Practice essay topics

1. "A happy ending is not necessarily the only way to end a novel nor is it always satisfying." Discuss this claim with extensive reference to the set novel you've recently read.

2. An historical novel must use the facts of history as its setting. So how can it claim to be fiction? Discuss.

3. Developing interest in characters at the expense of setting or plot can distort the clear communication of a novel's theme. Discuss.

4. Developing a linear plot line is the author's first concern in writing a conventional novel. But interest comes from other elements in a novel too. Identify sources of interest in a recent novel you read in class.

5. Some turning points seem to be inevitable while others strike the individual like a bolt of lightning. Identify and discuss turning points in a novel you recently read as a way to assess the novel's success.

6. Significant people are often catalysts of personal growth. Did you find this true in your reading recently?

7. No matter how brutal his environment, an appealing individual will find something in it to nourish and sustain personal growth.

8. A novel has more force and relevance if it challenges the reader's assumptions about his or her own society. Discuss.

9. A novel can be best understood only within its cultural setting. A culture's settings, customs, institutions, mindsets, motivations and symbols are all grist to the novelist's mill.

10. An historical novel can bring history to life much more than a history book ever can. Agree? Why?

11. 2 Jan 1999 Do you have a map of Peter Brownrigg's travels around England, if not do you think you could make one? Kofi

12. The most interesting element of any piece of fiction is the way conflict is resolved.

13. To understand a character better, it helps to imagine what has happened to that person before the story began.

14. Fiction is more rewarding when it deals with issues that are relevant to our contemporary world.

15. In the best novels or short stories, the setting is vital in establishing and maintaining atmosphere.

16. Often apparently minor incidents in a text prove, in the end, to be the most significant.

17.A: I only like texts that have an important message for the reader.

B: They bore me!

18. A reader cannot cope with unrelenting tension: contrasting scenes are often used to introduce important developments.

19. I find myself most involved with characters whose dreams and fears are closest to my own.

20. Even in the best novel the audience will not realise how tightly controlled the plot development is and yet it will seem that the order of events could be organised in no other way.

21. From Michelle Yaghmai: I noticed that you had a character profile for Peter. I'm doing a project on Cue for Treason and I was wondering if you had a character profile for Kit.

22. What were the mistakes that Peter made? Sun, 14 Feb 1999 From: Brent_Schulte See my reply.

23. Peter Brownrigg is an ordinary-person story-teller. How well does this device serve Trease's purpose in Cue for Treason?

24. The historical fiction genre opens new windows on the past.How successful was Cue for Treason as historical fiction?

25. How well did you enjoy Cue for Treason? Why?

26. "More than a history, an historical novel humanises the characters .. Humanising a character lets us see through their eyes, feel through their feelings and think their thoughts. Their understanding of a fictional world contributes greatly to our understanding of that period in history. Give me a novel any time." How true did you find these statements after reading Cue for Treason? 27.

27. Was Philip Morton's ruthless spirit shared by all conspirators? Explain (chapter 16)
From: Brent_Schulte 18 Feb 1999.
28. Discuss the manner in which the author supplies his vivid description of the trip from London to Cumberland without losing interest of the reader (chapter 14.) From Brent_Schulte 1999.

29.Aside from the conspiracy to assassinate the queen, what further evidence of Sir Philip's utter ruthlessness do we meet in chapter 16?

30. What were the mistakes Peter made? What was the setting of the story? What does the area look like around where Peter lives?

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