Themes & topics
Listed below are the topics, but of course you’ll need to endow your chosen topic with a strong thesis or argument. Unlike the forums, where you write the responses primarily for the purpose of exposition, the essays should include strong conceptualization and analysis in addition to evidence. See the Rubric for Writing for more.
Those of you that had me before know that I normally offer 6–12 topics in a prompt. This one is an exception due
to the brevity and denseness of these texts. That said, I am very much open to a different topic from you. Make
sure, however, to see me or at least email me what topic or argument you have in mind.
1. J. Alfred Prufrock’s self-doubt, insecurities, and anxieties. Analyze different kinds of insecurity and anxiety
experienced by Prufrock and interpret what this experience says about his life. One way to approach the
analysis is to set up categories of anxiety: e.g., anxiety about his body, anxiety about aging, anxiety about
death, sexual anxiety, anxiety about women, anxiety about loneliness, anxiety about the urban environment,
2. Abraham in Attunement vs. Abraham the Knight of Faith. For this essay, explain and analyze Abraham as
described in the four scenarios of Attunement then contrast him to the Abraham that is the Knight of Faith.
There are different ways of writing on this topic, and here’s an example. Begin the essay with an account of
the Knight of Faith and conceptualize the qualities and requirements for the Knight of Faith. Using your
conceptualization, you can analyze the first scenario in Attunement and argue that the Abraham there falls
short of the Knight of Faith. Then go the next scenario, then the third one, then the last one. Then offer one
or more insights that you draw from the analysis.
3. The tragic hero & the knight of faith. This is a variation of the previous topic, but it moves beyond Abraham
to focus on more theoretical archetypes in Kierkegaard’s view. The tragic hero operates within the
framework of the ethical and the universal. The knight of faith, on the other hand, is characterized by an
absolute relation to the absolute (God) as a single individual. The tragic hero may make a movement
towards resignation, but the knight of faith makes a further movement towards the absurd. Analyze these
and other differences between them, and offer one or more insights by the end of your analysis.
Themes & topics