Essay Topic 1
Analyze Merteuil's relationship with Cécile. What does the older woman do to influence the younger woman? How does Merteuil define Cécile? What are Merteuil's motivations in making Cécile her "protégé?" How does Merteuil manipulate and control Cécile's life and her personal character in ways both visible and invisible to Cécile, to her mother, and to Danceny? Use evidence from Cécile's letters to and about Merteuil, and Merteuil's letters to and about Cécile, to support your arguments.
Essay Topic 2
Think of the form of this work is an epistolary novel. Do the letters themselves symbolize anything? Danceny writes in letter 150 that "a letter is the portrait of the soul." What does it mean to correspond with another person, and how is it carried out? How does reading an epistolary influence your experience with communication, character relationships, people...
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