World Literature in English, Spring, 1998
Major Issues: A Review
Choose 4 altogether; each 25%; Choose 3 from A; 1 from B or C

Except for the analysis of style, you should use more than one text in answering the questions.
Do not use the same text to answer different questions.
Go ahead!  Time to show your knowledge and critical/analytical ability.

A. Themes 
I.  Colonization and De-Colonization
  1. Colonization and National Movement
    1. The colonizers--Colonization means one nation or race's exploitation/possession of another's properties and cultures, body and mind in some explicit or implicit ways.  Since colonization is usually collective, the colonizer we discuss is usually supported  by some ideologies or institutions.    Remember that when we call somebody colonizer, it means that s/he takes the position of being a colonizer and is thus supported by the whole system. 
    *. One historical argument for European colonization is that it is "white men's burden," or mission, to educate the uncivilized.  How do the colonizers we have read deal with cultural difference?  How do they "educate" those they consider uncivilized?
    e.g. Methwold in Midnight's Chidren; Rochester in Wide Sargasso Sea; the teacers in Annie John  

    *. Not all the teachers are colonizers.  Choose three teachers (from  Annie John, Sugar Cane Alley, and "Rain Child") and analyze their different relationships with the colonized. 

    '98 Students' Answers
    1. National Movement--Nationalism, however grand, heroic, and necessary sometimes, has its pitfalls, especially when the sense of national identity is constructed not through consensus but through violence or imposition.  Moreover, consensual or not, national identity is by nature a fiction.
    *. Both The Midnight's Children and Meatless Days present national movement/birth but also criticize it.  Also, one way they both use is to have the narrator parallel the personal with the political.  From the excerpts we have read, please analyze this narrators' ways of narration which helps to link the personal to the political.  (Do a close analysis; don't worry about the parts we have not read.)
  2. The Empire Writes Back--see explanation in "The Empire Writes Back to and from the Centre"

  3. *. What does it mean on the thematic, stylistic and linguistic levels?  What does "writing back" achieve?(e.g. the use of creole language in Caribbean texts, the use of intertext in Midnight's Chidren and Wide Sargasso Sea
    '98 Students' Answers
 II. Diaspora Identity 
  1. National and Cultural Identity & Diaspora--One person's national identity can be the same with his/her cultural identity (e.g. being Taiwanese from top to toe), but the two can also be different.  Immigrants seem to have more choices in defining their cultural identity, but the conditions for their choices are actually very complicated and usually beyond their control.  For instance, a Taiwanese immigrant to U.S., whose national identity is American, can choose to be an American, a Taiwanese "at heart" (a permanent sojourner always waiting for homecoming), a Taiwanese-American (emphasizing both), and a Taiwanese American (emphasizing the latter).

  2. *. Of all the texts about Indian, Caribbean, African (in "Rain Child") and Chinese diasporas, choose two to talk about their characters' cultural position/identity, and all the factors that cause such identity/position.
    '98 Students' Answers
  3. Diasporas in the postmodern metropolis --It's no coincidence that we have films about postmodern cities, since the city is usually where immigrants converge (some of the cities used to be, or are, colonial centers.)   In the filmsMasalaRude, Eldorado, we see different kinds of immigrants and city nomads placed in an urban environment.  Their lives as immigrants/nomads are influenced by their social position as well as the social/technological environment of the city. 

  4. * Analyze the role (post)modern technology and media (e.g.T.V., radio, airplane)  plays in two of these three films and how they get to be related to the immigrant characters.
     98' Students' Answers
    Diaspora in Postmodern metropolis
    • In-Between positions--In-Between position can be an awkward position or even a  dilemma for some immigrants, but it can also be a liberating place to join and transform cultures.
    *. Between the extreme positions of assimilationism and separatism, how do the diasporic writers we have read position themselves?  Concrete evidence can be found from their texts in their characterization (who they side with) and/or emplotment. 
    '98 Students' Answers
  5. Racial relationships

  6. * Compare and contrast the complicated race relations between the whites and the creoles, the creoles or mulatto and the blacks in Wide Sargasso Sea and Sugar Cane Alley.  Although the two texts are set in two historical periods, they still overlap in time (with Madouze's story about his grandfather) and we can still relate Leopold to Antoinette. 
    '98 Students' Answers
III. Women's, Children, Working Class and Family in Colonial society.
* The treatment/characterization of "working class people" in Narayan's stories 
* How are women, children and/or family relations affected in a third-world/post-colonial society (e.g.  Midnight's Chidren and Wide Sargasso Sea, Meatless Days, Salaam Bombay, Sugar Cane Alley, "The Concubine's Children," etc.)
'98 Students' Answers
B. Distinct Cultural/Historical Elements of the Areas/Nations
  1. The role of Religion in the Indian/Pakistani texts (e.g. Tagore's poems,Midnight's Chidren, Meatless Days, Salaam Bombay, Masala)
  2. '98 Students' Answers
  3. The Carnival; Bob Marley's reggae in its historical context.--the use of dub poetry and creole in the Caribbean texts we have read.

  5. The idea of duality in the poems by Margaret Atwood.
  6. '98 Students' Answers
  7. The role of "family" in the texts about Chinese diaspora. 
  8. '98 Students' Answers