Part I: Close Reading and Analysis
You must do a close reading and analysis of 2 of the 4paragraphs below (300-400 words for EACH Q). You should explain key aspects of the quote, cite it directly in your answer, and explain its relationship to the larger topics/themes/ideas/contexts discussed in class. Each question will be marked out of 25 for a total of 50% of the exam grade.
1) “Well, clear this out now!” said the overseer, and they buried the hunger artist, straw and all. Into the cage they put a young panther. Even the most insensitive felt it refreshing to see this wild creature leaping around the cage that had so long been dreary. The panther was all right. The food he liked was brought to him without hesitation by the attendants; he seemed not even to miss his freedom; his noble body, furnished almost to the bursting point with all that it needed, seemed to carry freedom around with it too; somewhere it its jaws it seemed to lurk; and the joy of life streamed with such ardent passion from his throat that for the onlookers it was not easy to stand the shock of it. But they braced themselves, crowded round the cage, and did not ever want to look away.
3) “Jim and Irene Westcott were the kind of people who seem to strike that satisfactory average of income, endeavor, and respectability that is reached by the statistical reports in college alumni bulletins. They were the parents of two young children, they had been married nine years, they lived on the twelfth floor of an apartment building near Sutton Place, they went to the theatre on an average of 10.3 times a year, and they hoped someday to love in Westchester. Irene Westcott was a pleasant, rather plain girl with soft brown hair and a wide, fine forehead upon which nothing at all had been written, and in the cold weather she wore a coat of fitch skins dyed to resemble mink.”
SECTION II: Short Essay Question (50 marks)
Please write a short essay (400-500 words approximately) on 1 of the following 3 questions. Successful essays will have a clear introduction, arguable thesis, logical essay structure, and be grammatically sound. Strong papers will also be able to provide direct citation from the stories as supporting evidence for their claims. Essays should have a minimum of two body paragraphs and four direct quotes. A Works Cited is not required. Each essay will be marked out of 50 for a total of 50% of the exam grade.
3) In his story “Signs and Symbols,” Vladimir Nabokov uses the setting of the story, and the objects contained with in it, to produce a feeling of looming disaster in the mind of the reader. With as much specificity as possible, and by quoting the story directly, please explain how Nabokov’s use of these signs and symbols is related to his support for the Formalist school of literary theory. Do you think that an interpretation of a story should exclude contexts outside of the text, why or why not?