Universität zu Köln
Philosophische Fakultät

Englisches Seminar

Zwischenprüfungs-Essaythemen WS 99/2000 - SS 95

Die folgende Auflistung erfolgt in umgekehrter chronologischer Reihenfolge. Zur Zeit werden pro Termin drei Themen -- zwei literaturwissenschaftliche und ein sprachwissenschaftliches -- gestellt. Vor einigen Jahren war das noch anders (siehe unten).


  • Discuss variants of love in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.
  • Describe the significance of the boy Stevie for the development of the story in Conrad's The Secret Agent.
  • What kind of linguistic features are considered as "bad language" and what are the educational policies towards these forms of language suggested by linguists?


  • How and to what effect are historical figures employed in E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime?
  • Peter Shaffer's Amadeus is a prime example of what theorists call an 'epic' play. Discuss the thematic and structural significance of the play's epic elements, particularly its use of musical effects and a narrator figure.
  • Aitchison concludes that language change is natural and inevitable and is due to a combination of factors. Discuss and illustrate with examples from English.


  • The action in Arthur Miller's The Ride Down Mount Morgan takes place to a large degree within the mind of Lyman Felt. Discuss the dramatic techniques and strategies used in the play to represent Lyman Felt's mental processes.
  • George Eliot's novel The Mill on the Floss tells of Maggie Tulliver's relationships to four men - her father, her brother, Phillip Wakem, and Stephen Guest. What is the nature of these relationships and to what degree is it the relationship to her brother that dominates the development of the story?
  • In his book The Language Instinct, Pinker states that one trick behind language is that it makes infinite use of finite sets of elements. Explain and illustrate with examples from phonology, morphology or syntax.


  • The protagonist in Hurston's Their Eyes were Watching God progresses from being largely defined by others to being able to define herself. Explain and discuss.
  • How is the cliché of leading 'a man's life' used as the basis of the criticism of traditional male versus female roles in Pinero's The Second Mrs Tanqueray?


  • Describe the relationships between the main characters in Marlowe's Edward II (King Edward, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer) and show how each character develops over the course of the play.
  • "Preserving dignity in keeping with one's position" - explain and discuss how the basic rule of the "Hayes Society" has shaped (or, possibly, crippled) the life and the world view of the narrator in Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day.


  • In Christopher Fry's The Lady's Not For Burning there are three plot lines. How are they brought together to resolve the various problems of the play?
  • The Blithedale Romance: Describe Coverdale's attitudes towards the social experiment at Blithedale and towards the other characters involved, and discuss his reliability as a narrator.


  • The main subject of Rosamond Lehmann's Dusty Answer is Judith's initiation into adulthood. Describe this process and discuss some of the problems Judith experiences in the course of her development.
  • Describe different attitudes towards money and possession as portrayed in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and discuss their relevance for the plot of the play.


  • How is the New York City of the early twentieth century portrayed in Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer and what does the city represent for the different characters?
  • What comic effects and epic elements appear in Peter Nichols' A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and what dramatic purposes do they serve?


  • In Shaw's Saint Joan, Joan is not burnt for heresy but for her rebellion against the institutions of her society. Discuss.
  • What devices are made use of in Peter Ackroyd's Chatterton to "bring the past to life"?


  • How do the two main settings affect the characters in As You Like It?
  • How does the use of multiple narrators in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein influence the reader's attitude to the major characters? Benjamin Becker
    Letzte Änderung: 12.07.2007