On the day of the exam, you will come to class and choose 3 of the following 7 prompts out of a hat. Those will be the prompts you respond to for your final exam.
You are given a considerable amount of flexibility in deciding how to craft your responses. As a writer, it’s up to you to decide how to frame your response and what information to include in order to respond as compellingly and as effectively as possible. Plan responses that are organized strategically, that rely on specific passages from the texts you are writing about, and that demonstrate your mastery of the concepts at issue. Your responses should have a consistent logical, conceptual, and/or thematic frame; they should not simply consist of lists of observations and/or summaries.
You should answer each prompt fully, but keep in mind that you should also limit your responses to around 5-7 paragraphs. Decide what you can reasonably tackle – and tackle well – in this short amount of space. There is no need to waste time and space on lengthy introductory or concluding paragraphs. Just dive right in to your analysis as quickly as possible.
Finally, keep in mind that your responses should demonstrate breadth of coverage of the course readings. This means that you should discuss a variety of course readings across your three responses, while, of course, still staying within the bounds of each prompt.
- What is “slow violence?” Begin your response by answering this question, using Nixon and/or Fanon to support your answer. Then, choose 2 of the primary sources we have read this semester (Devi, Bacigalupi, Díaz [2 texts], Romero, Whitehead, Atwood, Tower, Sacco, Rankine), and compare and contrast their treatments of slow violence. Focus your response on specific examples from each of these texts that you think best demonstrate their treatments of what slow violence means, and analyze how they do so.
- What does the term “risk society” mean? Begin your response by answering this question, using Beck and/or Heise to support your answer. Then, choose 1 of the primary sources we have read this semester (Devi, Bacigalupi, Díaz [2 texts], Romero, Whitehead, Atwood, Tower, Sacco, Rankine), and analyze how it demonstrates/complicates/extends/builds on Beck’s idea of the risk society. Focus your response on specific examples from this text that you think best demonstrate its treatment of what risk society means, and analyze how they do so.
- Discuss what Jessica Hurley means by the term “postracial” when she writes, in reference to the history of the zombie film genre:
What, then, do we see when we look at the surface of the zombie? I want to suggest that we see on its two-dimensional surface the four dimensions of the history of race in the New World, and in particular the desire to cover up the history of racial oppression through the universalization of whiteness that we currently understand through the term “postracial.” (318)
Then, discuss how EITHER Night of the Living Dead OR Zone One tackles this concept. What does postraciality mean in your chosen text? Focus your response on specific examples that you think best demonstrate your chosen text’s treatment of what postracial means, and analyze how they do so.
- Storytelling is important to many of the texts we have read this semester, but we discussed it most often in connection to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Oryx and Crake. What is the importance of storytelling in these texts? You have two options in answering this question. You can:
- Compare and contrast Oscar Wao’s and Oryx and Crake’s treatment of storytelling. OR
- Choose only one of these texts – EITHER Oscar Wao OR Oryx and Crake – and analyze its treatment of storytelling.
Whichever option you choose, you should make sure to focus your analysis on specific examples from the text(s) you are writing about.
- Both “The Hunt” and “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” feature scenes of brutal violence. Compare and contrast each text’s treatment of violence, focusing your analysis on specific examples from these texts. Although you are not required to do so, you might consider how gender is connected to each text’s treatment of violence (not the different genders of the authors of these stories, but rather the different ways in which these texts understand/represent gender).
- Both Safe Area Goražde and Citizen are concerned with visibility/visuality and/or visual media. Choose 1 of these texts and analyze that text’s engagement with this theme, focusing on specific examples from that text to prove your points.
- In this class, we’ve read examples of texts from several different genres, all about disasters: historical fiction (“The Hunt,” Oscar Wao); magical realism (“The Hunt,” Oscar Wao); post-apocalyptic fiction (Night of the Living Dead, Zone One, Oryx and Crake); speculative fiction (“Yellow Card Man,” “Monstro,” Oryx and Crake, “Everything Ravaged” [alternate history, in a way]); nonfiction (Safe Area Goražde, Citizen); poetry (Citizen). If, then, the term “disaster fiction” does not necessarily refer to a specific genre, what is “disaster fiction”? Make an argument for your answer to this question using specific examples from at least 2 of the primary sources we have read this semester (Devi, Bacigalupi, Díaz [2 texts], Romero, Whitehead, Atwood, Tower, Sacco, Rankine).
THANK YOU all for your work this semester. I look forward to reading your exams.