Final writing task: Essay questions and instructions
The fourth writing task will relate to one or more of the final two novels that we have read: Whatever by Michel Houellebecq and Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faïza Guène.
Answer one of the questions below. You should aim to write around three pages.
– you are also encouraged to submit a plan or draft to me before this final deadline.
• Use your best academic Writing English, and proofread and edit your work.
• Act on feedback from the three previous essays in order to improve your writing (this is
absolutely crucial: don’t be complacent! Remember that you gain marks for improvement in this course as well as for the objective quality of your writing!)
• Check your work against the grading criteria for FREN3270W (on HuskyCT).
• Get the basics right: spell the names of authors correctly, and include the question number, full title of the essay, page numbers, and your name at the top of the paper.
• Use footnotes and a bibliography to cite all your sources of information, including books, films, websites, magazines, journals, etc.
• Refer to the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA tools (on HuskyCT) for examples of how to do
this. You may alternatively use whatever style of referencing you are used to using – such as
APA – but be consistent.
1. In his novel Whatever, Michel Houellebecq writes: ‘human relations become progressively impossible … and gradually the face of death appears, in all its splendor.’ What is meant by this? What reasons exist to write a novel that is as apparently bleak as Whatever? And how do you explain the popularity of Houllebecq’s “depressive realism”?
2. In what ways might Michel Houellebecq’s Whatever be described as an “existentialist” work?
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3. Discuss the presentation of the theme of misanthropy in Michel Houellebecq’s novel, Whatever
4. The protagonist of Houellebecq’s novel, Whatever, states the following: “Just like unrestrained economic liberalism, and for similar reasons, sexual liberalism produces phenomena of absolute pauperization” (p. 99). Discuss this statement in the context of the novel.
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5. Compare and contrast the representation of fate and destiny in Whatever and Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow. How do the protagonists understand this concept? To what extent do they take charge of their own destinies?
6. “Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow is as much a social document as it is a novel.” Explore this proposition.
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7. Explore the role of gender and gender relations in Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow.
8. Describe the ways in which Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow explores the postcolonial condition of France.
9. Compare and contrast the characters of Doria, in Faïza Guène’s Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow, and the main character (“hero”??) of Houellebecq’s Whatever. You may wish to consider:
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• their characterization and the ways in which their voices are presented to the reader;
• the language they use;
• Their psychological state and motivations;
• the possible messages that the authors are trying to convey through these characters.
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