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Exam Instructions: Passage Analysis and Essay on Selected Stories

Part 1: Passage Analysis (10 marks)

Instructions: Students may look up word definitions online for this exam, but must not do online research or collaborate on their responses. Exams will be checked using for evidence of plagiarism. The exam is due no later than 1:00am on Thursday, December 9th, 2021. Late submissions will not be accepted.


1. Passage Analysis (10 marks): Identify the central theme of the passage below, and explain how the author’s word choices and literary techniques (such as setting, characters, and symbols) help to communicate the theme. Your response should focus only on the extract; there is no need to make reference to the whole story. Be sure to identify the title of the story and its author. Your response should be at least 150 words in length, and quotations should be followed by MLA-style in-text citations: eg. (Smith 1). Double-space your writing.

Gregor had almost entirely stopped eating. Only if he happened to find himself next to the food that had been prepared for him he might take some of it into his mouth to play with it, leave it there a few hours and then, more often than not, spit it out again. At first he thought it was distress at the state of his room that stopped him eating, but he had soon got used to the changes made there. They had got into the habit of putting things into this room that they had no room for anywhere else, and there were now many such things as one of the rooms in the flat had been rented out to three gentlemen. These earnest gentlemen—all three of them had full beards, as Gregor learned peering through the crack in the door one day—were painfully insistent on things’ being tidy. This meant not only in their own room but, since they had taken a room in this establishment, in the entire flat and especially in the kitchen. Unnecessary clutter was something they could not tolerate, especially if it was dirty. They had moreover brought most of their own furnishings and equipment with them. For this reason, many things had become superfluous which, although they could not be sold, the family did not wish to discard. All these things found their way into Gregor’s room. The dustbins from the kitchen found their way in there too. The charwoman was always in a hurry, and anything she couldn’t use for the time being she would just chuck in there. He, fortunately, would usually see no more than the object and the hand that held it. The woman most likely meant to fetch the things back out again when she had time and the opportunity, or to throw everything out in one go, but what actually happened was that they were left where they landed when they had first been thrown unless Gregor made his way through the junk and moved it somewhere else. At first he moved it because, with no other room free where he could crawl about, he was forced to, but later on he came to enjoy it although moving about in that way left him sad and tired to death, and he would remain immobile for hours afterwards.

The gentlemen who rented the room would sometimes take their evening meal at home in the living room that was used by everyone, and so the door to this room was often kept closed in the evening. But Gregor found it easy to give up having the door open, he had, after all, often failed to make use of it when it was open and, without the family having noticed it, lain in his room in its darkest corner. One time, though, the charwoman left the door to the living room slightly open, and it remained open when the gentlemen who rented the room came in in the evening and the light was put on. They sat up at the table where, formerly, Gregor had taken his meals with his father and mother, they unfolded the serviettes and picked up their knives and forks.


2. Essay (20 marks): making reference to the three stories listed below, select one topic from the list and write a multi-paragraph essay of approximately 400 to 500 words in length.  Consider theme, character, symbolism, and setting in the stories chosen. The best responses will demonstrate a clear conceptual focus from start to finish and will draw direct comparisons and contrasts between three of the following stories: “Death by Landscape,” “Hills Like White Elephants,” “Borders,” “Paul’s Case,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “The Enormous Radio” and “Grief”.

a) Dreams and Memories
b) Isolation
c) Power and Freedom

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