Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyze an aspect of your chosen short story (or stories) using at least one of the following types of literary criticism: biographical, historical, gender, Marxist or psychological. (See handout on types of literary criticism for definitions.) The story (or stories) must be in Backpack Literature. For this analysis, you will 1) assert a definite thesis about the chosen aspect of the story that is rooted in one of the above types of literary criticism, and 2) defend this thesis by supplying pertinent evidence from the story AND evidence from at least 2 valid sources. Do not use “I” in this more formal literary analysis paper.
o Biographical – The older characters in “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” represent Hemingway’s personal attitudes and fears
o Historical – Exaggerated view of equality in “Harrison Bergeron” as commentary about government overreach during the Cold War era
o Gender – a feminist approach to Kate Chopin’s works
o Psychological – How Virginia Woolf’s creative process and experiences shaped her writing style
o Marxist – An examination of how characters are affected by social class in “A & P” (Sammy is poor and the story hints the girls are not)
Options: You will have 3 options for approaching this paper:
1) Choose 1 story to analyze
2) Compare/contrast two stories by different authors that share a theme
3) Discuss more than 1 story by the same author (perhaps take a biographical approach in the essay)
Length: This paper should be at least three double-spaced typed pages. It should
contain an introduction paragraph ending in a thesis statement, body
paragraphs that contain evidence from the story to defend the thesis,
and a conclusion paragraph.
Format: This paper should be in MLA Format. There will be a Works Cited page with the story(s) and all other sources used. This does not count toward the 3-page word count.
Resources: At least 2 of your outside sources must come from scholarly databases. You can use the databases from the Hill College library.
Websites with a list of definitions of types of literary criticism: http://home.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/spring97/litcrit.html https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/01/
Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell.
In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.
God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.
Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.
To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.
Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.
Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies, 4(8), 487.
Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.