World Literature Research Paper Ideas – 15 Great Examples

One of the hardest parts in doing a research paper on world literature is coming up with some fresh and interesting ideas worth exploring. More often than not you are given some topics to choose from, but when you are left to your own devices you might find yourself struggling. Here are 15 great examples you should consider for your own research paper on world literature:

  1. Compare and contrast Chines and Japanese nationalist literature of the 20th century. Do the two share the same approach in building nationalist sentiment in its citizens?
  2. Describe the function of the stream of consciousness in terms of character development in American modernist literature. How do authors connect with the reader?
  3. In what ways did Maya Angelou say second class citizenship in the United States was a great form of infringement in personal development in her own youth?
  4. What are the major contributions made by Japanese poets of the 19th and 20th centuries to the treasury of world poetry? Are there any poets that stand out dramatically?
  5. Considered to be world’s first epic novel, Don Quixote explores issues of magical realism juxtaposed with mental illness. How does Cervantes achieve these opposites?
  6. Compare and contrast the works and writings of Malcom X with that of Maya Angelou. How are their approaches towards black civil rights treated differently in each?
  7. How influential have the Scottish authors of the 20th century been in developing the life narrative in world literature? Use specific examples.
  8. Provide a critical analysis of African American writer Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”. Explain how the non-chronological story telling affects our understanding of slave life?
  9. Carlos Fuentes’ novel “The Death of Artemio Cruz” use stream of conscious story-telling to deal with a period of Mexico history from the Mexican Revolution till the mid-20th century?
  10. What role does symbolism have in the works of Leo Tolstoy? Specifically, look at how symbolism is used to foreshadow the tragic and unfair death of Anna?
  11. Explore the way Shakespeare viewed his audiences with a critical eye as demonstrated through the events that take place in his play “As You Like It.”
  12. Provide a critical analysis of Anton Checkov’s one act, comedic play “The Bear.” How was this play different from other comedies of the same period?
  13. Explore the roles of “honor” and “death” in Japanese works of the 20th century. What two writers stick out to you the most in their presentation of these two elements?
  14. What role has literature had on shaping the nations of the world? Pick a specific continent and explain how nationalism has formed has evolved because of literature.
  15. What are the most notable different in the Nobel Prize winners for literature from the early 20th century versus those of the late 20th century?

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