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This 3 page Study Guide was uploaded by Hayley Nguyen on Sunday May 8, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ENG150 at La Salle University taught by Maribel W. Molyneux in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Literature in Foreign Language at La Salle University.
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Date Created: 05/08/16
Midterm Exam Part I: 4. What is the central theme of Alice Walker’s Everyday Use? Show how Walker illustrates that theme through a pair of old quilts. The central theme of short story Everyday Use by Alice Walker is the meaning of legacy and cultural heritage. Walker illustrates the theme by showing the ignorance of Dee about the symbols of heritage, the quilts. Dee rejected her real heritage by adopting a new name, new clothes and misunderstanding about the real one. She did not know how quilts are made and the material used to make them but ironically she still pretended to deeply understand. The old quilts carried their legacy and living history of African Americans. Alice Walkers has made a point that who can truly appreciate and understand legacy and heritage will deserve it and the one who only tries to show off their shallow idea about it will never learn to respect it. 5. Describe one of the conflicts in Justin Cronin’s “The Last of the Leaves”. Is this resolved by the end of the story? Explain your answer. One of the conflict in the last of the leaves is the secret love of Arthur for the woman named Dora Auclaire he met in the office. He used to have feelings for her and wrote a letter for her with only a sentence “Dear Dora” and has never sent it. He hide it from his wife and children and that made him feel sinful against his marriage. This conflict was solved in the end of the story. When the car accident happened, Arthur thought of his wife Miriam sitting beside him in the car, about his family, his son and daughter that he realized he never love her at all and decided to wash her from his memory, never hold her hand, never thought of being alone with her. When imagining about his parents’ death in the accident, O Neil saw them holding hands. 6. What does the Golden Carp represent in Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless me Ultima? The Golden Carp in Bless me Ultima represents the spiritual power that does not relate to Catholicism. It was described as a powerful and magical new God of forgiveness that at first made Antonio doubt about the existence of Catholic God but eventually helped him realize that there are more than one religious beliefs that all lead people to better world. The golden carp not only represents his struggle in finding his own faith but also is the symbol of wisdom and power of Native Americans' heritage that Antonio shared. Part II: 4. "Bless me, Ultima" This fragment belongs to the novel Bless me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. This is what Antonio said to Ultima in the end of the novel before her death. This proves that there is a big change in Antonio's perception about religious belief system. He begins to appreciate the spiritual value of Ultima's mythological power like he honored the power of Catholic God so he asked to be blessed by her. Ultima blessed him in the name of all good, strong and beautiful. As he said "Bless me, Ultima", he has grown up to understand and accept loss and death as a changing part and sequence of life. Even though Ultima would not be around to guide him, he will still feel her presence and use the lesson he learned from her to make his own moral decision. 6. “O’Neil’s fine too. Don’t you worry? You go get Jack, okay? He’ll be waiting for you. Everything’s all right. I love you, sweetheart.” This fragment belongs to The Last of the Leaves, the first chapter of Mary and O' Neil by Justin Cronin. This is spoken by Miriam to her daughter Kay before her car accident. Miriam and her daughter never get along but before Miriam died, they finally had a sweet conversation with each other. This conversation shows there is a deep connection between daughter and mom because Kay can feel something happened to her mom and kept asking her if everything is alright. Miriam hide the truth about her breast cancer by saying everything is alright. Miriam seemed to never consider Kay as an important child as well as to show her some love before but in the end both said "I love you" to each other which were the last words of Miriam to Kay. This brings a good ending for their motherdaughter relationship which expresses one of the theme of the novel: marriage and family relationship. 7. “The weights fell off; there was nothing to bear.” This sentence belongs to the short story The things they carried by Tim O' Brien. When they dreamt about the bird of freedom, they felt they are flying and carried no more burdens. The supplies the soldiers carried during the war define themselves and revealed about their emotional burdens they bear. They had carried love, guilt, fear and longing. As their young age, facing death, losing friends and killing men are horrible experience to them. So in their imagination, when "the weights fell off" and "there was nothing to bear", they were free from the violence and the fear of death. They are happy to be relieved when it was over. This emphasizes the physical and emotional burdens of the war that young soldiers had suffered from and made them aspire freedom so much. Part III: In The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien has illustrated each soldier's emotional burdens, fear and weakness through the physical subjects they carried during the war to create the concept of death space. Vietnam is an ambiguously mysterious and deathly space to the soldiers in which a little of negligence and stupidity can lead to death immediately. The things the soldiers carried represents their illusion of safety in the place full of danger and death. Beside something necessary for the war like morphine, malaria tablets, supplies for serious wounds, guns, grenades, they also carried personal stuffs that bring comfort. For example, Henry Dobblin carries his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck because he is superstitious. Nervous Ted Lavender carries marijuana and tranquilizers to calm himself down. Kiowa carries an illustrated New Testament, a gift from his father, a religious book to protect himself. Death space is Vietnam, the land itself, the soil, the harsh weather, the diseases that they carried. It is the place where young men had to kill each other, to living in fear and the boundary of death and alive. The things they carried are not only physical equipment and weapons but also intangible figures. These intangible things are emotional loads, terror, love, guilt, fear and shame. For example, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is the one who carried love, guilt and terror. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried his girlfriend's love letter, photos and pebble the lucky charm to escape from the terrified truth of the war to his fantasy about Martha and love. By daydreaming about his love for her, he created a world from the things they carried to protect himself from the burden and harshness of deathly war. He also carried the weights of guilt. He blamed himself for his negligence and distraction that he believed was responsible for Ted Lavender's death. He started to hate Martha and gave up on love to lead. War had made him suffer from feelings of guilty for deaths of men that he would not be able to live a normal life again. This shows how the horrors of the Vietnam War can make men incorrigibly weary and pessimistic. The images of blood and death bodies will become an obsession that is haunting to anyone who experience the violence of war and the death space. The concept of death space is formed by the physical and psychological burdens soldiers suffered from the war that left them with unhealable wound for the rest of their life. Death space is the senseless battle where no one is the winner and everyone is the victims of loss and terror.
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