Write a research paper on the Death of Ivan Ilyich

Midterm Essay

You should have at least five pages of TEXT, excluding the works cited page. In these essays, you will make a specific, interpretive argument about one or two works of literature, and to offer textual evidence in support of your interpretation in the context of current, relevant research (five credible, academic secondary sources). I have placed sample papers and guidelines on Canvas and encourage you to consult them sooner rather than later. I also encourage you to speak to me about your papers at any stage in the composing process. Use MLA format, and Times New Roman or Arial 12 pt. font.

Papers are due on the dates announced. If some extreme circumstance will prevent you from turning in a paper on time, we can usually work out a short extension, but you must speak to me in advance of the due date. Papers that come in late will be graded down a full letter grade for every 24-hour period they are overdue. Computer “crashes,” printer glitches, etc., do NOT excuse late papers. Please note that any student who plagiarizes–that is, who violates the boundaries of honest writing by presenting others’ work as his or her own–will get a “zero” for the essay and may fail the entire course. Given available new technologies, plagiarism is very easy to detect and prove. Avoid it at all costs.

Below are questions you might consider developing into essay topics. You don’t HAVE to use these questions, but you may. Be sure to clear alternative topics with me before you begin to research. You can also develop one of your weekly reading responses into this first paper if you wish. You must write about at least one work that we’ve read during the first part of the trimester, but you may bring in other works as well.

Possible Topics/Questions

Your essay should respond to one of the following questions. Consult me before choosing an alternate topic, or I will not accept your essay:

The Death of Ivan Ilyich
1. Why does Tolstoy present the story through the eyes of an omniscient narrator? What is the effect of this presentation
2. Discuss the significance of the title. If the work professes to be about Ivan’s death, why is it almost entirely dedicated to Ivan’s life?
3. How is the fact that Gerasim is a peasant important to understanding his character and worldview?
4. Why is Ivan’s method of dealing with life’s unpleasantness ultimately unsuccessful?
5. According to the text, why is it important to acknowledge one’s own mortality?

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