Murakami, Wallace & the Pursuit of Happiness

Topic One:Write an essay that analyzes the ways in which Haruki Murakami’s memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running supports David Foster Wallace’s argument regarding thought and happiness within his commencement speech, “This Is Water.” Your essay ought to consider the ways in which Murakami’s writing about himself in the particular is transferable to others in general. It is important to also define the different modes of thinking Wallace presents and how they inform happiness, freedom and fulfillment. Your essay should address the scope of both authors’ ideas regarding the aforementioned themes/concepts. It is imperative that you work with each text equally. Topic Two:Wallace remarks, “But if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars – compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff’s necessarily true: The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship” (4-5).Write an essay that analyzes how both Murakami’s memoir and Wallace’s commencement speech reinforce that happiness and freedom are within the individual’s control. Although neither Murakami nor Wallace appear to be religious, how do they promote constructive types of “worship?”Requirements for the Assignment:Remember, analytical synthesis is your objective on this assignment; structure and organization are critical, as are topic sentences that force the texts into dialogue. Your introduction ought to introduce and summarize each author and text independently before you present your thesis. Since you are dealing with more than one text you will need to include an MLA Works Cited page for either topic – use Purdue University’s OWL Writing Center website for samples of an electronic source, and a book source, since these are the two mediums you are using.

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