Choosing one of the topics listed below, write a 6-page comparison essay based on your own

interpretation of the stories. Support your interpretation with specific evidence drawn from the

texts of the stories themselves, and from a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 secondary

sources. These must be scholarly sources: your grade will reflect the quality of your source


Your research may focus on any ideas—psychological, historical, sociological or literary—

pertinent to the issues being explored in these stories. Since this is a short paper, confine your

analysis to no more than three or four major points, so that you are able to explain your ideas

about both stories thoroughly.

Format your comparison of the two stories in point-by-point format, rather than block format.

This means that you will be discussing both stories in each section of your paper.

Any sources you consult MUST be cited. Use MLA style to document any quotations,

paraphrases, or examples drawn from the stories and reference materials.



1. Explore and compare the phenomenon of “initiation” or “coming of age” as it is presented in

two of the works we’ve studied. Possible approaches to this topic might be as follows:

a) Is “coming of age” or initiation a “one-time thing,” or can it occur multiple times?

b) What are the challenges or obstacles (social or personal) that might face a character on the

brink of an initiation?

c) What might be the price of initiation? Do the benefits outweigh the cost, or not?

d) What might be the consequences of never having actually “come of age”?

2. Explore the significance of psychological trauma as it is demonstrated in two of the works

studied this term. Include in your discussion the idea of the “coping strategies” that people

develop when under stress, and how these strategies may have both positive and negative


3. In two of the stories covered this term, investigate how the authors present problems related

to the presence and operation of power dynamics in personal and social relationships.

4. When rigid ideologies, worn-out social conventions, and/or overly romantic or narrowly

rational outlooks dominate interpersonal relationships, individuals and even whole communities

can suffer. Discuss this in relation to two of the stories we’ve discussed this term.

5. In many of the stories we’ve read, the writers work in a very purposeful way with narrative

perspective to reveal information about different characters, events, themes, and even the 

narrator of the story. Explore the effectiveness and significance of point of view and narrative

voice in two of the works we’ve studied this term

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