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At the completion of our third unit, we will have explored a variety of texts about love (or its pitfalls) – Sappho’s fragments, Sophocles’ Antigone, Voltaire’s Candide, Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, and a small selection of erotic poems. Each of these texts expresses ancient, classical, pre-modern and modern ideas about love, desire, loss, destiny, absurdity, religion, and numerous other themes.
Drawing on your reading of each of these texts and our class discussions, answer only one of the questions below in an essay that does not exceed 6 pages. Use specific examples to support your written observations.
Note: You can choose any texts that you are familiar with to write about. And I can provide you with them.
1. Drawing on some of our older texts and some modern ones (using specific examples from three texts), would you say attitudes about love have mostly changed over time or stayed the same?
2. Using specific examples and themes from the poetry we’ve read this unit (Song of Songs, Sappho, Catullus) define what makes a text “erotic.”
3. Using specific examples from three of our unit texts, discuss themes related to marriage or family values. How do these values change over time in some ways, yet stay the same in others?
4. Our two novels from this unit (Cat’s Cradle and Candide) describe instances of bad love. Using specific examples and themes from each of those texts, discuss how love was a destructive force. Or was it really love, after all?