Writing on Literary Topics

Though I have been prompted several times in the past few weeks, I find myself empty on the topics I could address in my near-future research paper. I have been reading through the prompting of my English class, though it has mostly been works of Shakespeare or spinoffs of it (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead). Each of the books we have read in English this year have addressed death, and I feel like this is some omen for the ending of my High School years, but it is a topic I like to write about. The Things They Carried, Hamlet, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead are all books that address this topic, and the philosophies of life, free will, and what death could be like. Not to mention, the things that surround death and how it affects those who knew the deceased.

Honestly, I feel as if ‘Death’ is such a broad spectrum that it would be hard to pin it down in a paper, basing it off of one literary work would be difficult in a research paper. I’m disappointed in myself because I can’t seem to pin down a couple of good topics aside from this one, but perhaps that’s because I’m completely burned out and stress has ruined my trains of thought and ability to focus. ‘Literary Topics’ is such a broad spectrum anyways, and I find it almost impossible to write without a set of guidelines to lead me in the right direction, if it’s not writing creatively or in a fashion meant to entertain. Research papers are the bane of my existence, and pinning down a topic has been nearly impossible this past month.

I wish that prompting me would work.


Oxymorons and Paradoxes

An oxymoron is a form of paradox that combines a pair of contrary terms into a single expression. This combination usually serves the purpose of shocking the reader into awareness.  Examples include “wise fool,” “sad joy,” and “eloquent silence.” During my reading in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, I’ve noticed a few oxymoron examples popping up within King Claudius’ dialogue. The first I noted happened to be the most obvious, “Have we, as ’twere with a defeated joy, / With an auspicious and dropping eye, / With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage.(Act 1.ii.10-12)

As you may notice, there are several statements that contradict themselves that I have underlined for your easier viewing. The words ‘defeated’, ‘funeral’, and ‘dirge’ are all examples of mourning while ‘joy’, ‘mirth’, and ‘marriage’ would be seen by those who are encountering a joyous occasion. King Claudius (as you may or may not know) is extremely pleased with his position that has been taken over from the late King Hamlet. It’s almost as if he’s taunting young Hamlet with his speech.

A paradox, however, is a situation or action or feeling that appears to be contradictory but on inspection turns out to be true or at least to make sense. Following with my analyzing of Act 1.ii, I noticed a few paradoxes within Hamlet’s words from a quote that I’ve heard quite a few times now. “A little more than kin, a little less than kind.” (Act 1.ii.65) Hamlet’s uncle, King Claudius, has now married his mother and become something more to him than just kin. Now, he is his uncle-father while his mother become his aunt-mother. Now both of them are twice related to Hamlet, as he bitterly speaks of Claudius’ new position. Not only that, but he also makes the joke that “the funeral baked meats / Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.” (Act 1.ii.180-181).

As I have noticed on through, into my reading of Act 2, Hamlet is a master of words and quite the witty card when it comes to bitter humor in a manner such as this. He brings about many paradoxes in his humor, when applied with a bit of meaning to his words.