Given the following question, discuss what you think is expected in a potential answer: What has made France the great nation she is?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that if your instructor has certain points in mind when composing this essay, it might be good to pay attention to those over any other points.  It doesn't seem like you are allowed the question the basis of the essay prompt, but I certainly think that this is a good point to raise in your assessment of the topic.  If I were to compose an essay outside of knowing what has been discussed in class and could not debate the merit of the prompt, itself, I would point to a couple of elements that might assist in writing.  The first would actually be that I think that the French carry with it an intellectual and philosophical tradition that rivals some of the best out there.  Any nation that can boast the likes of Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Constant, de Tocqueville, Foucault, Sartre, and de Beauvoir is fairly impressive.  Certainly, the French political and philosophical tradition would be one reason why France could be considered great.  The development of tourism through culture would be another reason that could be argued as testament to its greatness.  The Louvre is just one of many that exist in France and represent some of the finest collections of art known to all humanity.  Paris, as a city, is representative of some of the most Romanticized notions of the good.  I can think of no other city that has served as a backdrop to some of the most Romantic conceptions.  The notion of being a student backpacking through Paris has allure to many a college student.  The French tradition of being representative of the very best in class and taste is something that French people believe is an entitlement to their own culture, so perhaps this could be pointed to, as well.  In a more modern context, the French standard of education as well as its public access to health care might be elements to point out as reasons for its believed greatness on a domestic level.