LIT 365 Final
Take a look at the six questions below, and choose four to answer with a maximum of 400 words each. You do not necessarily have to hit the 400 word mark on each question; mostly you should write directly and concisely.Your answers to these questions should show your awareness of the issues discussed in class, but you should not just repeat ideas from our sessions. Put your own original argument in your answers. Show me that you are putting thought into your answer! The most important thing is to have a clear and concise thesis statement that answers the prompt at the beginning of your answer. Don’t waste space with intro material, summary or fluff! Of course, answer in full sentences and developed paragraphs.You should use short, concise quotations in your answers, but you will not have a Works Cited page attached to your exam. Indicate where in the text your quotation comes from with the context (i.e. In The Namesake…) and include a page number in parentheses if applicable.You may use any of the following literary texts in your answers:
First Half of the Semester:
Crevecouer’s “What is an American”Bread Givers“The New Colossus”“Prospective Immigrants Please Note” Mrs. Spring Fragrance
(any of the short stories)“Coming Home Again”“Native Speaker”No-No Boy “No Name Woman”The Namesake“The Overcoat”Master of NoneSecond Half of the Semester:
Pnin“Aria” Anzaldua readings (“To Take a Wild Tongue,” “To Live in the Borderlands,” “Sea of Cabbages” Under the Feet of JesusSleep DealerBe creative when choosing the texts to write on for each question! Sometimes the most interesting analysis will come from a less obvious choice.Fill in your answers on the document and save it according to this format:
[YourLastName].[YourFirstName].Final.docxYour Name: Michelle WagmeisterFinal Questions1) From Sara Smolinsky to Estrella, our reading list is bookended with “coming of age” stories centered on young women. In between, we have read a number texts that discuss the challenges faced by immigrant men and women, young and old, in America. Choosing two characters of different genders from two different works, compare how these depictions comment on the ways in which gender affects the immigrant experience.2) Most of the works we have read this semester include lengthy, detailed descriptions of spaces with symbolic importance. In Under the Feet of Jesus, Viramontes’s narrative seems to return again and again to the old barn that Perfecto is supposed to tear down. What does this barn represent and how is it important to the themes developed in the novel?3) In his autobiographical essay “Aria,” Richard Rodriguez develops an argument against bilingual education based on the distinction between private, intimate language and public language. Choose a text from a different author and argue whether or not that author would agree with Rodriguez’s conclusions based on your reading of that other text.4) While our discussions this semester have centered on a number of different themes that run through the various works we have read, one issue we have not really explored is the use of humor and its relation to hardship and discrimination. Compare how two characters in different texts use humor as either a coping mechanism or as a way of subverting authority (or both). How do these works demonstrate the value (or futility) of humor within the immigrant experience?5) While we began the semester discussing American identity in terms of the “beautiful, clean emptiness” of Sara Smolinsky’s apartment, in some of the works we have read, American identity has been expressed in just the opposite way: through acquiring “stuff.” Compare how two of the texts we have read discuss/promote/critique the connection between American identity and consumerism.6) In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois uses the concept of “double consciousness” to describe modern African American identity:
One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
In class, we used this concept to discuss the theme of doubling in No-No Boy. Using two other works, analyze how these other authors have confirmed or complicated the idea of “two-ness” in immigrant identity.
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