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ENGLISH 1A03 Study Guide - Final Guide: My Last Duchess, The Things They Carried, The Yellow Wallpaper

Course Code
Jeffery Donaldson
Study Guide

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1. For the next hour assume the role of a detective, assembling evidence in support of a
reading. Write on TWO poems.
-like first essay
2. Sacrifices bring reward. Argue for or against this statement using as evidence
THREE stories from the course.
-A Doll’s House - Kezia sacrifices appearance/dignity and risks getting in trouble
by bringing the Kelveys to see the doll house - Reward is doing the right thing/
fighting the class system/including the Kelveys in the doll house experience
-Sonny’s Blues - by sacrificing drugs, Sonny can be included in his brother’s
family and rebuild past relationships, while continuing on with his music career
-A Good Man is Hard to Find - A WHAT IF EXAMPLE - if the grandmother had
sacrificed her selfish desires and dignity by staying away from the mansion she
asked the family to go look for, she might have saved their lives/ if she had
demonstrated to the Misfit that she was a good person by sacrificing her life to
save the family, he might have been more lenient
-Cathedral - the narrator sacrifices his limited way of thinking/narrow
mindset/preconceptions by allowing the blind man to expand his mindset in
helping him experience what it is like to be someone else; his reward is an
epiphany/ an expanded way of thinking/ a connection between himself and the
blind man - likely the narrator’s life became infinitely better after his experience
with the blind man
-The Things They Carried - Ted Lavender’s (unwilling) sacrifice of his life brought
the reward of more lives saved - After Lavender’s death, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross
is woken up to the fact that he needs to stop daydreaming about Martha and pay
attention to his unit/team/I don’t even know, because he feels responsible for
Lavender’s death - the whole story is about soldiers’ sacrifice for their country,
but it is implied that the sacrifice is for nothing “it was just the endless march,
village to village, without purpose, nothing won or lost.” (p. 331)
-Tricks - Both Daniel and Robin sacrificed their “lives” in taking care of their
siblings, who for different reasons were unable to take care of themselves - the
reward is society’s admiration for them giving up so much for their siblings, and
the happiness of their siblings
3. A bildungsroman is a story of a person’s development within a defined social order. It
can be thought of as the coming of age of that person. Discuss how THREE stories
studied in the course serve as a bildungsroman.
bildungsroman: focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from
youth to adulthood (coming of age), in which character change is extremely important.
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-Sonny’s Blues - The protagonist (older brother) frequently references back to
when he was realizing his younger brother, Sonny, was getting older - in Sonny’s
“coming of age” period, it is assumed he began drugs (or begins getting into
them heavily), he wishes for more independence, wants to leave his hometown
and has decided on music as his passion - Older brother realizes Sonny is
growing older without him realizing: thinks the music is a phase, notices his
height and that he is shaving, Sonny smokes in front of him - Older brother talks
about the growing up every kid (in this area and time period) experiences:
becoming aware of the “darkness” (the experiences black people endure through
their lives), realizing there is a “ceiling of their actual possibilities” (p. 183) they
can’t pass, trying drugs, etc
-A Rose For Emily - Emily probably turned out a little fucked up because of how
her “coming of age” was negatively impacted by her father standing over her -
since she was unable to form normal social bonds with people while growing, she
is especially vulnerable to Homer’s rejection - her lack of experience with men
allowed her to get her hopes up too high for marriage, made her unable to
recognize Homer as gay, and ended with her deciding that no man would leave
her again by making Homer unable to leave her… as a corpse - this story shows
how Emily’s improper “development within social order” led to gruesome events
-Tricks - Robin’s “coming of age” is affected by living with her older sister - she is
inexperienced with men, as is noted in her lack of interest - it is likely that her
lack of exposure to relationships made her fleeting moments with Daniel much
more intense, and important to her - this makes the disappointment felt much
stronger when “Daniel” shoos her away, and one could argue this event was the
finishing touch to her “coming of age”, as Robin matures intensely after this point
in the story to become a strong, independent woman
-A Doll’s House, A Good Man is Hard to Find have small elements of “coming of
age” due to the inclusion of children - A Doll’s House demonstrates the impact of
socialization on the children in keeping class systems ongoing through
generations - A Good Man is Hard to Find, if viewed as a parable of the judgment
day, shows how the “coming of age” of the children did not happen well, as they
turned out as spoiled brats (and so are punished for it)
-Cathedral and The Things They Carried also have small elements of “coming of
age”, as the protagonists turn out the way they are due to their period of
maturation - protagonist in Cathedral somehow ended up as “blind” in his
mindset - the soldiers in The Things They Carried are “coming of age” in war, and
so their morals are being strongly affected
4. During the first class we discussed the idea that “anything can be poetry.” Choose a
paragraph or section of TWO SHORT STORIES and argue that they are themselves
poetry of a sort.
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-The Story of an Hour - honestly, every paragraph is poetic, I’ll pick a couple
There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it,
What was it? She did not know;
it was too subtle and elusive to name.
But she felt it,
creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through
the sounds,
the scents,
the color
that filled the air.
-Everyone likes the FREE FREE FREE one so….
Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously.
She was beginning to recognize
this thing
that was approaching to possess her,
and she was striving to beat it back with her will
--as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been.
When she abandoned herself
a little
escaped her slightly parted lips.
She said it over and over under her breath:
"free, free, free!"
The vacant stare and the look of terror
that had followed it
went from her eyes.
They stayed keen and bright.
Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood
and relaxed
every inch of her body.
-The Story of an Hour - Kate Chopin uses punctuation to give rhythm to her
poem, even imitating perceived enjambments many times - imagery is seen
throughout, extra descriptive words in almost every sentence - emotion is
personified (“possessing”) - lack of dialogue helps the story more resemble
poetry - the paragraph is an “experience” - poems focus on “how” not
“what”, the protagonist’s experience is felt not fully explained - short stories
are contained within “house”, like poetry - poetry is like a painting (what do I
see, how do these elements fit together), short stories are like a series of
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