Essay Questions - Emma
Extract Based Questions:
Q1. "To Emma’s confusion of self and other Austen adds many mistaken identities, leading to a situation resembling Shakespearean comedy, as Emma recognizes (…) Mr. Elton thinks he’s courting Emma, who thinks he’s courting Harriet. Emma thinks Harriet is fond of Frank Churchill because of a kindness he did her, when in fact Harriet is fond of Mr. Knightley because of a kindness he did her. Mr. Knightley and the Westons think Emma is fond ofFrank, who has seemed to be courting her; but it is really Jane Fairfax whomFrank loves, and Emma cares not for Frank but for Mr. Knightley. This means that characters often seem to be in the place of someone else and subject to extraordinary exchangeability."
In your view, how does Austen's portrayal of the complex nature of personal experience contribute to the enduring value of her novel? In your response, make detailed reference to the provided extract and Austen's Emma.
Q2. “[…] Emma is spoiled by being the cleverest of her family. At ten years old, she had the misfortune of being able to answer questions which puzzled her sister at seventeen. She was always quick and assured: Isabella slow and diffident. And ever since she was twelve, Emma has been mistress of the house and of you all. In her mother she lost the only person able to cope with her. She inherits her mother’s talents, and must have been under subjection to her.”
It is the inherent tension between intellect and ignorance that creates interest in Austen's Emma. To what extent are such ideas reflected in the above extract and the novel as a whole?
Q3. “[…]But Harriet Smith—I have not half done about Harriet Smith. I think her the very worst sort of companion that Emma could possibly have.She knows nothing herself, and looks upon Emma as knowing every thing.She is a ﬂatterer in all her ways; and so much the worse, because undesigned.Her ignorance is hourly ﬂattery. How can Emma imagine she has any thing to learn herself, while Harriet is presenting such a delightful inferiority? And as for Harriet, I will venture to say that she cannot gain by the acquaintance. Hartﬁeld will only put her out of conceit with all the other places she belongs to. She will grow just reﬁned enough to be uncomfortable with those among whom birth and circumstances have placed her home. I am much mistaken if Emma’s doctrines give any strength of mind, or tend at all to make a girl adapt herself rationally to the varieties of her situation in life.—They only give a little polish.”
An astute commentary on class relations lies at the heart of Austen's Emma. Based on your personal response, account for the importance of this commentary to the novel, making detailed reference to the above extract and the text as a whole.
Q4. 'Emma is about the process of learning to respect other people, to tolerate differences, and to be charitable to others, and it is about the role of misery in the process of education. Although Emma Woodhouse never suffers severe physical pain or loss, in the course of the novel she is required to undergo suffering that contributes to her education, and the kind of pain she endures is the torment of coming to consciousness of her own errors'
To what extent does the above extract influence your understanding of Austen's novel Emma? In your response, discuss the bildungsroman genre of the novel as well as other core aspects of form and features that have influenced your understanding.
Q5. “[…] Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence Ido not want: I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husband’s house, as I am of Hartﬁeld; and never, never could I expect to be so truly beloved and important; so always first and always right in any man’s eyes as I am in my father’s.”
“But then, to be an old maid at last, like Miss Bates!”
“That is as formidable an image as you could present, Harriet; and if I thought I should ever be like Miss Bates! so silly — so satisﬁed — so smiling — so prosing — so undistinguishing and unfastidious — and so apt to tell every thing relative to every body about me, I would marry to-morrow. But between us, I am convinced there never can be any likeness, except in being unmarried.”
Characterisation plays a fundamental role in Austen's Emma. Using the above extract and your knowledge of the novel as a whole, evaluate the importance of characterisation to the enduring significance of Austen's novel.
Theme Specific Questions:
Q6. 'A sharp-eyed observer, Austen presents the follies, pretences and cruelties of people and of society, often with understated and unsparing irony'. To what extent does your personal response to Emma align with this assessment?
Q7. How is your personal response to Austen's Emma shaped by a perception of voice in the novel?.
Q8. Austen's novel Emma is about the quest for individual agency. To what extent does your own interpretation of the text support this view?
Q9. “Literature may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves”
What has Austen's Emma made you more aware of?
Q10. ‘Jane Austen is both famous and notorious for using her writings as a way to cathartically express the challenges associated with living in the Regency Era’. To what extent does your personal response align with this interpretation of Austen’s writing?
Q11. Through its portrayal of relationships, Emma reinforces the significance of personal growth. To what extent does your interpretation of Emma support this view?
Q12. The power of Austen's Emma lies in its representation of the complexities of the human condition. Discuss this view in relation to your own reading of the text.
Q13. Explore how time and place are used in Austen's Emma to shape the audience’s understanding of social inclusion and ostracism. In your response, make detailed reference to the novel as a whole.
Q14. Audience engagement occurs when composers create complex plot lines and develop interesting characters. Explore the roles of at least TWO characters and how they have contributed towards plot development.
Q15. Austen's novel can be clearly seen as a reaction to her relationship with the world in which she lived; yet her work continues to speak to us. In your opinion, how is the regency focus of Austen's novel granted universal appeal?
Q16. In Emma, Jane Austen represents a world which values truth over imagination. Discuss this view in relation to your own reading of the novel.
Q17. Austen's novel is marked by a subversive questioning of the importance of an individual’s place within the order of society. Explore this statement in relation to at least TWO characters.
Q18. Through her most accomplished novel Emma, Jane Austen is challenging accepted understandings of marriage as merely a rational, economic decision. To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Q19. ‘Austen's Emma continues to engage audiences through its aesthetic treatment of struggle and disillusionment.’ In light of your critical study, does this statement resonate with your own interpretation of the novel?
Q20. “A thorough knowledge of Austen is compulsory for anyone interested in contemporary literature. Whether she is liked or disliked is of no importance, but she must be read”. In light of the quote, account for the enduring relevance of Austen's novel Emma.
Q21. Evaluate the effectiveness of Austen’s exploration of the relationship between individuals and their world within her novel. In your response discuss the protagonist Emma and at least one other key character.
Q22. “Through its portrayal of human experience, Austen's novel reinforces the value of individualism over conformity”. To what extent does your interpretation support this view?
Q23. To what extent is your personal response to Eliot’s exploration of isolation shaped by the composer’s use of poetic techniques? In your response, make detailed reference to TWO poems set for study.
Q24. Eliot’s poetry is valued because it explores challenging ideas of uncertainty and alienation. Discuss this statement in light of your understanding of at least TWO of Eliot’s poems.
Q25. “Tension between an individual and society is what creates interest in poetry”. To what extent does this statement reflect your personal response to Hollow Men and ONE other poem.
Q26. Ultimately, in Eliot’s poetry, it is the representation of challenging ideas that captivates audiences. Explore the representation of at least ONE challenging idea, evaluating its significance to at least TWO of the poems.
Q27. Explore how time and place are used in Eliot's poetry to shape the reader’s understanding of man's isolation. In your response, make detailed referent to at least TWO of the poems set for study.
Q28. How is your personal response to the poetry of TS Eliot shaped by a perception of the individual in the poems? In your answer, refer to THREE of the poems set for study.
Q29. “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.”
Explore how this is explicitly revealed in at least TWO of Eliot's poems.
General Essay Questions:
Q30. How have the form and features of Eliot’s poetry informed your understanding of his work?
Q31. “The power of Eliot’s poetry lies in its ability to transcend time and context.” To what extent does your own interpretation of Eliot’s poetry support this view?
Q32. The power of Eliot’s poetry lies in its representation of the complexities of the human condition. Discuss this view in relation to your own reading of Eliot’s poetry.
Q33. Eliot's poetry was deeply concerned with the techniques and aesthetics of poetry writing. How is this evident in TWO of the poems set for study?
Q34. A key aspect of the poetry’s ongoing appeal is Eliot’s use of meaningful structure. In your view, to what extent does the structure contribute to the appeal of Eliot’s poetry? In your response, make detailed reference to at least TWO poems set for study.
Q35. Eliot’s poetry remains important through the questions it provokes, not the answers it provides. Discuss the extent to which you agree with this statement and with close reference to at least two poems
Q36. What do you see as the most enduring aspects of Eliot’s poetry? In your response make detailed reference to at least TWO poems.
Q37. A text has value if it creates opportunities for change, while maintaining its core values. Explore this in relation to at least TWO of Eliot’s poems.
Q38. It is how individuals react to the world around them that reveals the most interesting insights into a text. Explore this in relation to at least TWO of Eliot’s poems.
Q39. Write a critical essay that demonstrates how your response to Eliot’s poetry changed and developed during the process of your critical study.
Q40. Texts on their own are interesting but when you compare them to other texts they become illuminating and dynamic. Discuss how a cumulative study of at least THREE of Eliot’s poems have allowed for a more illuminating and dynamic insight into his work.
Q41. “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”. How has your study of Eliot’s poetry allowed for you to develop a true understanding of the value of his work? In your response, make detailed reference to at least TWO poems set for study.
Q42. “Each decision made by the poet in the construction of their poem will ultimately impact the meaning individuals gain from the text.” In light of this, analyse how the language and structure of Eliot’s poetry has influenced your understanding of at least TWO of his poems.
Q43. “Despite differing responses to texts over time, ultimately it is the structure and features of a text that is most significant in evaluating its success”. Explore the effectiveness of the poetic style of T. S. Eliot’s when evaluating his success as a poet. Refer to at least TWO of the prescribed poems set for study
Q44. Explore the effectiveness of the poetic style of T. S. Eliot’s when evaluating his success as a poet. Refer to at least TWO of the prescribed poems set for study.
Q45. A key aspect of the poetry’s ongoing appeal is Eliot's rejection of structure. In your view, to what extent does the lack of structure contribute to the appeal of Eliot's poetry? Support your evaluation with detailed reference to at least TWO of the poems prescribed for study.
Q46. In your view, how have poetic techniques been used to reveal memorable ideas in Eliot’s poetry? Support your view with detailed reference to TWO poems.
Q47. Your class has been exploring the question, ‘What will continue to make Eliot’s poetry worthy of critical study?’ Your personal response has been challenged by another student. Defend your response through a critical evaluation of at least TWO of Eliot’s poems, analysing the construction, content and language of the texts.
Q48. ‘Interpretations of texts can shift and change with time and place.’
Considering your time and place, reflect on the ways in which context has shaped your critical interpretation of the prescribed text. In your response, refer to TWO poems.
Q49. Compose an argument for or against the topic: ‘That every text has its use-by date.’ Consider your prescribed text’s ideas, language and form, and its reception in different contexts. In your response, refer to at least TWO poems.
Q50. It has been suggested that a key aspect of Eliot’s enduring relevance to audiences is his poetry’s examination of human flaws. To what extent does your personal understanding concur with this view? In your response you should critically analyse and evaluate the techniques, themes and structure of at least TWO poems set for study.
Q51. “An admirable text does not define or exhaust its possibilities”. What possibilities do you see in Eliot’s poetry? Discuss your ideas with close reference to at least TWO poems.
Q52. Anyone can have a good idea. Effective communication of ideas is an art form. Offer an evaluation of the strengths of Eliot’s poetry as an effective vehicle for ideas. In your response, refer to at least TWO poems.
Q53. “Considering a text from different perspectives develops an appreciation of its textual integrity“. Do you agree? Respond to this question through detailed reference to at least TWO of Eliot’s poems.
Q54. Write a series of three or four reflections that demonstrate how your response to Eliot’s poetry has changed and developed during the process of your critical study. Base your reflections on detailed reference to at least TWO poems.
Q55. The value of great texts is that they continue to speak to us. How do such notions account for the value of Eliot’s poetry? In your response, make detailed reference to at least TWO of Eliot’s poems.
Q56. To what extent has your personal response to Eliot’s poetry been shaped by the enduring power of its intellectual and artistic qualities? Support your evaluation with close reference to at least TWO poems set for study.
Q57. Analyse the ways T.S. Eliot has prompted you to understand and respond to great and provocative ideas in his poetry. In your response make detailed reference to TWO poems.
Q58. In what ways has your critical study generated compelling and provocative insights into your text? In your response, make detailed reference to at least TWO poems set for study.
Critical Response Questions:
Q59. How has considering other interpretations of Eliot's poetry helped you develop your own appreciation of the textual integrity of the poetry? In your response you should consider the ideas, poetic techniques and structure of at least TWO poems prescribed for study.
Q60. For almost a century, critical studies of Eliot’s poetry have challenged us with a range of perspectives from which we can read and understand the intense exploration of the humanity which lie at the core of the poems. Write an essay where you discuss what have you come to understand about humanity from Eliot’s poems and explain how has this understanding been affected by the perspective of others.
Q61. A valuable text has something to say and says it well. How valid is this claim, considering the different contexts in which a text can be received? In your answer, compare your personal evaluation of at least TWO of Eliot’s poems with one other perspective on the poetry.