Choose either one of the topics from the critical essay list for a 500-word essay or one of the topics from the creative work list for at least a three-page work of fiction.
Critical Essay Topics
1. Explore the role of the shovel in "Secret City." Be sure to take into account symbolism and foreshadowing.
2. Compare and contrast Sherb McKinney and Abner Snopes. Be sure to examine their attitudes toward their sons and how they were shaped by their war experiences.
3. Assuming that "Secret City" is the opening chapter of a novel, explore how Sherb McKinney already has the markings of a tragic character. Make sure to base your essay on the literary definition of tragedy (not the same as the common, everyday usage). Include in your essay an explanation of what a tragic character is in fiction.
4. What is one or more main theme of "Secret City"? What life lessons does the story suggest for a present-day reader?
Creative Paper Topics
1. Assuming "Secret City" is the first chapter of a novel, write the next chapter.
2. Assuming "Secret City" is the first chapter of a novel, write the final chapter.
Your papers are due at the beginning of class on Thursday, October 14, 2010. Be sure to send me an electronic copy of your paper by email.