10/17/2016

【文讀】assignment 1: deadline (10/31)


Write an essay (250-300 words) based on ONE of the following questions:

  1. In Anton Chekhov'e "The Lady with the Dog," what is Gurov's attitude toward his affair with Anna at the outset? What is Anna's attitude? What are some indications that both Gurov and Anna are unprepared for the relationship that develops between them?
  2. in James Joyce's "Araby," how do the first three paragraphs characterize the environment in which the narrator lives?
  3. Discuss the denotation and connotations of the word "fever" in Edith Wharton's short story. How do these layers of connotation contribute to the theme of the story?
  4. In "A Jury of Her Peers," Mrs. Peters is "married to the law" (in the form of her husband the sheriff), whereas Mrs. Hale is married to the farmer who first discovered the murder. In what ways, including dress, speech and manners, action, and attitude, are the two visiting women alike or different? In what ways do they identify with or distance themselves from the absent wife, Mrs. Wright? How and why do the men and women take sides separately or together?
  5. In your experience of reading Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birth-Mark," do you think that Aylmer's actions are justifiable? Do you admire or disapprove of him? What main ideas--themes--does the author explore? 
**** Pay attention to the word count. Late submission within 7 days will receive the 90% discount of grade. Late submission beyond 7 days and less than minimum word count will receive no grade. 


5/23/2016

【文讀assignment #2】Love and Death in Emily Dickinson, John Donne, and Andrew Marvell (deadline: 6/13)

Love and Death, by Hans Baldung Grien (c.1484-1545) 

Write an essay (250-300 words) based on the following question:

If there exist some common motifs among Dickinson, Donne, and Marvell, they must be love and death. Obsessed with death, these poets use different ways to depict their relationship with the Grim Reaper. Besides death, love (be it religious or secular) is another recurrent theme of these three poets. Among the poems we discussed so far, pick one to analyze any of these themes. Or you can compare two or even three poets' different strategies (i.e. metaphysical conceits, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, etc.) to approach these themes. Explain why you think these strategies are ingenious and unconventional.

5/18/2016

【英史assignment #3】Sylvia Townsend Warner's Mr. Fortune's Maggot (deadline: 6/3)


Write an essay (250-300 words) based on ONE of the following questions:

   1)   Discuss Sylvia Townsend Warner’s ingenious use of “failure” as an alternative way of thinking that is linked to an awareness of racial and religious “difference.” How can a story of a loser be a critique of Christian imperialism or European colonialism?


   2)   As a lesbian writer, Sylvia Townsend Warner intentionally subverts the conventional gender norms and stereotypes by creating queer characters whose gender ambiguities defy traditional gender expectations. Discuss Mr. Fortune and Leuli’s gender ambiguity in the novel. How does their gender ambiguity open up a possibility that the world can be different (from the existing patriarchal society)?

4/20/2016

【英史assignment #2】Heart of Darkness & The Hours (deadline: 5/4)

Write an essay (250-300 words) based on ONE of the following questions:

1. In Heart of Darkness, what does Kurtz represent to Marlow? Why does Marlow want to meet Kurtz? What does Marlow learn from his meeting with Kurtz?

2. Discuss Heart of Darkness as a quest narrative. In what way is this a journey into the self? What does it mean to enouncter the "heart of darkness?" How do the African people and landscape reflect Marlow's state of mind?


3. In the movie The Hours (adapted from Michael Cunningham's 1999 Pulitzer-winning novel of the same name), the lives of three women of different generations are interwoven with one another. Inspired by Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Cunningham creates characters whose characteristics and traits are drawn from the major characters in Mrs. Dalloway. Discuss the major characters in The Hours. How are they different from or similar with the characters in Mrs. Dalloway?

4. If one of the themes of Mrs. Dalloway is about guarding the privacy of one's soul against the violation of institutional violence (be it love in the form of normative marriage, religion, medical-psychiatric institutions, militarism, etc.), how is this theme explored in The Hours?

4/11/2016

【文讀assignment #1】Family: An Album (deadline: 4/24)

Write an essay (250-300 words) based on ONE of the following questions:
  1.  Compare the portrayal of the parent-child relationship in any two poems in our week 8’s readings, focusing especially on the poems’ tones and themes.
  2. What words in Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays” suggest the son’s feelings toward his father and his home? What words indicate that his attitudes have changed since the time depicted in the poem? Write an essay in which you compare the speaker’s feelings, as a youth and then later as a man, about his father and his home.
  3. Kelly Cherry’s “Alzheimer’s” uses contrasts—especially before and after—to characterize the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. What evidence does the poem provide about what the man used to be like? What specific changes have come about? How does the setting of the poem suggest some of those changes?
  4. Jimmy Santiago Baca’s “Green Chile” uses different chiles to symbolize different generations’ attitudes toward Mexican culture. What different qualities do the red and green chiles have? Which words in the poem help personify the chiles? How fully do these words reflect the differences between the speaker and the grandmother?

3/16/2016

【英史assignment #1】The Picture of Dorian Gray (deadline: 4/20)


Discuss the differences between Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and the 2009 movie adaptation of the novel. How are they different? Which version has the most impact upon you or appeals to you the most? Why? Write an essay of 250-300 words.

12/21/2015

Assignment # 3: Flannery O'Connor's violent epiphany (deadline 1/4/2016)


In her short stories, Flannery O’Connor brings her characters to a moment of epiphany when it is no longer possible for them to return to the old ways of life.The proud are humbled, the ignorant are enlightened, and the hypocritical are forced to recognize that the discrepancy between their smug surface and its hollow spirituality is the proof of their inadequacy in the eyes of God.  For O’Connor, this epiphanal moment can only be achieved by violence and destruction: “In my own stories I have found that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace….  We hear many complaints about the prevalence of violence in modern fiction, and it is always assumed that this violence is a bad thing and meant to be an end in itself.  With the serious writer, violence is never an end in itself.  It is the extreme situation that best reveals what we are essentially” (“On Her Own Work”).

In the three stories we read (“A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” “Good Country People,” “Everything That Rises Must Converge”), can you find any “moments of epiphany” which are produced in extreme violent situations? How do these violent situations “reveal” the hidden message of God? What mysterious transformations have the characters undergone when they are shocked into an awareness of their smug ignorance? Write an essay of 250-300 words.