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.
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
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
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
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
23. Peter Brownrigg is an ordinary-person story-teller. How well
does this device serve Trease's purpose in Cue for
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
- 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
29.Aside from the conspiracy to assassinate the queen, what
further evidence of Sir Philip's utter ruthlessness do we meet in
30. What were the mistakes Peter made? What was the setting of the
story? What does the area look like around where Peter lives?
Back toMain Menu
Webmaster G B
Revised December 2007