ENG 1120 Study Guide - Summer 2018, Comprehensive Midterm Notes - Miss Havisham, Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

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ENG 1120
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
Fall 2018
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ENG 1120: Prose Fiction
Unit 1: Short Stories Part 1
“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” - Ernest Hemingway (pg. 153-56)
- [1] How would you explain the process of close reading?
o Close reading: the process of examining a text slowly and carefully in order to
assess its meaning. Look at the significance of observations we make that could
impact the rest of the narrative
Ex. Finding out the old man tried to commit suicide indicates that he has
been suffering but we don’t know why he was suffering
- [2] What steps can we use to identify the themes of a literary text?
o Focusing on different elements of the story:
The use of shadows
The younger waiter’s obsession with doing things quickly
The significance of the café setting, as well as the bar setting in the
final scene
The role that alcohol and coffee play in the story
The fact that none of the characters is given a name
The fact that what is perhaps the only real act of empathy in the story
(the niece’s decision to save the old man during his suicide attempt)
seems to play such a minor role in the narrative
- [3] What is the significance of the title “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”?
o Older waiter views the café as a refuge for the despair, as it is free from loud
music like a bar as well as clean (safe element to the surroundings)
o The café’s cleanliness and good lighting suggest order and clarity, whereas
nothingness is chaotic, confusing, and dark
In a clean, bright café despair can be controlled and even temporarily
forgotten
- [4] What is the importance of the idea of “nothing” in Hemingway’s story?
o The idea of nothingness is overwhelming and leads to despair
Older waiter in his mocking prayers filled with the word nada (nothing in
Spanish), shows that religion is not a viable method of dealing with
despair, and his solution is the same as the old man’s: he waits out the
nighttime in cafes
The ritualistic café-sitting and drinking help people like the old man and
older waiter deal with the despair because it makes like predictable.
Routine is something they can control and manage, unlike the vast
nothingness that surrounds them
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“The Resplendent Quetzal” – Margaret Atwood (p. 236-45) (Slide 13)
- [1] Identify thematic concerns in the first paragraph of the story
o Encounter Sarah who is “sitting near the edge of the sacrificial well” (236)
This suggests two things; that she is first in a position of danger as she
might slip to her death at any moment, and two that it creates an
immediate sense of precariousness and that perhaps she is at risk of
being sacrificed
Also her concerned attitude makes it clear she has no desire to leave
her dangerous place, as though she placed herself there of her own free
will
o This suggests that the larger thematic sense in which she is at risk of sacrifice
might also be the result of her own decisions
o Another important element of the opening lines of the story is the dual
description of the well. The narration tells us that the well is a “sacrificial
well,” but that Sarah “had imagined something smaller, more like a wishing
well”
This suggests that the contrast between expectations and reality play
an important role in the story. Sarah had expected to encounter a place
that fulfills wishes but instead finds herself in a place of sacrifice. Her
expectations of gratification had led her into a position of danger, and
yet she lingers, apparently in no rush to head toward safer ground.
- [2] What role does metaphor play in the story?
o Passage where Edward contemplates his own “need” to see a particular bird.
The Aztecs thought hummingbirds were the souls of dead warriors,
but why not all birds, why just warriors? Or perhaps they were the
souls of the unborn, as some believed. “A jewel, a precious feather,”
they called an unborn baby, according to The Daily Life of the
Aztecs. Quetzal, that was feather. (242)
This passage never uses the phrase, “The quetzal is the unborn baby.”
But by creating a strong conceptual link between the bird and the
baby, this passage establishes a metaphorical relationship. After
reading this passage, we understand the bird in terms of the stillborn
baby whose death haunts Sarah and Edward.
When we see Sarah and Edward longing endlessly for birds
that elude them and for the quetzal itself, which does not even
reside in the area they are visiting, we understand this
desperate search in terms of the traumatizing loss of their baby
during childbirth. The quetzal and the other birds that Edward
seeks seem to hold out the promise of delight, fulfillment, and
new possibilities, yet Sarah and Edward cannot control the
arrival of these birds and cannot escape the fact that the birds
they seek may never appear. By pinning their hopes so firmly
to the promise of fulfillment, Sarah and Edward remain
inevitably unsatisfied, always seeking what they cannot have.
The pain of having lost their baby is so deep that they seem
unable to acknowledge this loss explicitly and instead devote
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Document Summary

A clean, well-lighted place - ernest hemingway (pg. [1] how would you explain the process of close reading: close reading: the process of examining a text slowly and carefully in order to assess its meaning. Look at the significance of observations we make that could impact the rest of the narrative: ex. Finding out the old man tried to commit suicide indicates that he has been suffering but we don"t know why he was suffering. In a clean, bright caf despair can be controlled and even temporarily forgotten. [4] what is the importance of the idea of nothing in hemingway"s story: the idea of nothingness is overwhelming and leads to despair, older waiter in his mocking prayers filled with the word nada (nothing in. Routine is something they can control and manage, unlike the vast nothingness that surrounds them. The resplendent quetzal margaret atwood (p. 236-45) (slide 13)

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