So you need to write a good paper on literature, right? Well, there are so many subjects in this field to choose from, that I wouldn’t blame you if you currently feel overwhelmed by the assignment. Here’s my advice for how to find great topic ideas:
Let’s start with the obvious: you should pick a book that you’ve read as the basis for your essay. It should also be a work of literature that you are both passionate about and that you are very familiar with- not only in terms of the story itself, but also with a broad awareness of the literary commentary that’s been written about it and various points of view held. This latter part can- and should- be performed once you’ve chosen your subject, but the more you know before hand, the better. If you have passion and knowledge of your subject, this will be quite clear to the reader of your essay, and will therefore engage them much more.
Once you’ve selected the work, you need to know which theme you are going to use as your essay basis. Let us say you have chosen William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Do you wish to discuss it from sociological, psychological or moralistic points of view? Are you most interested in one character? Has our understanding of human behavior improved since the book was written and how can we apply that understanding to the novel?
Ask your own questions before you come up with a specific topic- and, of course, make sure that there are plenty of sources for you to cite in relation to your standpoint.
It’s most certainly worth checking out other essays to see what subjects have been chosen and how they have been handled.
If you search online, you will find an abundance of topic suggestions. However, the best place to look is probably in your campus library. There will be a plethora of past essays to peruse.
If you have chosen your broad topic but are having difficulty with forming the right specific angle, then have a chat with your teacher. They will be only too pleased to help (after all, they want you to succeed, you know!) and they may even be able to point you in the right direction of a source that you were unaware of and which encapsulates the line of enquiry you wish to take.
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