Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mid-Term Examination

AP English
Mid-Term Examination
January 11, 2010
Essay questions should be answered in the blue book. I would advise at least two pages per answer. Introductory paragraphs should have a clear thesis statement that expresses the major point affirmed and supported in the body of the essay. All generalizations should be backed up with specific references to the respective text.

1. In Kate Chopin's “The Awakening” (1899), protagonist Edna Pontellier is said to possess "That outward existence which conforms, the inward life that questions." In Richard Bausch‘s novel, Peace, identify a character who outwardly conforms while questioning inwardly. Then write an essay in which you analyze how this tension between outward conformity and inward questioning contributes to the meaning of Bausch’s novel. Make particular reference to the novel’s conclusion and its meaning to the work as a whole.
2. Critic Roland Barthes has said, "Literature is the question minus the answer." Considering Barthes' observation, write an essay in which you analyze a central question raised in Tobias Wolff’s novel, Old School, and the extent to which it offers answers. Explain how the author's treatment of this question affects your understanding of the work as a whole.
3. Works of literature often depict characters fighting against social or moral hierarchies that they find oppressive. Explore how this kind of battle takes place in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, how it shapes the work as a whole, and how such a fight is resolved by the close of the play.
Poem Critique:
In a well-organized essay, explain how the poetic techniques of this poem express the speaker’s attitude to his subject.
Samurai Song

by Robert Pinsky

When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had no
Mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.

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