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English 212 Reading Response Questions: Drama & Non-Fiction

1. At the beginning of the week I will assign at least one writer to respond to in writing. For the other writers, we will use these questions as a basis for class discussion, but you will not be held responsible for turning in written responses.

2. Answer each question. Make a copy of your answers to use in class. Unless otherwise noted in class, reading responses will be due at the beginning of each class of the reading assignment. Make two copies of your responses. One copy will be turned in at the beginning of class; one will be the basis for class discussion. Explain your answers.

3. Reading responses will only be accepted at the beginning of the class for which they are assigned. Your answers should range from one to one-and-a-half pages in total length (about one-fourth to one-third of a page for each question).

a.. Moliere, Tartuffe, 298-356
1. What is the significance of the prefatory material before the play, pp. 300-306?
2. Discuss Madame Pernelle's characterization. Is she a caricature or a character?
3. What is the central theme of the play? Support this by referring to specific lines or actions in the play.
4. Discuss the tone of Act III, Sc. 3, pp. 330-333.

b. Ibsen, Hedda Gabler, 1247-1304
1. Do any of the characters change or develop as the drama unfolds? Explain.
2. Discuss one or more of the themes conveyed by Ibsen in this play.
3. Why does the play seem modern or outdated (or both)?
4. What stage props are used significantly in Act I?

c. Brecht, Mother Courage, 1904-1962
1. What is the significance of the time that the play was written? How important is history in this drama?
2. Is Mother Courage a caricature or a fully developed character? Explain.
3. Would this play be better when seen than read? Explain.
4. Discuss the irony of the Chaplain's characterization, specifically on p. 1925.

d. Beckett, Endgame, 1934-1971
1. Discuss the thematic significance of the setting (p. 2143)
2. How do the stage props help convey theme?
3. Why is the play funny or deadly serious?
4. Is the play symbolic (or allegorical)? Why or why not?

e. Çelibi, The Book of Travels, 275-287
1. Is a knowledge of history important in understanding this work? Why or why not?
2. How important is reader based criticism in approaching this work?

f.. Rousseau, from Confessions, 657-678
1. What is meant by the phrase, "all non-fiction is fictional"?
2. p. 675 bottom:  "I abandoned myself to the sweetest melancholy." Explain.

g. Douglass, from Narrative of the Life, 906-968
1. Discuss the importance of the narrative point of view.
2. How important is reader based criticism in approaching this work?
3. p. 914-915: What stereotypes does Douglass demolish here?
4. Chapter VI, 923-929. Why is it illegal for slaves to be taught to read and write? Why important to Douglass?

h. Lu Xun, "Diary of a Madman," 1684-1693
1. What is the effect of the literary allusion in the title?
2. Discuss the significance of the point of view.

i.. Woolf, "An Unwritten Novel," 1746-1754
1. Is this more fiction or non-fiction? Explain
2. Why are the phrases, "as though," and "as if," used throughout the account, important?

Assignment sheet provided by Richard Freed, EKU

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