English 346--Some possible topics for assignment #1

1. The dramatic structure--beginning, middle, end, or passage between resolution and tension--of a chapter or subchapter, and its relation to the pattern of the whole work.

2. A comparison and contrast between characters or relationships--within one or more stories. For example, Nathan Marx and Neil Klugman or Nathan Marx and Ozzie Freedman.

3. The theme of rebellion and authority--"Freedman" and "Binder" in one or more stories.

4. The exploitation, exploration and challenge of ethnic stereotypes in one or more stories.

5. The nature of Jewish identity in Roth.

5a. Minority vs. mainstream identity in Roth’s protagonists.

5b. Jewish ritual, lore, and custom--valued and devalued.

6. The settings of city and suburb in "Goodbye Columbus" and "Eli the Fanatic."

7. Funny passages: Phillip Roth’s comedy and how they work.

8. Roth’s descriptions of religious or psychological ecstasy and transformation.

9. Roth’s treatment of the question, "Who am I?"

10. Roth’s use of dialect and dialogue to create humor and dramatic interest.

11. The effect of Hitler's holocaust on Roth's characters.

12. Similarities and differences between the narrator of "Why Care" and one of Roth's characters.

13. The interplay between "ethnic" and "American" in the development personal identity--in you or somebody you know well.

14. A painting or drawing or construction depicting a climactic moment in one of the Goodbye Columbus stories, emphasizing the significance of light, color, intensity, and spatial relationship.

15. A song or musical composition expressing Eli's feelings in the presence of the Greenie (280-281) or his outfit (284-285).

16. The significance of Biblical allusions in characters' names.

17. The adoption of other people's suffering in Shindler's List and "Eli the Fanatic"