ENG 4U - Unit 2 Seminar Topics

ENG 4U - Unit 2
The Power of Art and the Role of the Artist
Seminar Topics
1. Drawer Boy: Examine the play in terms of what it might teach us about the importance of
story and storytelling in our lives – how the characters themselves are affected by the
performances they see and by the stories they tell and retell.
2. "Art is coming face to face with yourself" (Jackson Pollock). Choosing at least two works
from the unit, demonstrate how the works of art force us to confront our true selves or encourage
us to look at ourselves as we really are, rather than who we wish to be.
Possible titles for consideration:
"The Story"
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
"Glory in the Flower"
"The Night Face Up"
"Lancelot on a Bicycle"
3. "A Girl's Story": Examine the story in terms of the postmodern movement (you will need to
do some preliminary research on the movement). Using examples from the story, explain what
characteristics of the movement are present in the story.
4. Compare two works in terms of what each has to say about the challenges, frustrations, and
potential pitfalls of being an artist, and a writer in particular.
Possible titles:
"Constantly risking absurdity and death"
"It's all real, but it's not all true"
"There Was Once"
"betting on the muse"
"eagle's work"
"The Man with the Blue Guitar".
5. Examining both "Snapshot: Lost Lives of Women" and the selection from "The One and the
Many", compare the links that are made between photograph(s) and text. Consider the very
different circumstances under which the photographs and texts are linked. In what ways does the
text comment upon the photograph or add to our understanding of the photograph? Consider the
ways in which photographs are deceptive. To help you with this question, you might consider
Margaret Atwood's comments about photographs on page 51.
6. Explore the importance of the imagination in our lives and/or the consequences of its absence.
Consider the excerpt from Brave New World, the excerpt from The Closing of the American
Mind, or the essay, "The Purposes of Fantasy".
7. Artists often reveal truths about society, showing the ugliness or the value of societal
institutions and mores in their works. Using examples from at least two of the works in this unit,
show how the authors provide critical social commentary.
Possible titles for consideration:
"Going to the Moon"
"Puce Fairy Tale"
"Forget Prince Charming"
"Ode on a Grecian Urn"
"The Marriage Proposal"
"The Goblet"
8. Much of the work in this unit focuses on the dichotomy between permanence and
impermanence. Discuss how this theme is presented and the issues it raises in a minimum of two
of the works in this unit.
Possible titles include:
The Drawer Boy
"Lady of Shallot"
"Diverse Causes"
"Ode on a Grecian Urn"
"A Valediction Forbidding Mourning"
"Sailing to Byzantium"