Throughout college life, you will be tasked to write a book report. It is a written assignment where you must summarize the key elements of a book, from its publication details to its substance such as the plot, characters, setting and theme. Depending on the given instructions, you will also have to provide your own insights on particular aspects of the book.
One of the challenges of writing a book report is determining exactly what information to put. Chances are, you will be assigned to write about a book that is at least one hundred or two hundred pages long, With so much potential information that you can put in a couple of paragraphs, it will leave you scratching your head and asking for book report help that goes beyond generic information of what it should contain.
Thankfully, looking for book report help of this kind is easy to search on the internet. While some sites can give you a book report example or two, what you should learn from is a great example of book report that will help you kickstart your writing. We at CustomEssayMeister are eager to help you in that regard—we present to you a book report example that discusses a book that is notably difficult to discuss: Dante Alighieri’s “Paradiso.”
Dante Alighieri’s “Paradiso”
“Paradiso” is the final book of the tripartite “Divine Comedy.” Written by Dante Alighieri in the early 14th century, it marks the last parts of his character’s journey of intellectual and spiritual enlightenment. “Paradiso,” along with its prequels “Inferno” and “Purgatorio,” utilizes the epic poem format, spanning 33 chapters or “cantos” with each conveying a significant theological point, either in the form of symbolism or, more often, discourse.
“Paradiso” follows the first person perspective of Dante Alighieri, the character, as he embarks on an odyssey throughout the reality beyond the known physical world. In this poem, Dante ascends to Paradise after travelling through Purgatory and Inferno. Paradise is revealed to be made of ten “spheres”: The first nine spheres are the physical heavens, each represented by a planet or astronomical body, embodying a corresponding virtue or deficiency and inhabited by particular historical figures who exemplify said virtues. The last sphere is called the “Empyrean,” the residence of the Holy Trinity.
Similar to “Inferno” and “Purgatorio,” Paradiso contains theological discussions of great length, with its present theme being about Paradise itself, the spiritual significance of love and the other cardinal and theological virtues, the criticism of the current state of the Church during his time, and the nature of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the angels. While Virgil, an ancient Roman poet, served as his guide throughout the previous two books, it is Beatrice, Dante’s deceased former lover, who guides him this time throughout the spheres of Paradise.
The first sphere is the Moon, inhabited by those who failed to follow their vows. The second sphere is Mercury, inhabited by those who did good out of fame and lacked the inclination towards justice. The third sphere is Venus, inhabited by those who were filled with love but lacked the temperance to moderate it. The fourth sphere is the Sun, inhabited by the great intellectuals and philosophers who have exhibited excellence, determination, and wisdom. The fifth sphere is Mars, inhabited by those who died for their faith. The sixth sphere is Jupiter, inhabited by the kings and rulers who governed justly. The seventh sphere is Saturn, inhabited by those who have contemplated greatly on God and Christian spirituality. The eighth sphere is the Fixed Stars, which embody the three theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Love, and represents the ultimate version of the Church. The ninth sphere is the Primum Mobile, the residence of the angels. The last sphere is the Empyrean, the sphere that is beyond the physical realm, where the Holy Trinity resides. Upon the end of his journey, Dante is transported back to earth, with little to no recollection of what he witnessed, yet spiritually whole and filled and hope as he is unified with God.
Through each canto, Dante ascends through each sphere of heaven, engaging in theological discourse with Beatrice and some prominent figures while criticizing the corruption of the Church. Dante’s journey of enlightenment here is both literal and figurative; it becomes noticeably brighter as he ascends each sphere, almost to the degree of blindness, were it not for Beatrice guiding him. Simultaneously, Dante learns more about the nature of reality beyond the earth and the theological justifications behind the criticism of the current state of the Church.
Worth noting here is that while his enlightenment is, in part, intellectual, it is ultimately spiritual. In fact, throughout his entire journey in the “Divine Comedy,” Dante admits that what he wrote is inaccurate to what he truly experienced. He, otherwise, vows to the reader the absolute best that he can to depict his experiences. This is especially true with “Paradiso” with the increasing, nearly blinding light that surrounded him throughout his journey in Paradise. It is, somewhat, a remarkable irony and subversion of the notion of light: as a person is enlightened, he knows more. Yet, in Dante’s case, the more light that is shone, the less he understands, in large part because of his inability as a mortal to understand divine concepts and thought.
The hazy memory of Dante’s character affects how much the reader could comprehend the insights and events that took place. This is especially true in “Paradiso” as some discussions conclude with an admission of unintelligibility in part because of the limitations of mortal beings in comparison to God. Granted, this is ultimately decided by Dante, the writer, whether this is so. However, this can instead be perceived as an invitation to the reader to further contemplation and discussion.
Alighieri, Dante. Paradiso. Translated by John Ciardi, Penguin Publishing Group, 2009.
The main character of “Paradiso” is the allegorized version of Dante Alighieri, the author of “The Divine Comedy” himself. He is also the main protagonist of the entire “Divine Comedy” and the recipient of the teachings and insights throughout the journey.
As with “Inferno” and “Purgatorio,” Dante is accompanied by a spiritual, wise figure who guides him throughout the humanly incomprehensible events that take place throughout the journey. In “Paradiso,” he is guided by Beatrice, the love of Dante’s life, both in the literary work and in history. While Virgil represents the peak of human reason, Beatrice symbolizes faith and theology.
Mainly, Dante and Beatrice serve as the characters for the majority of the “Paradiso,” though there are historical figures throughout the spheres that also guide Dante and give their feedback on the corruption of the Church and other theological discussions pertaining to faith, virtues, morality, and the nature of God.
“Paradiso” takes place in Paradise, which is situated above Earth. Paradise is composed of ten spheres, based on the Ptolemaic conception of the universe where Earth is perceived to be the center of the universe. The first nine spheres are based on the planets and other heavenly bodies of the Solar System, and are believed to be physical, whereas the tenth sphere, the Empyrean, transcends the physical realm and serves as the residence of the Holy Trinity.
In line with the rest of the “Divine Comedy,”“Paradiso” is predominantly embodied by Christian themes and theology, as well as commentary on the politics, history, and current state of Italy and the Church at the time of Dante. As the last part of the tripartite epic, “Paradiso” much on the nature of Heaven and God, as well as an expanded elucidation on the virtues and morality in line of Christian faith.
Light serves as the motif of “Paradiso,” both in a literal and figurative sense in the work. As Dante ascends through each sphere, the light that surrounds him grows, almost to the point of blindness, were it not for Beatrice’s guidance.
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