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20 World Literature Research Paper Topic Suggestions

World literature is one of those courses that requires an enormous amount of time reading the course material, searching for the topics to discuss and analyze, providing the books analysis and reviews, and critical reflections. Literature is fascinating and sometimes making up the topic is quite complicated as there are so many books that are worth the readers’ attention. You may consider the next 20 topics when writing research paper on World Literature, as we tried to bring about the most popular and challenging topic for your attention. 

1. The contribution of Asian poets to the treasure of the world poetry.

2. An investigation of the significance of mother-daughter relationships in The House of Bernarda Alba and The Cherry Orchard at times in Spain and Russia when established traditions were challenged.

3. What were some of the challenges the Pathfinders ran into from the very beginning of this campaign in The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan?

4. Many men came back from battle and for numerous years were either unable, or chose not to talk about their efforts in war.  Many did not want to be glorified as a “hero” because they felt they were just doing their “duty”.  What makes a soldiers’ job defined as heroic in The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan?

5. Do you think certain people are predisposed to greatness or do situations bring it out in them? Even before his wartime travails, Louie Zamperini’s athletic abilities had already guaranteed him a notable life in Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

6. Literature as a nation-shaping factor in the world. 

7. The Nobel Prize winners in literature of the 21st century and analysis of one of their works. 

8. Critical analysis of Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

9. How does the metaphor of the bonsai tree work in order to explain how patriarchal society has historically treated women?

10. Women and Ethnic Beliefs: Using the story as a jumping off point, explore the Mexican Legend of La Llorona and what it says about the public perception of women and marriage.

11. Discuss how we each use faith differently, focusing on Troy and Rose and how faith plays into their lives. You can consider applying this to some present day public figure and discuss similarities or differences in the way her or his faith is a public issue.

12. Contrast the Grandmother (as symbol of superficial belief) vs. The Misfit (as symbol of profound, but unconventional, belief)

13. Use the story to discuss the difficulties of the African Male as he comes of age in America. Discuss what sociologists, psychologists, or other scholars say about the challenges they face.

14. Beginning with the story and expanding the discussion to the public area, discuss how racism and sexism go hand in hand in America.

15. Homesteading: what was life like for homesteading women and how does that affect our understanding of the women in the play, of Minnie Wright?

16. How does George Orwell’s Animal Farm reflect the author’s sentiments towards and concerns about the events of the October Revolution?

17. How do spirituality and the supernatural help further the plot development in Latin American literary works of the early 20th century?

18. How did the works Muslim philosophers of the 15th century contribute to new inventions and ideas throughout the world?

19. Discuss how Sophocles’ play Antigone deals with conflict between its two central characters as it relates to individual conscience and the laws of the state.

20. What are some examples of literary pieces of fiction that have helped shaped world cultures? What cultural, societal or historic factors played roles in shaping those pieces of literature?


Sample Paper on World Literature: What is a Word?

In my essay, I will be defending my position that there is a universal definition of ‘word’ that can be applied to all languages. For proving my point, I will provide example of two totally different languages systems: Chinese and English. These two languages are considered to be used by the most number of people in the world (Wan & Yim 507). First, I will discuss the case that the origin of these two languages system is similar. Both languages originate with similar rules: hieroglyphic words and eye movement. I will provide many interesting examples about eyes movement in from “Comparative Patterns of Reading Eye Movement in Chinese and English” (Sun, Morita & Stark, 1985).

The multicharacter Chinese word communicates complex significance utilizing blends of single characters. They are similar to compound words in English, except that in Chinese they are still written as discrete characters. On the average, the Chinese character group may be composed of approximately 1.5 characters, with the usual size being, perhaps, between one character (55%) and two characters (40%), with rather few three-character groups (5%). 

Similarities in reading eye movement for Chinese and English are noted in the general stereotypical pattern and in the fixation durations, even without using the 1.5 factor. With the 1.5 factor, other quantitative measures also come into line. The spans are about 1.7 Chinese equivalent words and 1.8 English words. The reading rates were about 385 equivalent words per minute for Chinese and 380 words per minute for English for the same scientific textual material. This comparability is reading eye-movement patterns and quantitative measure was established by having similarly scientifically trained readers reading Chinese translations or original semi popular scientific text from Scientific American articles that might be expected to cut across cultural boundaries. 

In the past three years, Chinese printing has shifted from a vertical-line format to a horizontal-line format. In the 1920s, several studies (Chen & Car, 1926; Shen, 1927; Tu, 1930) found Chinese readers to be more skillful in reading the vertical format; we found out readers to be much less adept at reading vertically: 256 equivalent words per minute versus 386 equivalent words per minute horizontally. That the equivalent vertical text was read more slowly, even by skilled (horizontal) readers, suggests the highly skilled nature of reading Chinese. 

        Also of interest was the considerable comparative lack of skill in reading Chinese by native Chinese readers who had immigrated to California and had read mainly English for the previous 5 years. Their reading rate was only 240 equivalents words per minute versus 386 for native Chinese in California for 2 years or less.

What account for the close similarity in reading eye-movement patterns for such different languages as Chinese and English? Eye movement is probably optimized by evolution to serve the visual processes that occur while successively glancing or scanning a scene. The linguistic visual processes may be assumed to be derived from that subservient general vision (Sun, Morita & Stark, 1985). 

Second, I will discuss that the case of rules of pronunciation of two languages’ word, in particular English word and French word. Both two languages systems have similar pronunciation rules (Low 107). Comparative Stylistics of French and English: A Methodology for Translation by Jean-Paul Vinay and Jean Darbelnet provides us many examples of similarity of structures and lexical aspects about similar meaning of words. The first plane is occupied by the signs considered in their own right, disregarding the messages in which they normally appear. The repertoire of signs, or the lexicon, is examined by substituting units of translation within the syntactic framework of comfortable structure. It is not our purpose to explain the contents of the SL and the TL Lexicon separately, each lexicon having its own structure. The aim is to draw out certain lexical categories from their juxtaposition, in order to define the units of translation more sharply. The parallels in the middle of SL and TL are once in a while striking and we can conveniently abuse them. At different times, the two dialects unmistakably contrast and interpreters must break down their disparities on the off chance that they need to comprehend and connect them. The more two languages are alike in structure and civilization, the greater the risk of confusing the meanings of their respective lexicons. But even words not burdened with coincidental and misleading resemblances present semantic differences which translator must be wary of. For example, the American usage of ‘street’ can convey the idea of the French ‘chaussée’, as well as that of ‘rue’. Within certain syntactic structures units of translation can be interchanged, giving paradigmatic sequences in vertical order such as: 

We could hear a noise                                 :On entendait un bruit

  • a bang                                              −  une detonation
  • a thud                                              −  un bruit sourd
  • a hiss                                               −  un sifflement (Vinay & Darbelnet, 1995).

Finally, I will discuss the similarity of writing mode between Chinese and Japanese as many words from the two languages are similar. A historical event published by Technological Information Article in 2012 (Edition 32) by Fang Ling Wu states that there is a famous study conducted abroad from Japan to China. Japanese students learn a lot of Chinese words’ syntax in order to develop Japanese words. Amid the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese government acquainted an arrangement with settle 5 million Japanese in Manchukuo. Taking after the end of the war, roughly 2,800 Japanese vagrants in China were deserted by families repatriating back to Japan. The greater part of Japanese deserted in China were ladies, and these Japanese ladies, for the most part, wedded Chinese men and got to be known as "stranded war wives". As of October 2009, the quantity of Japanese nationals living in China is 127,282 (counting 21,518 in Hong Kong and Macau) as indicated by a report by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the third biggest gathering of Japanese individuals outside Japan after Brazil and United States. In these ten years, Japanese nationals living in China expanded approximately three times from 46,000 to 127,000 in extents to the development in exchange volume between the two nations. Gubei, Shanghai has the biggest centralization of Japanese nationals in Mainland China (Fang Ling Wu, 2012). 

Japanese really has a significant substantial impact upon present day Chinese vocabulary. As generally, one Chinese character typically has an entire arrangement of implications which is not sufficiently particular now and then, cutting edge Chinese received numerous Japanese vocabularies on the grounds that they limited down the implications and bode well to Chinese in the meantime. In any case, as dialects, Chinese and Japanese are very surprising. Despite the fact that it is regularly accepted to be similarly simpler for individuals of both nations in realizing each other's dialects, it is not generally the situation. Japanese local speakers might discover some elocution (t and d, h and f; the - ng sounds) of Mandarin greatly hard, yet from my own perception, it appears to be much less demanding for those Japanese with great learning of English. Ok and it can be entirely agonizing in decreasing the alleged average Chinese-inflection (otherwise known as those slight contrasts in vowels such as "u" and Chinese "wu", and also diminishing all the good and bad times when talking).

Annotated Bibliography:

  1. Comparative Patterns of Reading Eye Movement in Chinese and English by Fushun Sun, Michon Morita and Lawrence W. Stark (p. 503-504) provide an interesting subject experiment that people have similar habits in reading several Chinese and English words providing us evidence that both languages have similar morphology. The reading suggests that capable native readers of both languages demonstrated an identical eye-movement pattern when given similar identical reading materials and tasks. 
  2. Comparative Stylistics of French and English: A Methodology for Translation by Jean-Paul Vinay & Jean Darbelnet (p. 93-96) illustrate the similarity of French and English words structure by explaining the simple way to translate the difference between two structures. The translation-oriented distinguishable analyses of the grammar and style of the two languages are comprehensively epitomized through the examples of texts, phrases, and expressions.
  3. Technological information’ academic paper in 2012 (Edition 32) by Fang Ling Wu illustrates an interesting historical event whereby one thousand years ago, many Japanese students visited China for studying the Chinese words’ syntax and phonology. This source can help me in proving my point that both Chinese and Japanese have similar syntax and phonology. The adaptation of characters from Chinese for the representation of Japanese language helped in the emergence of many homophonic and phonologic representations. 



Works Cited

Fang Ling Wu. Technological information’ academic paper. 32th. 2012. Print. 

Fushun, Morita and Stark. “Perception & Psyhologic.” Comparative Patterns of Reading Eye Movement in Chinese and English. 37 (1985): 502-506. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.                     < https://www.gwern.net/docs/1985-sun.pdf >.

Low, Ee Ling. Pronunciation for English as an International Language: From Research to Practice. London: Routledge, 2014. Print. 

Vinay, Jean-Paul, and Darbelnet, Jean.  Comparative Stylistics of French and English: A  Methodology for Translation. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1995. Print

 Wan, Song, and Anthony P. C. Yim. Cardiothoracic Surgery in China: Past, Present, and Future. Hong Kong: Chinese UP, 2007. Print.