The test consists of you writing one essay response to one of the following questions. As with your previous essay, you must use proper essay structure. For the test, you can use your book. The questions have already been posted on Brightspace, which gives you time to prepare your response; as a result, my expectations are higher for this test than they would be otherwise. I encourage you to prepare notes for the essay, be it jot notes outlining your structure or even rough drafts. For the test, you can bring in a sheet with your thesis statement (not your introductory paragraph), and your 3-4 supporting points in jot note form. This will be handed in with the test, and part of your mark will be based on this.
When it comes to preparing, I would recommend that you pick a topic that interests you, that you establish your thesis/argument, that you chart out 3-4 argumentative points that can serve as your paragraphs and help to support that thesis, and that you find the relevant passages/quotations that you will use for support in your essay.
When it comes to quoting from the text in the test, shorter passages can be quoted in their entirety, while longer passages (anything more than three lines) can be quoted with the first few words, an ellipsis, and then the last words, e.g. “I have perhaps not yet learnt enough … now with my other eyes” (161-62). If you use the editions used in class, then you do not need to include the publication information at the end of the test; however, if you do use another text or printout, you must include the publication information (you will lose points if you do not).
Just to reiterate, you can bring your books (or printouts if you do not have a paper copy). You can also bring your thesis statement and your 3-4 supporting points in jot note form. While writing out extended notes and/or drafts can be helpful prior to the test, they cannot be out during the test. Some students have requested the use of dictionaries for language reference, and this is acceptable. Laptops and phones are not allowed; if either are out during the test, your test will be taken away and you will receive an automatic zero.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
1. How does Kafka explore the dynamics between father and son in “The
Judgement?” How does the story contradict one’s typical expectations of stories involving conflict between the generations? To what ends?
2. How does Kafka explore the surreal and unexplained in “A Country Doctor?”
How might the story be felt to explore the inherent absurdity and the inherent lack of meaning to life and to the world around us? How does the doctor simply go along with events rather than really responding to them? To what ends?
3. How does Kafka explore the abuses of power and the unimpeachability of
Government forces in “The Penal Colony?” In what ways does the story outline the ways that power structures can lead to the dehumanization and brutalization of the other? How do these structures negatively affect powerful and powerless alike? To what ends?
4. How does Kafka explore the family dynamic in “The Metamorphosis?” How
does he show the anger, animosity, and evil lurking beneath the veneer of a loving family? To what ends?
5. Many critics have made tremendous efforts to define the nature of Gregor’s
change and what its possible implications may be. Why does he change? What does he change into? What are the effects of his change, both on himself and on those around him? I would like you to take one of these possible areas of inquiry and then explore it in terms of its possible implications.
6. How does Gregor’s perceptions, both of himself and of the members of his
family, affect how his story is understood and responded to? To what ends?
7. While the metamorphosis suggested by the title is often automatically (and
understandably) connected to Gregor, the other members of his family also undergo pretty radical changes over the course of the narrative. This is especially true of Grete, Gregor’s sister. Make the case that the greatest changes, the greatest metamorphoses, may not involve Gregor at all.
8. How does Kafka explore both the plight and the pretensions of the artist in “The
Hunger Artist?” How might the performer’s predicament suggest Kafka’s own, written as it was so close to the end of his life? To what ends?
9. Use two stories as examples to draw from and explore to tackle how Kafka
explores themes such as self-abasement and self-hatred. Why is it that his characters often take upon themselves the negative feelings expressed by others? Why do they so often surrender? Why do they so often desire nothing else but to disappear? To what ends?