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WL WL about redemption of Pontius Pilate in Master and Margarita (help with formulating topic needed)

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Hello everybody,

I am starting to write my WL essay right now (and have to finish it soon, unfortunately!) and what interests me is redemption of Pontius Pilate. However, I'm not sure about how to narrow down my topic - so that it ensures I score the highest marks, which I am determined to achieve ;)

What do you think about these:

1. What literary device does Michail Bulgakov use in his novel "Master and Margarita" to arouse sympathy for Pontius Pilate in the reader?

(As opposed to the biblical Pontius.) My arguments would be getting to know emotional state of the procurator (his headache, solitude, being in hostile city - appropriately developed), trying to save Yeshua, killing Judas. These arguments can be also found on the Internet, though... Isn't it too simplistic and little analytic?

2. Uhmm, I don't know, what does redemption of Pontius Pilate signify in the novel?

In the context of the Pilate-Master parallel, cowardice etc...

I'd really appreciate some suggestions.

:anyone:

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Hello! I'm also currently writing my World Lit and before I reply I'd like to tell you that I'm not great at English, so feel free to disagree with my opinion (but please tell me why)! I also haven't read the book you're talking about, so I can't help you content wise...

1) I think this question is too descriptive, as most "what" questions are. Maybe you should go for a "to what extent is literary device x used in "Master and Margarita" to arouse sympathy for P. P. in the reader?" or "How does Michail Bulgakov use literary device(s) x to arouse sympathy for P. P."

2) I don't understand what you're asking, probably because I haven't read the book, but once again this seems too descriptive.

You need to have a topic that'll allow for in depth analysis and a really focused thesis so that you get the best marks. Best of luck! and hopefully some one else will provide you with a reply that's less general :)

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Thanks for your answer!

That's a pity you don't know the book, but I guess you're right - when I think about the first topic, my try comes down to listing and elaborating on those conditions I mentioned. It doesn't seem to be analytic enough. Your suggestion - How the devices are used... - seems better, but I actually didn't want to go into that direction...

Could anyone give me some advice on the second topic? Some suggestion about motives/symbols than literary techniques?

Edited by Nicanniko

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Literary techniques / aspects will always be part of your Lit. response... You can't get away from that.

Rather than restricting yourself to describing literary techniques, reformulate slightly for a more expansive discussion : "How does Bulgakov arouse sympathy in readers for...?" -already suggested by maroctam...

It looks to me that you could satisfactorily link all this to your second question in a final, concluding paragraph. There #is# a connection between these. The second by itself sounds less like a genuine research question than one that admits only a single answer.

Edited by Blackcurrant
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OK, thanks a lot!

So I think I'll go for a version: How does M. Bulgakov arouse sympathy in readers for Pontius Pilate? (it is something like Why Pontius Pilate can be redeemed?)

The main point of my work will be that in Master and Margarita, we get to know Pontius far more closely than in the Bible, which gives us understanding about his behaviour and makes as prone to excuse his moral decay. So as I've written before we learn about his solitude, terrible headache, awareness that freeing Yeshua would mean risking procurator's life, his attempts to compensate for the wrong decision.

But can those be treated as valuable arguments? Aren't these points more of a summary rather than literary techniques?

Anybody, please?

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Nobody says you can't modify your question as you gain a deeper understanding through this question. You may stumble into something even more interesting or complex.

To help you avoid your topic become a listing exercise, here is one question: how did you plump for the word "solitude" rather than any other alternative? If it is used in the book, then how are readers made to *feel* his solitude? Is solitude not a good thing? What makes it less than positive when we consider Pontius' "plight" -- and make it such that readers feel sympathy or empathy for him? Literature is about experience, not about gaining info. So there is a clue for you.

Now, the words you listed are all just examples, as you pointed out yourself. Your plan, actually, is to discuss a point of view and argue your points. So you'll do just that.

Keep in mind the larger question, which will be answered somewhere along the line: Why are we getting this first-hand, sympathetic view of Pontius? What is the point? That should be part of your essay too, of course. So, what you do is: Focus in (details of effect) - focus out (purpose). The larger question should occupy more than the concluding paragraph. Hints of it could run in the background from the start, to be brought out explicitly by the end.

Does this help?

Edited by Blackcurrant
  • Like 1

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Thanks for all the answers!

I've finished my essay - it evolved into something like (I'm writing in Polish) Study of crime and redemption in Master and Margarita by Michail Bulgakov. I focused on Pilate but incorporated more general view of process of forgiving.

I hope it'll turn out well :)

Thanks once again.

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