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Harlem Renaissance Final Exam Due Dec 23, 2010. Instructions 1)The exam has two parts. You should choose the correct letter for the multiple- choice questions.

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Presentation on theme: "Harlem Renaissance Final Exam Due Dec 23, 2010. Instructions 1)The exam has two parts. You should choose the correct letter for the multiple- choice questions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Harlem Renaissance Final Exam Due Dec 23, 2010

2 Instructions 1)The exam has two parts. You should choose the correct letter for the multiple- choice questions that comprise Part I. For Part II, you should pick one pf the for passages offered and write about it. You should set forth a strong argumentative claim about how the author crafts language to convey complex meaning. Then you should support your claim with thorough close-reading that dwell on the concrete elements of the passage (in a manner that supports your overall claim). Submit your exams ONLY via to and

3 Part 1 Pick the correct answer to the following five questions.

4 Question #1 It is very likely that the Negroes of the United States have a fairly correct idea of what the white people of the country think of them, for that opinion has for a long time been and is still being constantly stated; but they are less themselves more or less a sphinx to the whites. It is curiously interesting and even vitally important to know what are the thoughts of ten millions of them concerning the people among whom they live. In these pages it is as though a veil has been drawn aside: the reader is given a view of the inner life of the Negro in America, is initiated into the “ freemasonry, ” as it were, of the race. a)Cane by Jean Toomer b)Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora N. Hurston c)Quicksand by Nella Larsen d)Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man by James Weldon Johnson

5 Question #2 “Good-bye Denmark! Good-bye! Good- bye! a)Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man by James Weldon Johnson b)Cane by Jean Toomer c)Quicksand by Nella Larsen d)Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora N. Hurston

6 Question #3 One afternoon, after school, during my third term, I rushed home in a great hurry to get my dinner, and go to my music teacher’s. I was never reluctant about going there, but on this particular afternoon I was impetuous. The reason was this, I had been asked to play accompaniment for a young lady who was to play a violin solo at a concert given by the people of our church, and on this afternoon we were to have our first rehearsal. At that time playing accompaniments was the only thing in music I did not enjoy; later this feeling grew into positive dislike. I have never been a really good accompanist because my ideas of interpretation were always too strongly individual. I constantly forced my accelerandos and rubatos upon the soloist, often throwing the duet entirely out of gear. a)Quicksand by Nella Larsen b)Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora N. Hurston c)Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson d)Cane by Jean Toomer

7 Question #4 The boys grew, Sullen and cunning,,, O pines, whisper to Jesus; tell Him to come press sweet Jesus-lips against their lips and eyes…..[….] No one dared ask. They’d beat and cut a mans who meant nothing at all in mentioning that they lived along the road. White or Colored. No one new, at least of all themselves. They drifted from job to job. We, who had cast their mother out because of them, could we tae them in? a)Cane by Jean Toomer b)Quicksand by Jean Toomer c)Quicksand by Nella Larsen d)Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man by James Weldon Johnson

8 Question #5 "Naw, Ah ain't no young gal no mo' but den Ah ain't no old woman neither. Ah reckon Ah looks mah age too. But Ah'm uh woman every inch of me, and Ah know it. Dat's uh whole lot more'n you kin say. You big-bellies round here and put out a lot of brag, but 'tain't nothin' to it but yo' big voice. Humph! Talkin' 'bout me lookin' old! When you pull down yo' britches, you look lak de change uh life.” a)Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora N. Hurston b)Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson c)Quicksand by Nella Larsen d)Cane by Jean Toomer

9 Part II

10 Preface PREFACE TO THE 1912 EDITION THIS VIVID and startlingly new picture of conditions brought about by the race question in the united states make no special plea for the Negro, But shows a dispassionate, though sympathetic, manner conditions as they actually exist between whites and blacks to-day. Special pleas have already been made for and against the Negro in hundreds of books, but in these books either his virtues of his vices have been exaggerated. This is because writers, in nearly every instance, have treated the colored American as a whole; each has taken some group of the race to prove his case. Not before has a composite and proportionate presentation of the entire race, embracing all of its various groups and elements, showing their relation with each other and with whites been made. It is very likely that the Negroes of the United States have a fairly correct idea of what the white people of the country think of them, for that opinion has for a long time been and is still being constantly stated; but they are less themselves more or less a sphinx to the whites. It is curiously interesting and even vitally important to know what are the thoughts of ten millions of them concerning the people among whom they live. In these pages it is as though a veil has been drawn aside: the reader is given a view of the inner life of the Negro in America, is initiated into the “freemasonry, ” as it were, of the race. These pages also reveal the unsuspected fact that prejudice against the Negro is exerting a pressure, which, in New York and other large cities where the opportunity is open, is actually and constantly forcing an unascertainable number of fair-complexioned colored people over into the white race. In this book the reader is given a glimpse behind the scenes of this race drama which is being here enacted,-- he is taken upon an elevation where he can catch a bird’s eye view of the conflict being waged. THE PUBLISHERS Talking Points 1)What do you make of the “Publishers’” paradoxical claim that this autobiography is “a composite and proportionate presentation of the entire race, embracing all its groups and elements? 2)In light in this paradox (and outside of it), what do you make of the claim that the thoughts contained in this autobiography will give whites access to the thoughts of “tens of millions.”? 3)How does these hyperbolic claims speak to the “burden of representativity”? How does this disrupt the traditional economy of the slave narrative? 4)What is the chief Du Boisian allusion at work here? What rhetorical effect does its invocation produce? 5)What do you make of the almost out of place commentary of the increase of “passing” in urban metropoles? What rhetorical effect does it produce? 6)Describe the irony at work in the final paragraph.

11 Kabnis III Talking Points 1)Halsey is a survivor. He also seems to stand in as an avatar for Booker T. Washington (whereas Ralph is a failed Du Bois [who also taught in poor southern schools]). With all this in mind, how would you characterized his Janus-faced nature as it is revealed in this passage? Is he a “two-face”? If so, are we to view him as a hypocrite? If not, how are we to view him? 2)Hanby also seems to stand in as an avatar for Booker T. Washington, and is also Janus-faced? Is his Janus face different from Halsey’s? If so, why? 3)Halsey thinks Hanby’s “theatrics” (his “acting white”) will get him killed, but tellingly not lynched. What are the multiple metaphorical resonances vis- à-vis Ralph’s decent of the method Hanby thinks they will use to kill Halsey? 4)Is there a Larsen-esque/ Johnsonesque political critique at work here? If so is it the same one?

12 A Plea for Color….? The Chapter’s Key Themes and Symbols 1) Clothing 2) The “race problem” and stagnancy 3) The tragic mulatta and “inward confusion” 4) Racial Essentialism vs. Individualism 5) Dignity and Breeding

13 Self-Realization and Sexuality She thought awhile and decided that her conscious life had commenced at Nanny's gate. On a late afternoon Nanny had called her to come inside the house because she had spied Janie letting Johnny Taylor kiss her over the gatepost. It was a spring afternoon in West Florida. Janie had spent most of the day under a blossoming pear tree in the back-yard. She had been spending every minute that she could steal from her chores under that tree for the last three days. That was to say, ever since the first tiny bloom had opened. It had called her to come and gaze on a mystery. From barren brown stems to glistening leaf-buds; from the leaf- buds to snowy virginity of bloom. It stirred her tremendously. How? Why? It was like a flute song forgotten in another existence and remembered again. What? How? Why? This singing she heard that had nothing to do with her ears. The rose of the world was breathing out smell. It followed her through all her waking moments and caressed her in her sleep. It connected itself with other vaguely felt matters that had struck her outside observation and buried themselves in her flesh. Now they emerged and quested about her consciousness. Oh to be a pear tree— any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! She was sixteen. She had glossy leaves and bursting buds and she wanted to struggle with life but it seemed to elude her. Where were the singing bees for her? Nothing on the place nor in her grandma's house answered her. She searched as much of the world as she could from the top of the front steps and then went on down to the front gate and leaned over to gaze up and down the road. Looking, waiting, breathing short with impatience. Waiting for the world to be made. Question: If Janie’s conscious life begins with her first sexual encounter (the kiss), how does Janie’s view of the blossoming pear tree speak to a quest for consciousness that is not articulated in individual terms or without objectifying her as a sex object (as her grandmother feels is, almost, her inescapable destiny)? How does the legacy of slavery fit into all of this?


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