Examination #2 (Short Fiction)
Deductive Examination #2 (English 103 – Summer 2015)
Explain in at least two paragraphs how the following author uses fictional techniques to give the reader a vivid sense of the central character: “Girl” (Jamaica Kincaid)
In at least two paragraphs explain three ways that fiction draws the reader into another world, surprises the reader, and absorbs the reader’s attention with examples from “Lusus Naturae” (Margaret Atwood).
Explain in at least two paragraphs how the author uses exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution in the following story to captivate and intrigue the reader: “Roman Fever” (Edith Wharton).
Review the study questions that follow each story in our text. Identify at least two questions that you found to be difficult if not impossible to answer, and explain why.
Question for Girl” – Jamaica Kincaid
1. Describe the focus or focalization in Girl. Do we see what one person sees, or observe one person in particular? Describe the voice of the narrator in Girl. Who is the “you”? How do the focus and voice contribute to the reader’s response to the story?
2. Look closely at the indications of time in the story. What actions take place at certain times? Does any event or action happen only once? Is there a plot in Girl? If so, how would you summarize it?
3. The instructions in Girl have different qualities, as if they come from different people or have different purposes. Why are two phrases in italics? Can you pick out the phrases that are more positive from the girl’s point of view? Are there some that seem humorous or ironic?
Question for “Lusus Naturae” – Margaret Atwood
1. How and why does the protagonist’s attitude toward her own situation change over the course of the story? How and why does she paradoxically become more alive and powerful after she “dies” and as she becomes more and more “invisible”?
2. Why does she nonetheless choose to make herself “visible” at the story’s conclusion (par. 30)? What new insight might this episode provide into both her character and situation, on the one hand, and “normal” human behavior, on the other? How, for example, might the conclusion complicate the idea that the story is exclusively about illness or disability and our attitudes toward it?
3. What conflicts does the protagonist’s condition create for the story’s other characters? How do they each understand that condition? How might the story encourage us to view their attitudes and behaviors?
Question for “Roman Fever” – Edith Wharton
1. What are the first hints of submerged conflict between Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley? What details in part 1 bring out the differences in their personalities and their lives? How has their relationship changed by the end, and how do the last six paragraphs of the story show the change?
2. Discuss how dramatic irony plays out in Roman Fever. What is the full story that neither Mrs. Slade nor Mrs. Ansley knows? What prompts the two ladies to reveal what they know to each other?
3. In part 2, Mrs. Slade remembers how earlier generations tried to protect their daughters in Rome. What are the similarities and differences between the older women’s memories and the daughters’ current experiences of courtship in Italy?