“The Hobby” and “The Tower”

“After all, what is happiness? Love, they tell me. But love doesn’t bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it’s a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it’s sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we’re doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony.” – Paulo Coelho, The Witch Of Portobello

Compare what each author(Marghanita Laski and Eric McCormack) have to say about love?


How do we find the courage to be true to ourselves – even if we are unsure of who we are?

“The Tower” and “The Hobby” Essay

Argue in an essay any(one) of these critical questions:

  • Compare ideas the author’s suggest to you about the gender role of the protagonist?
  • How do various literary elements of each work – plot, character, point of view, setting, tone, diction, images, symbol, archetypes etc. – reinforce its meaning?
  • Compare how psychological matters such as repression, dreams, and desire are presented consciously or unconsciously by each author.
  • Compare what each author suggests about the relationships between men and women? Are these relationships sources of conflict? Do they provide resolutions to conflicts?
  • Compare how you felt when reading the last paragraph of each story. Explain what each story suggests to you about the nature of reality. Was Caroline’s descent beyond the 470th step “real”? Is the Old Man’s train “real”? How are the Tower and the Kitchener house similar/different? What function do our memories serve in defining who we are? At the end, are Caroline and the Old Man still alive? Are they dead?