Symbolism essay: "Markheim" - Stjohns

Report
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Essay Structures
Explain the role of symbolism in Robert Louis
Stevenson’s short story “Markheim.”
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D
AYT
C
S
T
Essay Structure for
Visual Learners

Start broadly in your
introduction and narrow
your focus down to your
thesis statement.

This presents a smooth flow,
right from the initial
definition of your topic to
your specific argument.

Focus on the topic, not
summarizing the text!
MEAEAL
#1
MEAEAL
#2
MEAEAL
#3
Review
your thesis
Statement in separate
sentences. Comment
.
upon the topic you initially
brought up (D)
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INTRODUCTIONS
DAYTCST
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Explain the role of symbolism in Robert Louis Stevenson’s short
story “Markheim.”

Thesis statement—which is best?

In his 1885 short story “Markheim,” author Robert Louis Stevenson
uses symbolism to further his message about good and evil.

In his 1885 short story “Markheim,” author Robert Louis Stevenson
uses symbols, such as the clocks, mirrors, and light, to show the
importance of being good.

In his 1885 short story “Markheim,” author Robert Louis Stevenson
uses symbols, such as the clocks, mirrors, and light, to
demonstrate the importance of righteousness and repentance.
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Focusing on Definitions

Why define?



What do we define?




Words and terms have varied meanings!
Think of how many ways we could define “gender,” for example.
Or, think of how many ways we could define other qualities like
“strength,” a trait so often explored in literature.
What term is crucial for a reader of your essay to understand?
You might also think of your definition as a description of your key
term or guiding concept.
Consider your argument. What terms need to be defined,
described, or identified?
For our essay on symbolism, your “D” sentences depend on
your argument. Pay careful attention to how these “D”
sentences affect the flow of your introduction overall.
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Which is the best start to an
introduction? Why?
How do good and evil affect the
soul? Is the character of a man defined by
his actions or his heart? In his 1885 short
story “Markheim,” author Robert Louis
Stevenson explores the effect of sin on an
individual. An author of the Victorian era,
Stevenson’s short story reflects Christian
values and encourages readers to admit to
their sins, no matter their gravity, and
commit to living a life of honesty and
righteousness. The protagonist of the short
story, Markheim, murders the owner of a
curio shop in order to steal his money but in
the end turns himself in after a supernatural
being, possibly representing his conscience,
encourages him to examine his sins and do
the right thing. While Markheim’s evolution
of character is clear evidence of the selfawareness Stevenson promotes, symbolism
is also a very important technique the author
uses to communicate his message.
Stevenson’s use of symbols, such as the
mirrors, clocks, and light, demonstrate the
importance of righteousness and
repentance.
Symbolism is a technique
frequently used by authors to reflect
themes or further character development.
In his 1885 short story “Markheim,” author
Robert Louis uses symbolism to
communicate themes in the text. An author
of the Victorian era, Stevenson’s short story
reflects Christian values and encourages
readers to admit to their sins, no matter
their gravity, and commit to living a life of
honesty and righteousness. The protagonist
of the short story, Markheim, murders the
owner shop in order to steal his money but
in the end turns himself in after a
supernatural being, possibly representing
his conscience, encourages him to examine
his sins and do the right thing.While
Markheim’s evolution of character is clear
evidence of the self-awareness Stevenson
promotes, symbolism is also a very
important technique the author uses to
communicate his message. Stevenson’s use
of symbols, such as the mirrors, clocks, and
light, demonstrate the importance of
righteousness and repentance.
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BODY PARAGRAPHS
MEAEAL
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Prewriting: Outlining and Webbing
Mirrorspassage of time
I.
“damned reminder of years, and sins and follies—this handconscience” (41).
A.
i.
“startled to the soul by chance reflections” (42) as he sees “his
face repeated and repeated, as…an army of spies” (43)
B.
i.
“soul”mirrors force Markheim to examine internally
ii.
“spies”conscience
“Markheim steadily regard[s] his counsellor” (52)
C.
i.
II.
“sins,” “follies,” “conscience,”more than examining the
external
Like examining his own face in a mirror, confronting soul &
past
symbols = Markheim’s evolution as a character,
importance of self-awareness & repentance.
+ Prewriting: Outlining and Webbing
“sins,” “follies,” “conscience,” more
than examining the external
“soul”
mirrors
force
Markheim to
examine
internally
“spies”
conscience
“damned reminder of
years, and sins and
follies—this handconscience” (41).
“startled to
the soul by
chance
reflections”
(42) as he
sees “his face
repeated and
repeated,
as…an army
of spies” (43)
Mirrors
passage
of time
“Markheim
steadily
regard[s]
his
counsellor”
(52)
Like
examining his
own face in a
mirror,
confronting
soul & past
CONCLUSION: symbols = Markheim’s evolution as a
character, importance of self-awareness & repentance.
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In his 1885 short story “Markheim,” author Robert Louis Stevenson
uses symbols, such as the mirrors, clocks, and light, to
demonstrate the importance of righteousness and repentance.
Throughout the short story, mirrors are powerful symbols used to
Markheim of the passage of time and to encourage him to reexamine
M remind
the life he leads. At the beginning of the short story, when Markheim refuses
dealer’s suggestion of giving his lady a mirror for Christmas, Markheim
E the
states that the mirror is a “damned reminder of years, and sins and
follies—this hand-conscience” (41). While it may be obvious that a mirror
reflects one’s age, by adding the words “sins,” “follies,” and “conscience,”
implies that the mirror, looking at one’s own reflection, should be
A Stevenson
more than examining the external; it also involves examining internal flaws
and past indiscretions. After Markheim murders the dealer, he realizes he is
surrounded by mirrors in the shop and is “startled to the soul by chance
(42) as he sees “his face repeated and repeated, as…an
E reflections”
army of spies” (43). As previously, the mirror is more than a superficial
The word “soul” allows the reader to infer that the mirrors are
A reflection.
forcing Markheim to examine what he has done and how it has affected his
soul. Comparing each reflection to “spies” further emphasizes the fact that,
at some level, Markheim is aware of his actions and their impact. Towards the
end of the story, when the supernatural being, arguably Markheim’s
doppelganger, obliges Markheim to recognize his sins, “Markheim
E steadily regard[s] his counsellor” as though examining his own face in a
mirror, confronting his own soul and past (52). It is clear that mirrors are
A more than pieces of glass in “Markheim.” They in fact are symbols indicating
Markheim’s evolution as a character and emphasizing the importance of selfL awareness and repenting for one’s sins.
+
In his 1885 short story “Markheim,” author Robert Louis Stevenson
uses symbols, such as the mirrors, clocks, and light, to
demonstrate the importance of righteousness and repentance.
Throughout the short story, mirrors are powerful symbols used to
Markheim
of the passage of time and to encourage him to reexamine
Notice
that my
M remind
the life
he leads.
At the beginning of the short story, when Markheim refuses
opening
sentence
dealer’s suggestion of giving his lady a mirror for Christmas, Markheim
gets
straight
to theis a “damned reminder of years, and sins and
E the
states
that
the mirror
point and avoids
all
follies—this
hand-conscience”
(41). While it may be obvious that a mirror
Notice
that when I
summary.
reflects one’s
age, by adding the words “sins,” “follies,” and
“conscience,”
implies that the mirror, looking at one’s own reflection,
presentshould
textual be
A Stevenson
more than examining the external; it also involves examining
internal
flaws
evidence,
I always
and past indiscretions. After Markheim murders the dealer,
he realizes
he is
introduce
it with
surrounded by mirrors in the shop and is “startled to the soul by chance
context.
reflections” (42) as he sees “his face repeated and repeated,
as…an
E army ofNotice
spies”
(43).
As previously,
the mirror is more than a superficial
that
when
I
The word
“soul” allows the reader to infer that the mirrors are
analyze
textual
A reflection.
forcing Markheim to examine what he has done and how it hasMy
affected
linkinghis
evidence,
I
never
use
soul. Comparing each reflection to “spies” further emphasizes
the fact
that,
sentence
always
“this
shows”
or
“this
at some level, Markheim is aware of his actions and their impact. Towards the
links back to my
quotation
shows.”
end of the
story, when
the supernatural being, arguably Markheim’s
thesis statement.
doppelganger, obliges Markheim to recognize his sins, “Markheim
E steadily regard[s] his counsellor” as though examining his own face in a
mirror, confronting his own soul and past (52). It is clear that mirrors are
A more than pieces of glass in “Markheim.” They in fact are symbols indicating
Markheim’s evolution as a character and emphasizing the importance of selfL awareness and repenting for one’s sins.
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CONCLUSIONS
A mirror image of the introduction
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Writing Your Conclusion

Use your argument as inspiration!

Remember, five paragraph essays are the foundation of your
essay-writing futures—reviewing your argument and
wrapping up your ideas is more and more important as
papers become longer and longer.

Have trouble with them? Follow this pattern:

Sentence 1: Review your argument

Sentence 2: Review your first body section

Sentence 3: Review your second body section

Sentence 4: Review your third body section

Transitional sentences (probably 1-3 sentences)

Overall wrap-up (1-3 sentences commenting upon your opening
“D” sentences)
Many might say that one’s character is defined by what is in his or her heart rather than his or her actions, but
others might contend that one’s sins mark him or her forever. In his 1885 short story “Markheim,” author Robert
Louis Stevenson explores the effect of sin on an individual. An author of the Victorian era, Stevenson’s short
story reflects Christian values and encourages readers to admit to their sins, no matter their gravity,
and commit to living a life of honesty and righteousness. The protagonist of the short story,
Markheim, murders the owner of a curio shop in order to steal his money but in the
end turns himself in after a supernatural being, possibly representing his
conscience, encourages him to examine his sins and do the
right thing.While Markheim’s evolution of character is
clear evidence of the self-awareness Stevenson promotes,
symbolism is also a very important technique the
author uses to communicate his
message. Stevenson’s use of symbols,
such as the mirrors, clocks,
and light, demonstrate
the importance of
righteousness and
repentance.
+
With
the help of
symbolism, Robert Louis
Stevenson is able to effectively
communicate to his readers that there
is only one life to live and that although all people
may commit sinful actions, it is important to confront those
sins and repent. The mirrors serve as a symbol of self-reflection and
indicate the importance of examining one’s own character. The clocks represent
the passage of time and reality of mortality. The light, mostly reflected in the presence
of the candle throughout the short story, symbolize honesty with oneself and others. While
“Markheim” at first seems like a simple tale of an immoral man, the symbols in the text work together to
prove its depth and relevance. By the story’s end, it is clear that a man is defined by his heart and his soul;
everyone does something wrong at some point, but being honest with oneself and with God helps one to judge what is
right for wrong and to repent for past sins.
+
My Working Conclusion…
Stevenson’s use of
symbols, such as the
mirrors, clocks, and
light, demonstrate
the importance of
righteousness and
repentance.
Many might say that
one’s character is
defined by what is in
his or her heart
rather than his or her
actions, but others
might contend that
one’s sins mark him
or her forever.
With the help of symbolism, Robert Louis
Stevenson is able to effectively communicate to his
readers that there is only one life to live and that
although all people may commit sinful actions, it is
important to confront those sins and repent in
order to live a more righteous life. The mirrors
serve as a symbol of self-reflection and indicate
the importance of examining one’s own character.
The clocks represent the passage of time and
reality of mortality. The light, mostly reflected in
the presence of the candle throughout the short
story, symbolizes honesty with oneself and others.
While “Markheim” at first seems like a simple tale
of an immoral man, the symbols in the text work
together to prove its depth and relevance. By the
story’s end, it is clear that a man is defined by his
heart and his soul; everyone does something
wrong at some point, but being honest with oneself
and with God helps one to judge what is right for
wrong, to repent for past sins, and to change for
the better.

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