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LITR 225: TEST 1 ESSAY QUESTIONS MCKENNA William Blake Discuss “The Chimney Sweeper” in terms of the following: the speaker’s background and general situation; his words of consolation for Tom Dacre; and the nature, possible meanings, and consequence of Tom Dacre’s dream. Discuss the three-part arrangement and overall meaning of “The Ecchoing Green.” Referring to the principal contrasts in the poem, discuss Blake’s critique of organized religion in “The Garden of Love.” Compare and contrast “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” in terms of both their style and content, being sure to refer specifically to the questions each poses and the responses to those questions. Using the phrase “mind-forg’d manacles” as a reference point, discuss Blake’s view of modern society as embodied in the poem “London.” Discuss the central contrast, controlling metaphor, and theme of “A Poison Tree.” In the course of your answer, be sure to explain what the consequences of the speaker’s anger are for both his “foe” and for the speaker himself. Robert Burns Discuss the following elements of Robert Burns’s “To a Mouse”: (1) the speaker’s reasons for addressing the mouse; (2) the message he delivers on behalf of all mankind; (3) why the mouse is not alone in his fate; and (4) why, according to the speaker, the mouse is actually better off than he is. William Wordsworth In Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud,” the speaker says of his encounter with the “host” of daffodils: “I gazed—and gazed—but little thought / What wealth the show to me had brought. . . .” When did the speaker realize what “wealth” the daffodils had brought to him? Beyond the beauty of the original sight, what does this “wealth” consist of, and how are both that beauty and that sense of wealth expressed? In “London, 1802” Wordsworth addresses the poet John Milton (who died over a century before the poem was written). Discuss the nature of Wordsworth’s “message” to Milton. Based on the evidence of the poem, what concerns about and conditions in England prompted Wordsworth to write this poem? In addition, how does Wordsworth’s assessment of Milton’s character and accomplishments relate to those conditions? In the context of this poem and of Wordsworth’s poetry in general, interpret the following lines from “My Heart Leaps Up”: “The Child is father of the Man; / And I could wish my days to be / Bound each to each by natural piety.” In the context of the poem as a whole, discuss the effect of the girl’s song on the speaker of “The Solitary Reaper.” In stanza 2 of “Tintern Abbey,” Wordsworth details how the landscape described in stanza 1 affected his life “’mid the din / Of towns and cities.” Then in stanza 4 he examines the meaning of that landscape for him at different stages of his life. Discuss the effect these remembered scenes had on both his actions and on his inner (i.e., emotional and spiritual) life, as well as how his view of nature changed over time. In “The World Is Too Much with Us,” Wordsworth states that “. . . we lay waste our powers . . .” and that “[w]e have given our hearts away. . . .” According to the poem, what exactly are we wasting our “powers” on? In contrast, what should we be devoting our energies to, and why? Samuel Taylor Coleridge Discuss Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” as a poem about the potential of poetry, referring specifically to the pleasure dome, the sacred river, and the view of the poet expressed in lines 49-54. Given the context and content of lines 1-36, in what way might the “wish” expressed in lines 37-54 be viewed as ironic? Discuss the following elements of Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”: the arrival and significance of the albatross (Part 1); the killing of the albatross and the mariner’s motivation (Part 1); the hanging of the albatross around the mariner’s neck (Part 2); the mariner’s blessing of the water snakes (Part 4); his rescue by the hermit (Parts 6-7); his wandering recitations of his adventure (Part 7); and the “moral” expressed in lines 612-617. In the end, what (if any) consolation remains to the ancient mariner? Percy Bysshe Shelley In Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” the inscription on the pedestal of the shattered statue reads: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Given the context of the poem as a whole, explain the double irony of this inscription. In other words, explain how on the one hand the inscription conveys a meaning that is contrary to the intentions of Ozymandias, but how on the other hand it is still (though unintentionally) true. Frankenstein Discuss the parallels between Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein that make the latter’s story an appropriate cautionary tale for the former. Discuss at least three themes introduced in Robert Walton’s opening narrative that reoccur in either Victor Frankenstein’s or the monster’s narratives. Discuss how and why Victor Frankenstein’s intellectual aspirations lead to his tragic downfall. Discuss the theme of family and community as it occurs in the narratives of Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the monster. Discuss the character, actions, and motivations of Victor Frankenstein’s monster. Discuss the contradictory nature of the education received by the monster as he hides in the hovel adjacent to the De Lacey family’s cottage. Discuss at least three flaws that Victor Frankenstein perceives in the monster’s argument/promise that if his maker will create a companion for him, he will vanish and cease to terrorize mankind forever. Taking into account Victor Frankenstein’s character as depicted throughout the novel, discuss the ambiguous nature of the advice that Victor gives Robert Walton in the final chapter of the novel.
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