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ENG 252 – American Literature II
· Choose only Ten (10) out of the following questions and answer them in good, complete, organized paragraphs! I will be expecting clear, thought out answers, with good evidence from the text, your notes, the PowerPoint, and/or the biographies you’ve read. If you use a biography, make sure you cite it correctly (in-text and works cited entry at the end of the question) so that you avoid plagiarism! No other outside sources should be used; however, if you use an outside source you DANG sure better cite it correctly (in-text and works cited); otherwise, you will not receive credit for the question. MLA Format
· Each of the questions you choose to answer is worth 20 points, so make the answer a 20-point answer.
o Hint: For every 10 points, there should be at least a paragraph consisting of 10-12 REAL sentences.
o Every answer should have quotes from the text as evidence of your claims.
1. Situational irony is a mark of the Realism, and it is often found throughout the Modernism and Post-Modernism movements. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” “Desiree’s Baby,” and “Richard Cory” all utilize this literary device to make a mark on their readers. Discuss the effectiveness of this tool in each of these pieces of literature and how it helps each one fit into its time period – “An Occurrence at Owl Creek” = Realism; “Desiree’s Baby” = Modernism; “Richard Cory” = Post-Modernism
2. Many Post-Modernism works are marked by themes of religious hypocrisy. Choose at least one work from the Post-Modernism list and discuss its use of religious hypocrisy as a theme. You may choose more than one piece of literature from Post-Modernism and explore the theme of religious hypocrisy if you would like.
3. Both “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and A Streetcar Named Desire explore the ideas of “manhood” or masculinity. How does each one treat this idea and how does each answer the question of “what it takes to be a man?”
4. Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” took a very different view of Nature than most of Robert Frost’s poetry. Choose at least one the Robert Frost poem’s that we read that might have something in common with London’s view of Nature as a force that is indifferent to man’s suffering at best and cruel and destructive at worst. You might want to look at more than one to give you the two paragraphs.
5. Several pieces we read used stream-of-consciousness as a technique for narration. The most obvious was “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” but “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “A Worn Path” also used stream-of-consciousness throughout. This technique is often confusing for readers, but what does it add to any of these three stories and why is it so effective? Is it essential to tell the story of these three people, and if so, why? (Hint: Obviously it is, or I wouldn’t have asked this question).
6. Using flashbacks is a technique that was used in two of our stories this semester, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” In two separate paragraphs (one for each story) explore how the flashbacks worked in each story and what the flashback technique added to the story. Why was it there?
7. Modernism and Post-Modernism thrived on the idea that things are not at all what they appear. Both A Streetcar Named Desireand “Everyday Use” contain this theme. Choose one of these pieces and explain how that piece of literature goes about delivering the idea that things are not what they seem and contrast the appearance with the reality. Make sure you include what you think the author was trying to tell us with this contrast.
8. Both “The Gilded Six-Bits” and “The Storm” address the theme of adultery, and in true Modernism fashion, neither one takes a traditional view of the topic of adultery. Choose one of these stories and discuss how the story took the topics of adultery and put a Modernist twist on it. (btw… Chopin was really a Modernist ahead of her time).
9. “A Wagner Matinee” and “A Pair of Silk Stockings” could both be considered firmly in the Modernism genre. Both address the idea that we sometimes give up a life we know, only to miss it once it’s gone. While this idea/theme has always been around, what makes these two stories so powerful and so “Modern.” Who is involved in these stories, and why does the theme make us a little uncomfortable? In essence, what qualifies them as part of the Modernist movement?
10.Most of what we read this semester consisted of my “favorites,” but by now, you all know that two of my VERY favorites are Zora Neale Hurston and Booker T. Washington. Explore what “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” has in common with Washington’s “Atlanta Exposition Address.” What are the common themes and do you think the two would have agreed on how they saw the word – why or why not?
11.We met a couple of characters who long for times gone by – Miniver Cheevy in the poem by the same name and Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire. What do these characters have in common and how are they different? Write a response in which you compare (find the similarities between) these two characters and contrast (find the differences in) them, and maybe discuss why both belong in the Modernism/Post-Modernism genre.
12.Many Modernist and Post-Modernist writers rejected the use of dialect in their works, but Zora Neale Hurston refused to abandon it. Joel Chandler Harris is another writer who also embraced dialect in his works. Even though these two writers were as different as they could possible have been, what does their use of dialect have in common and what did it bring to their respective works?
13.“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “To Build a Fire” both address the idea of underestimating the power of nature over mankind, and they almost use Nature as a character itself. Discuss how each story treats this theme and how each author differs in his views of nature based on these stories.
14.A Streetcar Named Desiremay embody the themes and ideas of Post-Modernism more than any other single piece of literature we’ve read. Focus on two elements of Post-Modernism and make your case that A Streetcar Named Desire is THE Post-Modernist piece of literature to demonstrate those two elements.
15.“The Life You Save May Be Your Own” contains “grotesque” (dishonest, immoral, twisted) characters, Mr. Shiftlet and Mrs. Carter, both. Choose one of those characters to compare with another “grotesque” character from a different piece of literature.
16.Alice Walker drew some of her inspiration from Zora Neale Hurston, and if you read “Everyday Use,” it was painfully clear that Hurston was a major influence. What parallels did you see between the two writers based on their works? Did you see elements from “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” in “Everyday Use?” If so, where and how? (Hint: go back and reread “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” after reading “Everyday Use”)
17.Several of our stories/poem deal with the concept of sacrifice in some form or another. Choose one of those stories or poems and discuss the sacrifice that the author is exploring. Then relate that sacrifice to something that was relevant to the Modernism/Post-Modernism historical events taking place. What might have prompted that discussion/exploration of sacrifice from that particular author based on the history of the time? (Hint: refer to your PowerPoints for help).
18. Several of our stories/poems have characters who go against society’s rules and question whether it’s ever acceptable to go against what society deems acceptable or unacceptable – this one of the cornerstones of the Modernism and Post-Modernism movements. Choose one of our stories and tell my why it spoke to you in terms of this theme. Many of our writers questioned the “status quo;” which one of our writers made you question it as well and why?
Please put the corresponding number for the corresponding question.
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