World Literature (college)

Please choose one of the following three prompts and craft a well-developed, well-supported, researched essay of no fewer than four (4) pages based on your chosen prompt. You must type this in proper MLA format (1” margins, double-spaced, 10-12 pt. font, a right-justified header with page numbers, your identifying information in the upper left corner, and your title centered 1/6 of the way down the page). You are to use at least three selections from the readings assigned out of the texts AND at least two outside sources to support your claims or observations.


1. Considering its establishment of an extensive network of trading routes which facilitated the exchange of goods and culture, Islam became the dominant religion of the ruling classes in various Arab empires. Because the Islamic religion was not imposed on indigenous cultures, however, local religious practices often existed alongside Islam. In addition to facilitating trade in material goods, Arab trading networks made the exchange of ideas and artistic styles equally possible. This made for the emergence of dynamic literary forms and styles throughout the Islamic world. Please explain this interconnectedness and societal improvement as seen through the literature discussed.

2. The Renaissance was a time of well-defined, and often restrictive, social roles. – In contrast to much medieval literature, writing of the Renaissance often features characters engaged in introspective reflection as opposed to immediate and grand action. Further, humanist belief in the dawning of a new intellectual age that reflected understanding of Classical tradition and a new age of discovery led many in the Renaissance to see their culture and their historical moment as superior to any other: the epitome of human thought and endeavor. Explain how this introspective superiority may be witnessed in the writings discussed.

3. The Renaissance can be understood as a time of great intellectual arrogance but also a time of great intellectual doubt.  A focus on earthly activity and pleasure did not preclude those in the Renaissance from expressing deep religious faith. Often, Renaissance writers would explore these apparent opposites, and it became the effort of the metaphoric exploration that mattered more than the writer’s ability to reconcile doubt once and for all. Explain this dichotomy as witnessed in the writings.