ENGL 358: Research Essay

Length: 2250-2500 words

Due date: TBA

Discuss one of the following topics, or arrive at a topic on your own (subject to my approval).  Your essay must be uploaded to Turnitin via Moodle. 

 Essays must conform to MLA Style.  In an essay of this length, you will refer to 3-5 secondary sources.  Some sources you may refer to only once, while others you may find yourself quoting more frequently. You may use the sources from your library assignment. There is no set number of secondary sources, but 4-6 is a good number.

Remember, I am always happy to discuss your ideas or look over your drafts.


1.   Discuss the connection between violence and masculinity. Why is Okonkwo convinced that violence is the only way to solve his and the Umofia’s problems?  How does Okonkwo’s interpretation of masculinity lead to his downfall?  You may also consider Not Wanted on the Voyage as a text.

2.   Discuss why characters such as Nwoye are attracted to Christianity. 

3.   Compare Okonkwo’s and Obierika’s solutions to their village’s problems. 

4.   Discuss Okonkwo’s daughter Ezinma.  Why does her father wish she were male?  How is she clearly a significant female character in the novel?  

5.   Discuss the many cultural misunderstandings between the Europeans and the Igbo.  How do the colonizers take advantage of these misunderstandings to further secure their authority? 

6.   Using Kincaid’s A Small Place as a starting point, discuss the term “mimicry” in relation to any two characters from any two texts examined in this course.  

7.   Explore Kincaid’s metaphor about rude houseguests paralleling the English intrusion on Antigua. 

8.   Discuss possible significances of Kurtz’s final words, “The Horror, the horror,” explaining how the words illuminate what you consider to be the central theme of the novel. 

9.   Discuss Achebe’s critique of Heart of Darkness.  Is it a credible assessment? 

10. Compare the role of the printing press and the written word in The Long Song.

11.  Discuss July's narrative as a form of postcolonial resistance.

12. Discuss the relationship between patriarchy and colonialism in one or two texts.

13. How can Said's theory of Orientalism understand one or two texts studied in this course?

14 Discuss the relationship between postmodernism and postcolonialism.

15. What is the cultural role of hockey in Indian Horse

16. Using Born a Crime and one other text, discuss the role of child characters/narratives in postcolonial resistance.

17. Discuss Nature as a place of healing in Indian Horse.

18. A topic of your own. 



All grades will be assigned using The King’s University's alpha scale (A+ - F).  Please make copies of your assignments before submission.  Keep all assignments in electronic form (on file or on disk) until the semester is over and you have received your official final grade.  Essays submitted past the due date without medical certificate or a prior arrangement with me will be penalized two letter grades per class day.  No faxed or e-mailed assignments will be accepted.

Academic dishonesty is a serious offence with potentially disastrous consequences, and I intend to hold you to the highest standards of integrity and honesty. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with University policies regarding scholarly ethics and academic integrity (see current King's calendar).

There is a zero tolerance policy and incidents remain permanently on your academic record. Stiff penalties apply for offenders:

•  First offense = automatic zero on the assignment.

•  Second offense = automatic failure of the course.

•  Subsequent offense = convening of Discipline Committee with power to recommend penalties up to and including expulsion from the University.

Please discuss with me any concerns you may have regarding your research or other matters. I will also address plagiarism and proper citation methods throughout the semester, and post information on our website.