QI: Essay topics

ENGLISH 1003 – Indian Short Stories Essay.

Due: 8 March 2010, 12.00 – 14.00

Write an essay of 1500 words on ONE of the following topics:

1. “The Miracle of Purun Bhagat”  – Rudyard Kipling

Write an essay on the significance of the miracle in “The Miracle of Purun Bhagat”. You must cite evidence, quote and pay close attention to language during the course of your answer.

Some crucial passages and issues that you might want to consider in the course of your answer include:

1)      Is Kipling critical of the “superstition” of the villagers, their priest in particular?

2)      Is Kipling cynical about the “progressive and enlightened” states and “learned and scientific societies” referred to in the final sentence of the story, and, if so, why?

3)      What is the significance of this sentence: “He believed that all things were one big Miracle and when a man knows that much he knows something to go upon” (58)?

4)      What does Kipling mean when he writes that “all the miracle lies in keeping still, in never making a hasty movement, and, for a long time, at least, in never looking directly at a visitor” (58)?

5)      What language does Kipling use to describe nature in the story?


2. “The Remains of the Feast’ – Ghita Hariharan

I am still a novice at anatomy. I hover just over the body, I am beneath the skin. I have yet to look at the insides, the entrails of memories she told me nothing about, the pain congealing into a cancer.

She has left me behind with nothing but a smell, a legacy that grows fainter every day. For a while I haunt the dirtiest bakeries and tea-stalls I can find. I search for her, my sweet great-grandmother, in plate after plate of stale confections, in needle-sharp green chillies, deep-fried in rancid oil. I plot her revenge for her, I give myself diarrhoea for a week.

– Githa Hariharan, “The Remains of the Feast”

Write an essay in which you discuss the significance of food and the human body in the story.  Your essay should include an analysis of the above passage, commenting on the use of language and imagery. You should also refer to other sections of the story in order to build your argument.


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