Nikolai Gogol′s “The Nose”

1) In moral philosophy, an ongoing debate has been ongoing about the distinction between killing and letting die.
There are other online resources on the topic. Write an argument about whether you believe Gregor’s family exterminated Gregor after his transformation. Did they kill him or let him die? Is there any crucial moral difference between killing and letting him die? Are they morally culpable for his death? [You needn’t refer to the link above in your essay].

2) Ward No. 6 is one of Anton Chekhov’s best and most unusual short stories. It is a story about time, will, action and inaction, and the place of the individual in society. The story takes place in a mental institution. A patient challenges the stoicism of the Chief Doctor and shakes the foundations of his belief. The doctor has never suffered, says the patient, and therefore his convictions about the endless and repetitive cycles of life and history can only be academic, theoretical, and therefore meaningless. The doctor descends into madness and is confined to the very ward over which he once had responsibility, or he becomes a very sane victim of his inability to square vision (what Nagel may call “pretense”) with reality. Write an argument about which of these two interpretations you prefer and explain why you find one interpretation more convincing than the other.

3) In reference to Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose,” how is the nose reattached? Write an argument about whether the narrator’s explanation for losing and then regaining his nose makes logical sense (at the end of the story).

4) Bonus credit: How does James Joyce’s “The Dead” convey a sense of futility, the theme of an unlived life? Write an argument that addresses this question and refers to at least one other story and / or nonfiction essay to help make your argument. You’re not writing a comparison/contrast essay. You’ll place two texts into conversation to help make your argument about the Joyce story.