II. General Questions:
B. Form and Race, Language and Society:
meanings produced in a text through different levels of signification (e.g.
developing from denotation to cultural connotations)? How is textual unity
achieved? Do a structuralist reading of either "The Blind Man" (by
D. H. Lawrence) or "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" (by W. Wordsworth) and
then deconstructive reading of it. In other words, find out
its basic pattern and how its meanings are developed and unified around
it, and then its gaps or contradictions to prove that its meanings are
believe that a text is an objective, self-contained and autonomous entity
whose meaning transcend its time and space. Placing a text
in a certain context, however, can either add to the meanings we have found
in the text or deny them. Choose a text and do a new critical
reading of it. Then place it in a certain context (social,
historical or theoretical) and explain how meanings are enriched or
also mean the other texts a text refers to and/or gets influenced by, and
their "inter-textual" relationship can be various, ranging from paying
tribute to (Achebe vs. his anti-colonial predecessors), parodying, to pastiche
and unconscious inscription (romantic love in Moulin Rouge, Cinderella
story in Working Girl). Choose one text and analyze
how its meanings get changed when it is related to two kinds of intertext.
(Note: a person can also be regarded as a text.)
C. Literary Criticism & Self-Reflexivity (of
the texts and ours):
Form, for New Critics, is inseparable from content,
and by extension, we can also say that different literary forms construct
different subjects. What type(s) of subject get to be constructed
by the group of poems about death written by either male poets (Hardy
and Wordworth p. 2) or female poets (Christina Rossetti p. 3).
Do a structuralist reading of a text (or a group
of texts) from popular culture to examine how they construct some myth.
Living in the age of information, do we have the power to resist the ideological
influences of mass media? (To answer this question, don't just
say yes or no. Give examples of the influences and/or resistance.)
From a poststructualist perspective, human subject is
not a fixed entity, but rather a sequence of subject positions.
Use "The Blind Man" and "My Man Bonvanne" and compare how the blind
men in these two stories are presented and what subject positions the
stories offer to these two blind men in relation to the characters around
them. Can you make sense of their differences?
What are the possible positions a "post-colonial"
intellectual can take in between the dominant culture and the colonized?
What positions do the teacher(s) in "The Lesson" and "Columbus in
How is the stereotype of Madame Butterfly (recently
again popular in The World Cup held Japan) explained and challenged in
the play M. Butterfly? (Note that it is explained in different
levels--sexual, racial and political--and challenged in more than one ways.)
What is "stereotype" and how is it different
from "type"? What is its basic structure and way of operation?
(e.g. Other-ing? simplification? imposition?) Choose
two texts and explain how one presents stereotypes and the other does not.
Structuralism, deconstruction and postcolonialism
all posit some theories about "language," what are their differences
Why do so many texts today call attention
to their fictitiousness or parody some authorities? (e.g. films, music
videos, literature, photography, painting, etc.; see examples in "Text
Play.") Can news report do the same? Or commercials?
How does our Chinese education and/or the teaching of
English literature influence our sense of identity as "Taiwanese" and/or
as English majors? Choose two to three texts you have learned
to illustrate your points. Be text-and-self specific!
What is literary criticism? Why do we need
to take different approaches? What else do we do besides taking different
approaches to a text? To answer this question,
a. Use the following
pattern to discuss 2 of the various approaches you have learned; i.e. New
Criticism, structuralism/semiotics, feminism (you can do it!), postmodernism,
b. Choose a text to practice
the two approaches.
The text's, and ours
|| ---- READER
c. And . . .explain
what else we can do.
14. another meta-question:
What aspects of the class are not covered by this
final exam? What kinds of power relations or ideologies can be implied
in concluding a course with a final exam? What are your reasons to
be for or against having a final exam in a college course like this?