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Analytical paper description (30% of grade)

In an essay of five to six (5-6) pages, typed and double-spaced, analyze the text of George Sand’s Indiana with emphasis given to the questions below. Scrutinize the novel’s content, in other words, reaching independent interpretive conclusions (whether definitive or tentative) on one or more of the following topics:

  1. Analyze Sand’s depiction in Indianaof female psychology as that mentality relates to romantic / erotic relationships. Is the author’s character sketch of Indiana accurate, in your experience, for most women? Or are this character’s psychological traits idiosyncratic and aberrant? Are readers expected, in other words, to take Indiana as a representative example of the way in which women approach and evaluate romantic / erotic relationships? Might this character’s mentality have been relevant to her own culture and era but not necessarily to present-day Western culture?
  2. Analyze Sand’s critique within Indiana of the “polite” society of her era . How does society formulate and enforce its behavioral code among those who wish to be deemed “respectable” members of the community? How does Sand expose the inconsistency and hypocrisy of such behavioral codes? Does the code differ in its application to males versus females? Does the author offer an alternative to the expectations of polite society, or does she here confine herself to criticism and denunciation?
  3. Analyze Sand’s abrupt shift in Indianafrom literary Realism to classic Romanticism. Does this stylistic shift detract, as some literary critics have opined, from the artistic integrity and quality of the novel? Do the two modes of narration create incredulity on the reader’s part, causing him or her disappointment? Or might the combination of the two modes, on the other hand, be deemed a necessary stylistic device in accomplishing the author’s ostensible purpose in the novel?
  4. Analyze Sand’s treatment in Indianaof incest and pedophilia. While the two major characters in the novel’s conclusion are labeled “criminal” by inhabitants of the place in which they live, of what does their criminality consist?  Is incest the source of this accusation, in other words, or are other, more overtly criminal factors involved in this label? And how do you respond to the provocative, if intentionally vague, element of pedophilia Sand has included in the novel? Does the author succeed, as she apparently intended to do, in rendering these impulses innocent and unaccusable?
  5. Analyze Sand’s articulation in Indianaof revolutionary principles within a post-revolutionary era? If the reader agrees that the novel was intended to be revolutionary in emphasis, with what is that emphasis being contrasted? What aspects of French culture, in other words, especially in politics, is the author reacting against? Do you suppose Sand actually believed her novel might change her society, or are there indications in the text that imply she had little hope of impacting the French political system?

Secondary research sources are neither required nor desired for this assignment. The student’s own independent insights are here being solicited, and, so long as they are based upon solid textual evidence, those interpretive conclusions will be respected by the instructor. A variety of interpretations, in other words, is certainly possible. Because no secondary research sources are required, no Works Cited list is necessary—so long, that is, as the student is drawing on the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Indiana, the textbook required by the course syllabus. The instructor expects, for purposes of uniformity of pagination and, thus, of evaluation, this particular edition of the novel to be utilized. Any quotation from or allusion to the text of Indiana should be accompanied by a parenthetical reference to the relevant page number(s) within the Oxford World’s Classics edition.

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