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José Donoso, The Garden Next Door.

José Donoso, The Garden Next Door.
Below you will find a list of four authors, please choose one. The best method is to put forward a thesis (agree or disagree with one of the propositions in one of the questions below) and then defend or attack it using examples from the text. You must quote directly but sparingly from the text in question. History, biography, and politics are not ordinarily relevant to the topics, so don’t bother to include them in your essays. Nor are these research papers, so the findings of the West Texas State Teachers College Hispanic Collective on OHYS will not matter much for your essay.
No more than 600 (and no fewer than 550) words for any answer: Select topic A or topic B, or combine elements from them without exceeding the 600 word limit. Do not append footnotes to your essays: This is a common trick designed to bamboozle the grader into allowing more words. You should add a list of “works cited” to your suite of essays, but unless you’re using an unusual edition of the works we’re reading, don’t bother to give anything more than page references. Never use ibid, op. cit.—just quote with page references, an author or title reference (Poetics,p.65), and an entry in “works cited.”
Never quote dictionary definitions. Avoid the passive voice ("it is seen"). Resist the temptation to quote at length [abbreviate: “Peter sneered . . . Sally screamed.”]. This includes critical texts: a short quotation with the critic’s name in parentheses following it, a full reference in the “works cited.” Refer to authors by their last name. Abbreviate titles to save words: OHYS, PMBC, PP Never, ever start an essay using the author’s name and the title of his book: “In his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, the Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez . . .” You may narrate in the first person if you feel impelled to do so, but, assuming you sign your work, the grader will know who wrote it.
Choice 1
José Donoso, The Garden Next Door.
a. Donoso explores the double theme of exile and identity in this novella. Try to define those ideas and their human consequences in terms of the book and show how they affect the book’s structure–its plot, characters, even its devices (metamorphosis for instance). How are the characters both formed and deformed by exile?
b. Donoso manipulates a number of themes here: artistic vocation (including artistic failure), artistic and non-artistic theft, death, resurrection, love/hatred, survival, rejection . . . Write an essay showing how these concepts (not all or even these specific ideas, just those you think important) all become metaphors for one another over the course of the book. You may want to gather your ideas under the general rubric of survival: how do the protagonists cope with their situation; what devices (successful or unsuccessful) do they use to keep on living?
Choice 2
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea.
a. How legitimate is this novella (one of the articles in the Norton edition addresses this subject)? That is, do you think the relationship between this book and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre compromises the validity of this text as an independent work of art? You may want to discuss such matters as appropriation and originality (please define!).
b. In the "Literature" section of her A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present, Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak makes the following statement about Wide Sargasso Sea:
In the figure of Antoinette, whom in Wide Sargasso Sea Rochester violently renames Bertha, Rhys suggests that so intimate a thing as a personal and human identity might be determined by the politics of imperialism. (125-5)
Attack or defend this statement using the text itself to support your position.
Choice 3
Mario Vargas Llosa, Who Killed Palomino Molero?
a. Write an essay in which you answer the question posed in Vargas Llosa’s title. Create a context, based on the novella itself, for the murder and explain how this crime might be understood to be a sacrifice made to perpetuate society.
b. Despite the fact that social issues–racism, sexism, social inequities–overtly dominate this novella, there remains a residue of ambiguity: the matter of Alicia Mindreau’s madness, the question of her relationship with her father, the nature of love, justice vs. revenge. Write an essay in which you (1) delineate what is clear from what is vague in this novella; and (2) define exactly what the author’s intentions with regard to Peruvian society are. Do the ambiguities have any impact on the text’s social intentions? Is Vargas Llosa’s intent with regard to Peru in any way analogous to Fuentes’s intent toward Mexico in DAC?
Choice 4
Lispector, Clarice, Hour of the Star.
a. Lispector is clearly interested in the use of the mask here–otherwise she would not have invented Rodrigo S.M. Write about literary masks: consult the meaning of the Latin word persona to see if it has any relevance in this case. What ramifications does it have for women’s writing—you may want to recall that many 19th-century women, the Bronte sisters and George Eliot for example were obliged to publish under male names? Is the notion of parody, that is, the demolition of myths, of any importance here? A comparison between the mask in Lispector and Donoso may be a good point of departure, but don’t belabor it.
b. It has been said that the character Macabea embodies the abject. Define [DO NOT QUOTE DICTIONARY DEFINITIONS!] that term and write an essay on why such an idea–which could also include the idea of the scapegoat or the pharmakos (defined by Northrop Frye in his Anatomy of Criticism) serves the purpose of Lispector’s ideology–political and literary–in The Hour of the Star.

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