For the first paper, choose one of the three stories we have covered so far in class: “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, or “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison.
The assignment is to analyze the protagonist of the story in terms of the concept of Round Character. You should begin your essay with the following sentence: According to Meyer, round characters “often display the inconsistencies and internal conflicts found in most real people” (Meyer 1155). In order to write this paper, you need to know the story well by reading it multiple times. Read it once for pleasure and then go through it carefully, marking all of the passages which are relevant to the theme of round character (i.e., those passages which reveal inconsistencies and inner conflicts). It is also a good idea to reflect on how your own experiences of inner conflicts are similar or different from those of the protagonist of the story. Connect to the story and read yourself into it.
Some possible topics are:
1) Allegory and Round Character in “Young Goodman Brown”
2) Psychology and Round Character in “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
3) Unreliable Narrator and Round Character in “Battle Royal.”
The paper should be written in the form of an argument. As Meyer puts it, “argumentation requires that you present your interpretation of a work (or a portion of it) by supporting your discussion with clearly defined terms, ample evidence, and a detailed analysis of relevant portions of the text.”
The paper should also be divided into clearly delineated paragraphs. In the introductory paragraph, introduce and define your terms, introduce the story and author, explain the connection between the term and the story, and conclude with your thesis statement. As Meyer puts it, “The thesis is a complete sentence…that establishes the topic of the essay in clear, unambiguous language and suggest a concluding interpretation” (Meyer 1172).