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Assessed Essay 1


Essays due by Tuesday, Term 2, Week 1.

Late submissions will incur a penalty of 5 marks per day.

Note: Please consult the Department website and/or the Student Handbook for guidance on essay submission on Tabula and penalties for late submission.

Please also make note of the Departmental regulations on Plagiarism.

For all bibliographic citations, primary and secondary, use the MLA Guidelines, a link to which is provided on the Department webpage for Undergraduate Studies.


The first assessed essay rubric requires you to write on a single text, as defined in the questions below. This is the case even when you are devising your own questions.

Finalists are expected to write a 3,000 word essay on a topic they devise on their own. They should feel free to draw on the topics set below.

Second years may choose from one of the topics listed below or devise a topic of their own:


  1. The poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz wrote of the Partition of India as a mottled dawn with “these tarnished rays, this night-smudged light.” Write an essay discussing how the Partition is represented in any one text or film of your choice. You may want to link up the formal representation of Partition with its political consequences and meaning.
  2. In his novel Shame, Salman Rushdie writes: “This is a novel about Sufiya Zinobia… Or perhaps it would be more accurate, if also more opaque, to say that Sufiya Zinobia is about this novel” (59). Write an essay exploring the significance of Sufiya Zinobia in a story about shame and shamelessness.
  3. Who is “the collaborator” in Mirza Waheed’s novel The Collaborator? Discuss the significance of the title in light of the novel’s representation of the Kashmir conflict.
  4. Write an essay on the significance of the Kathakali man in Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things.
  5. “…there was the immeasurable distance that separated her from Fokir. What was he thinking about as he stared at the moonlit river? The forest, the crabs? Whatever it was, she would never know: not just because they had no language in common but because that was how it was with human beings, who came equipped, as a species, with the means of shutting each other out… Speech was only a bag of tricks that fooled you into believing that you could see through the eyes of another being” (Amitav Ghosh, Hungry Tide). Write an essay exploring the significance of this passage and the theme of the limits of communication and translation with which the novel engages.
  6. “These days, there are just two castes: Men with Big Bellies, and Men with Small Bellies. And only two destinies: eat—or get eaten up” (Arvind Adiga, The White Tiger; 64). Write an essay discussing whether Adiga’s novel provides a credible critique of globalization and neo-liberal capitalism. Is there any room for resistance or redemption in Adiga’s vision?
  7. Write an essay exploring the ways in which Amruta Patil in her graphic novel Kari inverts the classic figure of the flâneur by seeing the city through the eyes of a non-binary, androgynous woman.
  8. Write an essay analysing the clash between modernity and indigeneity in any one of Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s stories or Mahasweta Devi’s “Pterodactyl” or Satyajit Ray’s film Days and Nights in the Forest.