Your mid-term exam (Thursday, March 2) is made up of two parts: Section A will comprise of essays (50 minutes) and Section B will address the non-fiction we have read so far and the material that has been posted on the webpage (35 minutes). You will be asked to write two short essays in Section A and answer four out of six questions in Section B.
In the interest of ensuring wide-ranging and yet detailed critical engagements with the texts we have read this semester, I require that, in Section A, you not write on the text which was the subject of your first paper. This is an open-book exam. You may refer to all the fictional texts and your notes while writing this exam. Please do not consult published articles, books, or any research material while preparing for or writing the exam.
Write on two topics
1. Cracking India is a carefully orchestrated play of contrasts: between interiors and exteriors, city and country, Warris Road and the Old City, children and adults, Lenny the narrator and Lenny the protagonist, to list a few. Focus on one of these contrasting pairs to discuss the ways it brings out the details of the tragedy of the Indian Partition.
2. "Memory is a strange bell--
Jubilee and Knell"
Discuss the relevance of this quotation to Clear Light of Day, Cracking India, Antherjanam's stories (select one or two), or Rokeya Hosain's "Sultana's Dream" by focusing on narrative design or on a specific character's memories.
3. Several texts we have read this semester may be said to belong to the genre of bildungsroman, a narrative that follows the growth of a protagonist through a troubled quest for identity. Focusing on one text, consider the issues that the protagonist has to negotiate and settle in her quest for power and self-definition. Is the notion of self itself shaped by the cultural and historical context of her negotiation?
4. Consider repetitions--of character, imagery, event, setting, etc.--in a text of your choice. Discuss the thematic and formal effects of repetition.
5. Discuss the representation of male-female relations in the novel of your choice. How are these relationships influenced by age, generational difference, education, class, or race?