (1875 minimum, approximately 5-6 pages)

Source Requirement: In addition to March, find at least two sources that help you develop your essay response to one of the questions below. The sources could be specifically about the novel or they could be about the context or philosophy of the novel, such as on the topic of slavery, the abolition of slavery, feminism, the historical time period, the South, the Civil War, et cetera. You may use those as sources for your paper or research other credible sources through the library databases or online. Cite and document all sources, as well as the novel in your paper.

Choose one of the following topics based on March by Geraldine Brooks:
1.) What are March’s, Marmee’s, Clement’s, and Grace’s views on education? How do their views compare / contrast to current views of education?
2.) Write an essay discussing 1-2 (two maximum) of the following themes in March. What does the novel say about these concepts? Be sure to include close readings of passages that reveal or hint at the author’s views about the themes you are tracing. Consider themes such as 1) Abolition, 2) Racial bigotry, 3) Slavery, 4) Traditional roles of Nineteenth Century women, 5) Father-daughter relationships, 6) Obligation to morals and beliefs vs. obligation to family, 5) Fidelity, 6) Marriage, 7) Stress of war on family, 8) Self-Discovery, 8) Survivor guilt.
3.) Does March, the protagonist, change through the course of the novel? If so, trace the progress of this change through these detailed stages: a. the original situation of the protagonist (include the initial possibilities of later disequilibrium) b. the precipitating event (or series of events) which begins to involve the protagonist in a central tension c. the alternative types of action which are available to the protagonist as his involvement intensifies d. the major steps that intensify the involvement. Show how each step advances the involvement, and how it changes the relative strength of the alternatives. e. the crisis. Show what event precipitates the crisis and how. f. the resolution. Show what event breaks the crisis and how.
4.) Study the character of March, the protagonist, focusing specifically on his moral structure: a. To what degree is his moral stature defined by contrasting minor characters, by the testimony of characters who are readily acceptable as witnesses? b. Discuss the protagonist’s inclinations to specific virtues and vices, his powers or handicaps with relation to those virtues and vices. c. Discuss one or two important actions in which his moral stature is apparent.
5.) In retrospect, the reader often discovers that the first chapter of a novel or the opening scene of a drama introduces some of the major themes of the work. Write an essay about the first chapter of March in which you explain how it functions in this way. Be sure to do a close reading of the first chapter and link it to other passages in the novel that develop the themes that are first touched upon in Chapter 1.
6.) Feminist Issues: For this topic, do some research about feminist issues. Then write about the feminist concerns within the novel. You may want to focus on relationships between women, on the options available for women, how women are portrayed with the novel, how the characters treat women, or other concerns about women that are evident in the novel.


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