Could somebody please explain this essay prompt to help me understand it better? Discuss the ideas developed by the text creator in your chosen text about the human need to reconcile the...

Could somebody please explain this essay prompt to help me understand it better? Discuss the ideas developed by the text creator in your chosen text about the human need to reconcile the uncertainties of the past with a new or present situation.

Expert Answers
teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You asked for an explanation of the prompt: 'discuss ideas developed by the text creator in your chosen text about the human need to reconcile the uncertainties of the past with a new or present situation.'

Depending on your particular text, you can use textual evidence to illustrate the main themes of the story. This just means that, if you have finished reading your assigned text, the next step is to determine what the major themes are. Use the themes to illustrate how the author demonstrates the need to reconcile the uncertainties of the past with the present.

Take The Kite Runner, for example. One of the major themes of the novel is betrayal. Early in the novel, Amir betrays Hassan's trust by choosing to do nothing when Hassan is raped by Assef. Later, he callously ignores Hassan's mental and emotional suffering in the aftermath of the rape. Additionally, Amir compounds his betrayal by falsely accusing Hassan of theft. As a result, both Hassan and his father, Ali, are driven from Amir's household.

Another major theme of the novel is redemption. In fact, most of the novel concentrates on Amir's quest to redeem himself from his past failures. He has to prove his manhood to his forbidding father, Baba, as well as make right the wrongs he perpetrated on the faithful Hassan. To do this, Amir must reach into his past, determine his culpability there, and then resolve to choose different paths in his present life. In this story, the protagonist looks back at an uncertain past because he had yet to form his own masculine identity and his own moral values at the time. Now, because of what he has learned from his past, he is able to choose different actions in his present. The human need to reconcile the past with the present is the human need for redemption and closure. The themes of the novel highlight Amir's journey from guilt to redemption.

So, for any text you work with, you can answer your prompt by:

1)establishing the themes of your novel.

2)focusing on a character who has had a troubled and uncertain past, but who chooses to change as time continues.

3)using textual evidence to illustrate moments the author introduces ideas or themes about redemption and closure. For example, is the character hounded by guilt? Like Amir, does he show a change of heart after much internal conflict? Is there evidence to show why the character chooses to act differently in his present? If there is, what is the result of these actions? In essence, show how the character makes peace with an uncertain past by choosing better responses and coping skills in his present.

Hope this helps!

 

 

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, the use of the term "text creator" suggests that you can choose to write about a traditional book, in which the text creator would be the author, or some other genre such as a film, song, or comic. 

Next, since the prompt asks you to choose a text in which a character reconciles past uncertainties with something new, you want to choose a work in which there is a cruThis could be, for example, the revelation of hereditary syphilis in Ibsen's Ghosts or the problem of coping with hereditary madness in Lady Audley’s Secret. Many of Faulkner's works attempt to deal with how the shadow of slavery in the past affects the post-Civil War south. 

In structuring your essay, you should:

  1. Begin with an introductory paragraph briefly summarizing what you will be arguing in the rest of the paper.
  2. Describe the "present" of the work you have chosen including any conflicts or problems in the protagonist's current situation.
  3. Discuss the key elements of the past that affect that situation.
  4. Show how the present situation can only be resolved by coming to terms with the past.