Thursday, February 8, 2007

Mid-Term Questions

Choose one from this list of available topics for step 1. in the Mid-term Essay Schedule post.

1. In the “Regulus” chapter of Stalky & Co., Mr. King is teaching a Latin ode to the Fifth Form. Analyse how his character interacts with individual boys in terms of what this reveals about Kipling’s view of performative masculine culture.

2. Detail some of the main values that Cranford and Cranford represent in fiction, and make an argument either for or against the claim that these values are designed to express a female view of culture superior to traditional male culture.

3. Do you agree or disagree with the claim that Peter Jenkyns’ attitude toward violence would exclude him from membership in Stalky’s “company” of performative males? Use quotations from both Gaskell’s & Kipling’s texts in support of your argument.

4. The NOTE at the reverse of the title-page of Cold Comfort Farm reads "The action of the story takes place in the near future." This in mind, what do you think is the significance of the following paragraph for the literary technique in Stella Gibbon's masterpiece?
Claud twisted the television dial and amused himself by studying Flora's fair, pensive face. Her eyes were lowered and her mouth compressed over the serious business of arranging Elfine's future. He fancied she was tracing a pattern with the tip of her shoe. She did not look at him, because public telephones were not fitted with television dials. (p.128)
5. Imagine that you have been commissioned to write a satire of Elizabeth Gaskell in the way that Stella Gibbons satirised certain other types of authors in Cold Comfort Farm. What aspects of Cranford's cultural view do you think should be satirised and why? You are free to sketch the character outline of a Flora Poste equivalent who would feature in your Gaskell satire.

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