I need help writing an essay comparing the ways in which Othello, The Scarlet Letter and A Streetcar Named Desire present the effects of time on the individual in society and how irony directs...

I need help writing an essay comparing the ways in which Othello, The Scarlet Letter and A Streetcar Named Desire present the effects of time on the individual in society and how irony directs attention to their predicament.

Asked on by noirlee

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The reason this is such a complicated essay to write is that it seems to lack focus and rationale. There seems no inherent logic to the selection of books, two plays and a novel from very different periods with quite different themes and perspectives, and no obvious connection between those books and the notion of time or irony. The phrase "effects of time on the individual in society" is puzzling; it may refer to social attitudes towards aging but may not. As it is, the essay will be very difficult to write at all, and probably impossible to write well; if one of my students proposed an essay on this topic, I would urge them to rethink the topic. The more clearly focused a topic, the better the eventual essay.

For time, you could invoke it as and interplay between cultural traditions and the situation of the characters. In terms of cultural tradition, all three of these novels include some failures of romances or marriages that violate older, more established cultural traditions. Othello is crossing racial boundaries in his marriage, violating Venetian tradition. Hester commits adultery, violating her community's religious traditions. Blanche is part of an older southern tradition that is at odds with her present life and relationships. Thus you could look at social change over time as removing the stable grounds for human relationships; without the bedrock of social conventions to support them, relationships founder.

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