Topics for Further Study

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  • Although dreams are generally thought not to be real in themselves, they have often had the power to transform reality. Choose two works from the following list and write an essay discussing the way in which dreams recounted in those works transform the course of reality when they are heeded or fail to do so when they are unheeded: the Joseph story in the book of Genesis, Chaucer's poem The Book of the Duchess, Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, Charles Dickens's novel A Christmas Carol, or the original 1962 version of the film The Manchurian Candidate, directed by John Frankenheimer.
  • The poet William Wordsworth wrote that "the Child is father of the Man." Compose a dialogue between King Basilio and his son, Segismundo, in which they argue about the truth of Wordsworth's observation.
  • Read Lope de Vega's play Fuente ovejuna (The Sheep Well) and write an essay comparing and contrasting it with Life Is a Dream.
  • Write a short story in which a dream plays a significant role in determining the attitude of at least one of the characters in the story.
  • Keep a bedside journal in which you record all your dreams every day for a week. At the end of the week, write an analysis of your dreams, describing the themes, imagery, characters, settings, plots, sensations, and anything else you think is noteworthy about your dreams.
  • Research the way plays were staged in Spain and in England in the late 1500s and early 1600s and write an essay in which you show the similarities and differences.

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