Reader’s Choice

You are required to read a novel of your choice independently and complete one of the following writing assignments. You have two assignment options, as well as reading choices within each option. Note that thedue dates for each option differ. You must chooseand completeonly one option.This assignment counts as an Essay/Test grade in semester 2.

Written Component:Whichever assignment and written response you choose, you mustspecifically cite your reading. (This means quotes/paraphrases with page numbers!!) A minimum of 3 specific citationsper paragraphis required. Expect to write a minimum of 3 pages, double-spaced, typed, following MLA format. You must submit an annotated rough draft, as well as a final, clean copy. Your final piece must be submitted to

Note: Late papers will lose 5 points per day and willnotbe accepted beyond one week after the due date!

*WARNING*: Do notwrite a book report. Avoid summary andeditorial opinions. Instead, analyze a given topic by composing a focused thesis that you argue and specifically support.

OPTION I: All of the choices provided below belong to the fantasy genre and follow an archetypal pattern. They therefore lend themselves to comparison (and contrast) with Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

ALCHEMIST, THE by Paolo Coelho

BRIAR ROSE by Jane Yolen

GAME OF THRONES byGeorge R. R. Martin

GOLDEN COMPASS,THE by Phillip K. Pullman

HARRY POTTER AND… (Choose one of the books in the series afterSorcerer’s Stone)

HOBBIT, THEby J.R.R. Tolkien


TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer

WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams

*You may also select a book of your own choosing, provided that you receive teacher approval first.

Choices for Writing Topics:

1)“Every trip is a quest” (T.C. Foster). With this idea in mind, map the archetypal journey of the Hero in your work. Identify the different steps of the journey, the “two worlds,” and what makes the Hero/Heroine different/special/distinct from others in the novel. You may use the Hero’s Journey worksheet to brainstorm, but please write in essay format (complete sentences, focused paragraphs).

2)Compare/Contrastthree (3)characters, situations, or archetypal images (such as a character like the Villain or Sidekick, or the image of the Forest)in your selected work with the same in Lord of the Rings.

Due Dates:

Periods 3, 6, 7, and 8: Wednesday, February 20th (Final day to submit for reduced credit is 2/27)

Period 4: Thursday, February 21st (Final day to submit for reduced credit is 2/28)


OPTION II: All of the choices provided below engage the theme of war and are therefore congruent with the works by Tolkien and Vonnegut that we have been considering.

Civil War (U.S.)

Frazier, Charles. Cold Mountain

Kantor, MacKinlay. Andersonville

Shaara, Michael. The Killer Angels

World War I

Barker, Pat. Regeneration.

Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms

Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls

Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front

Sassoon, Siegfried. Memoirs of an Infantry Officer

World War II

Ambrose, Stephen. Band of Brothers:E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

Collins, Max Allan. Saving Private Ryan

Heller, Joseph. Catch-22

Jones, James. The Thin Red Line

Mailer, Norman. The Naked and the Dead

Korean War

Hooker, Richard. MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors

Spruill, Steven. Ice Men: A Novel of the Korean War

Vietnam War

O’Brien, Tim. Going After Cacciato.

Webb, James. Fields of Fire

The War in Afghanistan

Hennessey, Patrick. The Junior Officers’ Reading Club: Killing Time and Fighting Wars

The War in Iraq

Filkins, Dexter. The Forever War

Finkel, David. The Good Soldier

*You may also select a book of your own choosing, provided that you receive teacher approval first.

Choices for Writing Topics:

1)Analyze whetheror not your chosen novel is an effective piece of anti-war literature.In order to argue effectively, you must analyze the author’s efficacy in applying selected literary techniques to his topic. Literary techniques include, but are by no means limited to

  • voice (diction, details, imagery, syntax, tone)
  • characterization
  • narrative manipulation/point of view
  • irony/satire
  • subtext and connotation
  • juxtaposition
  • metaphor / simile

2)Compare/Contrast three (3) characters, situations, and/or themes in your selected work with the same in Slaughterhouse Five.

Due Dates:

Periods 3, 6, 7, and 8: March 19th(Final day to submit for reduced credit is 3/26)

Period 4: Thursday, March 20th(Final day to submit for reduced credit is 3/27)