I have a final project in my English 321 class and one of prompts available to us was to make a lesson plan! I decided to focus on the British Restoration Period and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. These are the essay topics I would give if it was a real lesson plan:
- Choose one land in Gulliver’s Travels. Who/what does Swift critique within the land and/or people? Write a 2-4 page analysis of the satire within Gulliver’s Travels using examples and quotes from the land and people inside the novel.
- Gulliver changes throughout this novel and in each land he seems to take on a new persona. How does his character in the first few voyages compare to his last one? What do you think of Gulliver? Write about his development in a well-written 2-4 page analysis. Make sure to include quotes and examples to support your ideas.
- You are living in the Restoration/Augustan time period in Britain and come across Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. You decide to buy the book and give it to your neighbor as a gift. Your neighbor later finds you and tells you his opinion of the book. Using your knowledge of the historical background in the Restoration/Augustan Era, what would your neighbor’s reaction to the book be? Write a 2-4 page paper on your neighbor’s reaction to Gulliver’s Travels and be sure to use examples and quotes to back up your claim.
Hint: You are allowed to make up details of your fictional neighbor: is he in a political positon, and if so is he a Whig or Torie? Is he part of the Protestant reform? Remember, all of these factors would influence his view on the book. This is the hardest prompt and requires the most creativity; papers that attempt this prompt will be given extra consideration.
- Choose any one satirical element embedded within Gulliver’s Travels and write a 2-4 page in-depth analysis of it, using different examples and quotes from different parts and lands of the book.
- The Houyhnhnms are controversial creatures. Some believe Swift includes them in his novel to portray the ideal human society while others believe Swift uses them to show exactly how society should not be. What do you think? Does their treatment of the Yahoos affect your view? Using quotes and passages from the book, write a 3-4 page paper argument to support your view. (This is an opinion piece, so you may write in first person tense.)
So what I have noticed throughout all my high school and college English classes is that there is one prompt that always sucks. Like seriously, there is just one topic that no one would choose unless they were crazy! However, I feel like teachers give extra points to the students who are crazy enough to attempt that option—I know I would! So, being an “English teacher”, I also decided to include one that I think is terrible. Which one do you think it is? I also made the requirements for the last prompt longer because I believe that one is the easiest because you can write in the first person, and since it is the easiest I know a lot of students will choose it. However, I want to read some variety and the page length may discourage some students into choosing a shorted one! Aren’t I so nice?
P.S. The third topic is the one that sucks. Which one did you choose, though?