Chinese Mythology and Tales

Instructions: Select one of the following paper topics and write a well-organized research paper of 5-6 pages in length (double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font, 1-inch margin) on the topic. Your paper must have a clear argument, and you must cite evidence from both primary and secondary sources to support your argument.

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Topic 1: We have read many supernatural stories with similar themes (e.g., the danger of lust, the pursuit of immortality, the power of retribution, or the notion of “true friends”). However, different stories elaborate on these themes in different ways. Please choose two or three stories from our readings to discuss the varied treatments to one single theme.

Topic 2: Each supernatural character (e.g., the ghost, the fox, or the monkey) plays its distinctive role in traditional Chinese stories. Choose two stories from our readings with similar plots but different supernatural characters and analyze the different meanings and functions of each character.

Topic 3: Supernatural literature constantly recycles elements from earlier myths or stories. Consider one or two of the supernatural stories we have read this session from the point of view of intertextual qualities. How do they convey meaning through their relationships to other texts?

Topic 4: The liminal status of a journey—its instability, danger, and uncertainty—provides a perfect setting for Chinese supernatural stories. Choose two stories from our readings with the framework or plot of a journey. Compare them and discuss how travel plays an important role in each story. 

Topic 5: Discuss the function of the space of (choose ONE of the following themes) Heaven/ Earth/ Hell/ sacred landscapes in our readings of supernatural stories. Please choose one or two pertinent text(s) for your analysis.

Topic 6: The supernatural beings with female identity draw our attention to the tension between genders under the guise of alien appearance. Choose two primary texts as your main materials and discuss the function and mutual influence of gender and alien identity. 

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