Final Exam

General Instructions: You will write three one-hour essays for this exam.

Be sure that each essay includes a clear central point. Support your argument with copious, well-chosen references to the text. Other evidence (e.g. from your research in writing papers) is welcome but not required. Be sure we know where your ideas are coming from. Be specific. Be clever. Avoid plot summary.

  1. Viola and Tommo both find themselves marooned in foreign lands. Viola stays. Tommo leaves. Viola works. Tommo plays. We could go on. Why are their responses so different? What is the most important factor in these differences: their personalities? the environment? the author's aims? State a thesis about the differences between Tommo and Viola and support it with a wealth of specific detail.
  2. Both Mary Rowlandson's narrative and Kafka's stories end with an ending after the ending. That is, something happens after the main action is over: Mary Rowlandson lies awake thinking; Gregor's parents notice Grete's strength and beauty, and the Hunger Artist's visitors see an amazing panther. What is the effect of these seemingly pointless or extra details? Drawing on a close reading of two of the above endings, explain what you think this ending-after-an-ending accomplishes.
  3. This course has introduced a number of areas in which characters test their ideas about what is prohibited and what is permitted for them: domains such as food, religion, sex, marriage, family relationships (siblings, parents), career choices, education, freedom to speak or write. Choose one of these areas to examine more closely in relation to a single character or episode in Anita Desai's Fasting, Feasting. You may, if you wish, consider how the Rozin/Fallon article on disgust illuminates the novel.