Form VI English Exam: Literary Childhoods, 2014
Monday, May 19
You must write your essay on a computer and submit it to essaytagger:
Choose one question from part I and one question from part II to answer with an eloquent, evidence-rich essay for each. Just to be clear, make sure that you write TWO essays: one from part I and one from part II. You may use anything in a text or on the web to help you write your original essay responses. As this is not a research essay, I hope that you yourself will synthesize these texts and their questions and meanings in your response.
I. Texts to Consider:
Children’s Literature: A Very Short Introduction by Kimberly Reynolds
The Classic Fairy Tales (Norton Critical Edition), Maria Tartar, editor
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
1. Choose three works from the list above (or one story tradition from The Classic Fairy Tales) and analyze the ways that they present the stages to the hero’s quest. You will find Joseph Campbell’s theories about the archetypal hero very helpful here.
2. Choose three works from the list above (or one story tradition from The Classic Fairy Tales) and analyze the role of villains. What do these villains teach us about the nature of evil, adversity, and justice?
3. Hamlet, one of the greatest works of English literature, finds itself on this list with texts not usually in its company. While no one will plausibly argue that Coraline is a more important work of literature than Hamlet, consider how both of those works (and additional pairings) pursue similar interests and questions. Write an essay in which you articulate and analyze how two other works from this list have deep thematic issues and questions related to Hamlet.
(turn over/scroll for part II)
II. Texts to Consider:
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
1. One could argue that both Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess both ask questions about what it means to be a human being. While Alex seems like a monster and not fit to be in society, and while Kathy H., Tommy, and Ruth (as well as their similar companions) are clones and arguably less human, how do these works help us draw conclusions about what it means to be human and/or to have a consciousness? Write an essay in which you articulate a theory of what it means to be human and how these works inform that theory.
2. Both Never Let Me Go and A Clockwork Orange use language in futuristic ways to create certain effects. Analyze the role that language plays in these novels as a way to advance their themes. How does language work with theme in each of the novels? What are the similarities and differences between the two novels in their use of language and theme? Write an essay in which you examine these questions.
3. Both Never Let Me Go and A Clockwork Orange are novels about adolescence and its tribulations and triumphs. Write an essay where you examine the way these two futuristic novels argue for a certain set of attitudes about and theories of adolescence.
Please email me any questions you may have