Literature Final

Because your time is limited, I will NOT require you to CITE the sources of those quotes and paraphrases. In other words, you should NOT bother to include parenthetical (or “in-text”) citations or a works cited page. (Still, it helps if you cite the source INFORMALLY, by simply providing page numbers for quotes and paraphrases, maybe in parentheses, in the sentence itself.)

However, if you import quotes or paraphrases from OUTSIDE SOURCES (that is, sources beyond our textbook and course materials like the Discussion Board), you MUST CITE them, using proper MLA format, meaning that you must include parenthetical citations and a works cited page, so that I can easily find your source and review it. Incomplete or incorrect citation format will lower your grade. In addition–if you use outside sources–you must be careful to do the following: 1) Use no more than ONE outside source, total, for the exam. 2) Select the source very carefully. If you use an inappropriate or untrustworthy or biased source, your grade will suffer. Your best bet, always, is to use our Roane State Library online databases. Avoid Web sites. 3) Don’t be tempted to use outside sources without citing them. Failure to cite is plagiarism–which brings major penalties: a score of zero on the exam. (I should remind you that I’ve activated the automatic plagiarism checker. The checker does not distinguish between work copied from someone else and work copied from a paper you yourself have written for another class. Severe penalties apply in both cases.)

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But remember that this is a test, NOT A RESEARCH PROJECT. Your task is to show your understanding of our textbook and our online discussions. I do NOT encourage or expect you to use outside sources. The only sources you need for this exam are your textbook and our class Discussion Board.

Finally, proofread very carefully: your writing matters, including punctuation, spelling, mechanics.

QUESTION In several of the works we’ve read this semester, fathers or grandfathers offer advice to their children or grandchildren. Sometimes this paternal guidance is spoken directly, sometimes shared through example. In Faulkner’s story “Barn Burning,” Snopes tells his son Sarty, “You’re getting to be a man. You got to learn. You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you” (Volume D, 774). In the “Battle Royal” chapter of Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man, the unnamed narrator’s grandfather tells the family, “our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy’s country ever since I give up my gun back in the Reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion’s mouth. I want you to overcome ‘em with yeses, undermine ‘em with grins, agree ‘em to death and destruction, let ‘em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open” (Volume E, 197). And in Robert Hayden’s poem “Those Winter Sundays,” the father’s guidance is given not through words but through example (Volume E, 155).

In a well-organized essay answer of between 600 and 900 words, describe how each of the three younger family members in each of these three works responds to the guidance. Do they understand the guidance? Do they respect and do their best to follow the guidance? Or do they not understand the advice, or ignore it, or actively push against it? How do you know? What specific evidence from the works reveals the responses of the younger family members? And, finally, do your best to explain the reasons behind the younger family members’ decisions. Why does the son or grandson either accept or misunderstand or reject the guidance?

A good answer will make clear the meaning of the paternal advice in the context of the story or poem. What, specifically, does the father or grandfather mean? Why does he say it? (In the case of Robert Hayden’s poem, the advice is not spoken, so you’ll need to make inferences about why, in your judgement, the father behaves as he does—why the father sets the example he does.) Then your task will be to describe the younger family member’s response to the advice, as well as the reasons for that response, supporting your conclusions with specific evidence from the work.

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER: Faulkner’s story is probably the most forthright of these three works. Still, explaining the reasons behind Sarty’s response to his father’s advice will be challenging, and will require making some educated guesses. For Ellison’s story, it’s impossible to assess the grandson’s response to his grandfather’s advice without having your own clear understanding of what the grandfather means. Looking carefully at the narrator’s response to the gift given him after the “Battle Royal” may help you assess the young man’s ability to understand and accept his grandfather’s message. Look closely, too, at the narrator’s dream, which does a good job of capturing the grandfather’s thinking. Finally, for Hayden’s poem, you’ll have to be careful to show how the specific language and imagery of the poem reveal the son’s response.

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