Loss. Several of the writers we have read this quarter respond to a sense of personal or collective
loss. Humanity leaves behind the state of nature for both Locke and Rousseau when it forms
society. Wordsworth bemoans the loss of childhood and his celestial origins in the “Intimations
Ode,” and Coleridge is dejected (in “Dejection”) because he has lost the joy that once inspired
creativity. And Werther is depressed about … well, about a lot of things.
Pick two of these authors and develop a significant contrast between the ways in which they
define the loss and the strategies they devise for coping with that loss (if they in fact do devise
such strategies). Structure your essay as a thesis-driven argument based on judicious use of
You may write about Locke and Rousseau, or about Goethe and either one or both of the poems
by Wordsworth and Coleridge, but not just on Wordsworth and Coleridge (just so that you have
the opportunity to focus in detail on a longer text).
Here are the sources for citation and references.
Locke, Second Treatise of Government (excerpts)
Rousseau, The Social Contract (excerpts)
Rousseau, A Discourse on Inequality (excerpts)
Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther (Penguin, 0 14 044503 x)
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