Directions:  Pick three of the four following essay prompts.  Write an essay of approximately 300 words in your response to each question.  Please make use of only your class notes and our texts while writing this exam, and use textual evidence to support your answers (cite our texts, and only our texts).

  1. Beloved by Toni Morrison is based on the life of a runaway slave.  Who was this woman, and where does the novel/historical event take place?  Identify and discuss a major theme in Morisson’s depiction of the life of a runaway slave, and do the same for one of the poems of the civil rights movement available on our course website (under the “Course Materials” tab) by Brooks, Hughes, Komunyakaa, or Randall.  Compare and contrast how Morrison and your chosen poet discuss race in America.


  1. Pick two unreliable narrators in two separate novels. First, prove them unreliable with textual evidence (show how the narrator describes something and then, separately, what you think actually happened) and second, discuss how Ishiguro, Morrison, or Kesey use their unreliability to explore or reveal important questions about culture, society, and the human condition.


  1. Discuss the historical context of Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant. What period does the novel discuss, and what does the novel have to say about it?  Since it’s our most recent novel, yet set furthest in the past, how is Ishiguro’s depiction of that time culturally relevant today?  Pick two characters in The Buried Giant and explore the motivation that drives them throughout the novel: connect their individual journey/struggle with the larger cultural/historical struggle on which Ishiguro based his book.


  1. At the center of all three of these novels are human relationships. Pick two relationships in two separate novels (Bromden and McMurphy, for example, or Sethe and Paul D), describe the relationships, and track how each relationship changes throughout the novel.  Note it doesn’t have to be a “good” relationship; antagonistic relationships, such as McMurphy’s and Ratched’s, also qualify.  Using specific textual evidence, connect the changes that occur within each relationship to a theme you consider important to the novel.