Tipologia A: Trattazione sintetica di argomenti
1. Emily Dickinson is an American writer but her short poem conveys an idea which is fundamental to English Romantic poets: that a poet is the one who can see beyond” reality and who, by means of imagination, is able to re-create it.
Discuss referring to authors and/or texts you have studied this year. (150 – 200 words)
The passage here proposed is taken from Ulysses which is considered the masterpiece of James Joyce, one of the most significant writers of the first part of the 20th century. He brought experimentation in novel writing to its extremes, using the technique of the interior monologue to express his characters flow of thoughts.
[…] ah yes I know them well who was the first person in the universe before there was anybody that made it all who ah that they dont know neither do I so there you are they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose me yes first I gave him a bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain ye so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of Mulvey and Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and the sailors playing all birds fly and I say stoop and washing up the dishes they called it on the pier and the sentry in front of the governors house with the thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and the Jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbens like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows or the posadas glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little street and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a flower of the mountains yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breast all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad yes I said yes I will Yes. (James Joyce, Episode 18, in Ulysses, 1922)
According to what you know on Joyces writing technique, how do you think his stream of consciousness” was influenced by the new theories about the concept of time?
3. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, Dedalus is the mythical prototype of the protagonist. There is a passage in this novel in which Stephens friends call out his name in Greek: Dedalus, in fact. This name in mythology indicates the craftsman who could overcome the human limits building a pair of wings and flying out of the labyrinth; in the character of the novel it evokes a series of feelings that will make him conscious of his desire to create something, becoming an artist. This event is a clear example of Joyces epiphany.
Write a short explanation of what Joyce meant for epiphany, and give examples taken from his production. (max. 150 / 200 words)
4. Read this extract taken from G. Orwells Nineteen Eighty Four and then answer the questions in
max. 20 lines.
1 He (Wiston) was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long he uttered it, in some
2 obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you
3 carried on the human heritage. He went back to the table, dipped his pen and wrote:
4 To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not
5 live alone – to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone.
6 From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink –
1) Explain in your own words Wistons description of his age, as he writes it in his diary.
2) What was Wistons aim in writing a diary, as he knew that nobody would ever read it ?
3) Describe the main features of Orwells language.
5. Both The strange case of Dr. Jekill and Mr. Hyde and The picture of Dorian Gray deal with the themes of the DOUBLE and the REBEL. Most victorian novels, however, are based on the presence of respectable personalities. What do you think the ambiguos Jekill/Hyde relationship and Dorian’s hidden relationship with his portrait symbolyze in this sense?
6. Education: an important feature of Victorian society. Give a short general account (maximum 120 words)
Work plays an important role in British society and this can be explained through the Protestant origin of the British mentality. As a consequence, working, especially in big cities, is at the centre of peoples lives and this often has an effect on other spheres of their lives, like leisure, personal relationship and so on.
Of course, this depends on the kind of job you have: working in the City of London, one of the most important financial markets in the world, can be extremely hard, even if City jobs are very well-paid. However, the tendency to work a lot and hard applies to all professions. People spend a lot of time in their workplace and, very often, take work home ( some people in the City may even sleep a few nights in their offices in order to meet the demands of their work).
Deadlines are important and they can affect other parts of a persons life, with less time to dedicate to family and friends. This has a very estranging effect on a lot of foreigners, especially Mediterranean’s, when they realise that people make social arrangements weeks in advance and write down all their personal appointments in their diaries.
Many foreigners feel that no distinction is made between work and personal life: everything has to be planned in detail. However living in a city like London really makes planning necessary
8. Education: an important feature of Victorian society. Give a short general account (maximum 120 words)
9. Keeping in mind “The Dead” from “Dubliners” by J. Joyce, describe the epiphanies and explain how the narrative style of the last three paragraphs differs from that of the rest of the story and from the usual narrative styie of “Dubliners” as a whole. (maximum 150 words)
10. The end of the 18’h century brought the so -called Gothic novels to popularity. Explain the possible connotations of the adjective “Gothic” and give an overall introduction to the genre listing the constant features. (maximum 150 words)
11. Referring to the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray” by O.Wilde, explain which are the possible allegorical meanings of the portrait and the moral of the work (100 to 110 words).
12. : London (from Songs of Experience”) by W. Blake
I wander thro each charter d street
Near where the charter Thames does flow
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every man,
In every infants cry of fear
In every voice in every ban
The mind-forg d manacles I hear
How the Chimney-sweeper s cry
Every black ‘ ning church appalls
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Place walls
But most thro midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new born infants tear
And blights with plagues the marriage hearse
London is one of the most powerful descriptions of the industrial town to be found in literature. The strong vein of social criticism in the poem shows Blakes involvement in the problems of his time. What do the mertaphors of the manacles”, the blackening Church”, the marriage Hearse” reveal of Blakes attitude to the society of those years? Discuss it in 100 words, in 30 minutes
13. Discuss the following topic in about 150-200 words. Only English-English dictionaries are allowed.
Charles Dickens is said to be often melodramatic, sentimental and grotesque, but in some works of his he consciously uses the novel as an instrument of social criticism and aims at a more open and direct denunciation of the evils of the time. Discuss with reference to the texts you have studied this year.
14. Consider Dubliners” by J. Joyce. Why is it set in Dublin? How is it structured? What are the themes? Is the style traditional or innovative?
(Use no more than 200 words)
Esempio di risposta:
This collection of fifteen stories is set in Dublin because for Joyce the city was a symbol of physical and spiritual paralysis. He described in a realistic way, and in great detail, the insignificant lives of lower middle-class Dubliners. But his naturalism is combined with symbolism because each event and detail has a different meaning which has a function in relation to an overall scheme. The stories are divided into four groups. One for each period of human life: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life, while the last story, the longest and the most complex, has its own meaning.
The major theme of the collection is the sense of religious, political and cultural paralysis that J. felt in the city and wanted to escape from. His characters become aware of their hypocrisy and the squalor of their lives and environment through epiphanies.
The style is still traditional, even though there is a marked use of the impersonal technique and of the free indirect speech and thought. The lexis is carefully chosen and the style of the characters speech varies according to their social position.
15. Edward Morgan Foster, a man who straddled two centuries. What are his main themes and in which way can he be considered representative of both of them? .(Use no more than 200 words)
Esempio di risposta:
He was interested in the social and historical context and in the human nature, feelings and aspirations. He was fascinated by the analysis of personality and human behaviour, particularly in the upper-middle class of his time. He described the opposition between the old world of culture and respectability and the new world of commerce and money, between the hypocrisy of Victorian society and a more instinctive and freer attitude towards the Indians and a more tolerant and friendly one. His characters are often trapped by conventions and prejudices and he analyses what happens when they have completely new experience.
His style and narrative technique are quite traditional ; for example he used the omniscent narrator and a realistic tone. However he combined the Victorian novelistic tradition with the use of symbols that made his novels belong to the modernist tradition. He exploited the potential of words, using them either in a realistic way, or lyrically as in a poem, or concisely to give an idea of modernity.
16. Charles Dickens is said to be often melodramatic, sentimental and grotesque, but in some works of his he consciously uses the novel as an instrument of social criticism and aims at a more open and direct denunciation of the evils of the time. Discuss with reference to the texts you have studied this year.
17. Give a brief but detailed analysis of the short story Eveline from Dubliners pointing out the themes and the main features of Joyces narrative technique.
18. Discuss the following topic in about 150-200 words. Only English-English dictionaries are allowed.
With reference to The Importance of Being Earnest, Arms and the Man and Mrs Warren’s Profession make a comparison between Wilde’s and Shaw’s plays as regards dramatic technique, characters, language and themes.