Department of English


MA Program

MA Essay

The MA essay is approximately fifty pages in length, and explores a scholarly, critical, or aesthetic question in depth. The topic for the essay is worked out in detail between the student and a faculty advisor. It is possible to do a Creative Writing portfolio as an MA essay. Specific requirements for such an option are worked out with the guidance of the Creative Writing faculty.

A Sampling of Recent MA Essay Topics

  • American Africanism and the Self-Made Man in Tarzan of the Apes
  • Androgyny in George Elliot’s Middlemarch
  • Anthropophagic Identities and the Birth of the Cannibal Epithet
  • Authorship and Readership in Coetzee's Novels
  • Choosing to Listen: Paradise Lost’s Soundtrack to Salvation
  • Cognitive Approaches to Fantasy Fiction
  • The Depiction of Children in the Early Works of Jeannette Winterson
  • Dystopian Narrative and Orwell's 1984
  • Female Fairy Tale Characters as They Pass into Magical Realms
  • The Figure of the Other in the Novels of Robert Louis Stevenson
  • ‘For pilgrymes are we alle’: The Spiritual Pilgrimage in The Vision of Piers Plowman and The Pilgrim’s Progress
  • For the Sake of Argument: Systematizing in the Work of Ben Jonson and Henry Fielding Growing Up and Coming Out (A Creative Writing Thesis)
  • Gothic and Utopian Fiction of the 1790s
  • Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and Trauma Theory
  • History of Educational Films
  • "Ic" in Exile: Ideas of “Sylf” as Determined by Community and Gender in Old English First-Person Poetry
  • The Italian American Novel
  • Jean-Luc Godard and Sidney Lumet
  • John Ashbery's Poetry
  • 'Like That Blind Subterranean Fish':Tracing Darwinian Thought in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!
  • Literary Analysis, Speech Act Theory, and the Role of Prayer in the Secondary School Curriculum
  • Madness and Monstrosity in Virginia Woolf
  • The Melting Pot and the Mosaic: North American Myths and Multicultural Identities in Literature
  • Memory and Forgetting in William Wordsworth and Elizabeth Bishop
  • Miraculous Conceptions in Arthurian Legend and the Alexander Romance
  • Modernism and Mourning in Ishiguro's Remains of the Day
  • Music Video, Frame Theory, Female Spectatorship
  • New Media, Fandom Studies, and Online Censorship: The LiveJournal Controversy
  • The Novels of Zelda Fitzgerald
  • On the Logics of Possession in Three African-American Novels
  • Paul Auster’s Detective Trilogy
  • Poetry Chapbook (A Creative Writing Thesis)
  • Poetry Manuscript (A Creative Writing Thesis)
  • Postwar Gestures in the Poetry of T.S. Eliot and George Oppen
  • The Reflecting Labyrinth: Mirrors, Metafiction, and the Means of Self-Encounter in Borges
  • Religion and Spirituality in the Works of Gail Collins
  • Representations of the East in Female-Authored Eighteenth-Century Travelogues
  • Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses: Author and Reader
  • Satanic Undertones in Ulysses, Paradise Lost, and the Inferno
  • Sweet Dreams and Their Discontents:  Globalization and the American Dream
  • Temporality, Language, and Nothingness in the Rhetoric of the Frame in Arcimboldo's Four Seasons and Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
  • Theodore Huff: From Cineaste to Archivist
  • Time and Utopia in Forster's A Passage to India
  • The Treatment of the Virgin Mary in the N-Town Cycle
  • "Trewe in myn entente": A Study of Criseyde
  • Utopian/Dystopian in Science Fiction Films
  • Vocational Inaction: Anti-Narrative and the Formation of Ideal Harmony in Paradise Lost and Regain’d
  • Wallace Stevens's "L'Esthetique du Mal"
  • "With More Delighted Ear": Auditory Reception in Paradise Lost
  • The Wizard of Oz and the 1930s
  • A World of One’s Own: The Triumph of the Material Soul in Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World
  • Youth-Oriented Political Films of the 1960s