“A Clean Well-Lighted Place,” “The animals of that country,” Henry IV Part I, and The Great Gatsby

This is one of the largest finals I’ve had to do so far, which is strange because this is a first-year course. This take-home exam consisted of four small essays all on different genres of literature – that is a lot of work.

The first essay looks at short fiction. I chose to dissect Ernest Hemingway’s short story “A Clean Well-Lighted Place.” This short fiction has made me think a lot about my place in the world and gratitude. Beauty and happiness can be found simply in a clean and well-lit place. The ageism is also hella strong in this one, something I also think about as I crawl nearer and nearer to my grave (I am now an old twenty-one – what?!).

The second essay is on Margaret Atwood’s poem “The animals in that country.” In my essay, I talk about the themes of animal cruelty and industrial agriculture as well as the literary devices Atwood uses to create a deeper interpretation.

The third mini-essay is on Shakespeare’s play Henry IV Part I. Unfortunately, this play was my least favourite by Shakespeare. I much prefer A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth or The Tempest. I explore the theme of honour in this play through Prince Hal’s character.

The last mini-essay is on The Great Gatsby. For some reason, I have read this book like four times even though I don’t particularly care for it. The only thing I like is whenever I read this book, I can visualize it so well and start romanticizing the 1920s lol. In this essay, I argue that Nick Carraway is not just the narrator but also the main character and protagonist of this story. Even though Gatsby is not my favourite book, it holds a special place in my heart. It’s also so ridiculously Lana Del Rey-coded and vice-versa.