EPICAC by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Cockroaches by Bruno Schulz
Axolotl by Julio Cortázar
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
"Introduction to Absurd Drama" by Martin Esslin (online)
"The Imagery Museum of Samuel Beckett" by Raymond Federman (online)
"Essay on Waiting for Godot" by Michael Sinclair (online)
Directions: Develop your own specific topic based on either an expressive,
objective, or persuasive approach to the assigned readings. Your paper should
engage both of the assigned readings in some depth. Research to supplement your
own commentary is strictly optional, but if you do include researched material
from a source other than our textbook, you are responsible for documenting it
correctly using MLA style parenthetical documentation.
These notes are meant
to be suggestive, not exclusive.
Write a commentary that substantively explores your response to the unconventionality
of Waiting for Godot. You can discuss the ways in which the play met or defied
your expectations, as well as how you understood the purpose or "meaning"
of the play. You can discuss the impact or relevance of the play's dialogue,
characters, situations, or imagery. You can explore the significant ways in
which Waiting for Godot either does or does not resonate with your understanding
of the human condition.
Develop a paper that analyzes or interprets the meaning of one or more works
- Write a comparative
- Trace the development
of a common theme through both works.
- Present an objective
interpretation of one or both works.
- Write a thematic
analysis of one or both works.
- Write a critique
of one or both works.
Identify the ambiguity in at least one of the works on the reading list
and then argue for a particular interpretation. Acknowledge other interpretations
but prove, by your close analysis of details in the text, that your interpretation
is a strong one. Argue for a particular reading of one or more of the works
- Write an interior
monologue from the point of view of something not human.
- Write a dramatic
scene based on at least two of the characters from the readings. You can use
the same characters or invent new ones, as long as they're inspired by or
related to the characters we observed in the readings. Include set description,
character description, dialogue, and stage directions.
and Persuasive Topic Suggestions
Waiting for Godot to traditional drama. How is Waiting for Godot "unconventional"?
In what ways does it frustrate audience expectations?
- Read Martin
Esslin's essay on "Absurd Drama" (online). Analyze the ways in which
Waiting for Godot fits his description of absurd drama.
- Trace the existential
elements in Waiting for Godot.
the theme of suffering in Waiting for Godot to "Axolotl" and "Cockroaches."
the anthropomorphic elements in "EPICAC," "Axolotl," and
- Analyze the
mythic overtones in Waiting for Godot. What do you infer from the various
biblical references in the play?
- Define "nihilism"
and "existentialism" and argue for an interpretation of the play
based on your understanding of these concepts.
- Define "postmodernism"
and argue for an interpretation of the play based on your understanding of
- Define "abstract
expressionism" and argue for an interpretation of the play based on your
understanding of this concept.