Final Discussion!

As you prepare for the final exam, share your ideas with the class to extend the discussion beyond your finals-filled minds. You might write about:

  • which topic you want to write about and why, OR
  • thoughts or questions you have about thesis statements, OR
  • thoughts or questions you have about the five-step method for incorporating quotations as evidence, OR
  • passages and elements of fiction you would want to write about in the first part of the final exam (remember how we did this for the midterm exam?), OR
  • questions you have about other aspects of the assignments due before the end of the semester.

One other point: I said that there was no homework, but that isn’t entirely true. As we did for the midterm, please bring a sheet with the quotations you will use for the three possible responses you have prepared. I will check that sheet and give you credit for Week 15 homework.

The topics again:

1. the power of freedom (12 votes)

2. sacrifice as altruism (12 votes)

5/6. family as a source of dysfunction or of strength (11 votes for dysfunction, 8 votes for strength)

9. the journey of self-discovery (8 votes)

11. the effects of characters pushed to their limits (9 votes)

As you can see, there was a tie for the last spot (8 votes), so I combined the two about family.

Remember as you prepare: what’s up? how come? so what?

I will choose 3 of the 5 from the list above for the final exam. You will prepare 3 of the 5 so that 1, 2, or 3 of those you prepared will be on the exam. On the day of the exam, you will write about 1.

Instead of writing an essay, you will write:

  • your thesis statement
  • a paragraph (or more as needed) supporting your thesis statement using the five-step method of incorporating quotations with a quotation from a text we read after the midterm
  • a paragraph (or more as needed) supporting your thesis statement using the five-step method of incorporating quotations with a quotation from a text we read at any point this semester

Additionally, there will be quotation identification questions that ask you to identify title, author, element of fiction, and to explain how that element of fiction is represented in that passage.

14 thoughts on “Final Discussion!”

  1. I was thinking about writing how death offers freedom in either letting a person go, or by accepting someone’s death. We can see this in both stories of “The Shawl”
    Magda’s death though painful for Rosa released her from hiding and caring for her. She devoted every moment to her and took no care of herself, or Stella, for that matter. Her death released her from that care, and also from watching Magda dying a slow, degenerative death, not to say that her death would not have been as painful, but it was inevitable that either she would die from starvation and suffered or that someone would have found her anyway and killed her.
    In ” The Shawl by Lousie Erdrich, we see at the end how the father is finally released from the pain that he harbored in thinking that his mother pushed his sister from the wagon, and that maybe his sister threw herself to save the others. Again, this is still pain, but in finding a different reason how she died, he is able to let go of the anger and resentment that he felt for her death in blaming his mother.
    Both of these circumstances offer some type of freedom.

  2. I feel that I’d like to write about family being a source of strength. This is because the 2 readings, The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick and What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie share a similarity of family being a source of strength. For The Shawl, the source of strength for Rosa was Magda and her Shawl. The Shawl apparently kept Magda alive the whole time and she was the reason Rosa remained sane. For What You Pawn I Will Redeem, the thought and sight of Jackson’s grandmother’s regalia fueled him to work hard in an attempt to purchase it. It was the last remnant he had of his grandmother and that regalia was the source of his strength. In other words, if that regalia wasn’t there, he wouldn’t have had to go through that 24 hour journey.

  3. I have some question, when you state “a paragraph (or more as needed) supporting your thesis statement using the five-step method of incorporating quotations with a quotation from a text we read at any point this semester,” is this our conclusion to our essay? I am unsure of what this sentence means. Also, can I use two different themes for the two essays I will be writing? For example, can I use the theme of sacrifice as altruism for “Beloved” and the theme of freedom for “The Metamorphosis” or “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.”
    As mentioned earlier, I think I am leaning towards the theme of freedom or sacrifice as altruism. I choose freedom because I can discuss about Gregor’s family wanting and getting freedom from the grief of having a son as bug from “The Metamorphosis,” or Jackson to 2nd power not being free because of his depression because he has to deal with the plight of being a Native American and his grief for his grandmother’s death from “What You Pawn I Will Redeem.” I can also state that Jackson was only free from his depression when he got he grandmother’s regalia back. The regalia made him gain a piece of his culture back and something memorable of his grandmother. With the theme sacrifice as altruism, I can discuss about Sethe sacrificing Beloved to save her from the harsh brutalities of slavery from “Beloved.” While on the other hand, I can discuss about Gregor’s father using death as a means to sacrifice Gregor in order to end the his (Gregor’s father) grief of having a son a bug.

    1. In class, we talked about how in writing an essay, you would write an introductory paragraph that ended in a thesis statement, and then several paragraphs that incorporate quotations to support that thesis statement before writing a concluding paragraph. In an effort to simplify the final exam, I asked if students would instead want to abbreviate that process and write just the thesis statement and two of those paragraphs incorporating quotations to support it, one from a text we’ve read after the midterm and one from any point in the semester.

      That said, you cannot write about two different topics any more than you could write an essay about two different topics. Also, you are not writing a conclusion paragraph. You’re writing just the three parts I outlined above. I altered the directions slightly to give you the chance to write more than one paragraph about each quotation in case you feel that you need a paragraph break to organize your thoughts properly.

      Since you need to prepare for 3 of the possible topics to ensure that 1 of those you prepared is available on the day of the exam, I encourage you to prepare both of those you described plus one other.

      I hope the instructions are clearer to you now.

  4. I’m stuck between sacrifice as altruism and family as a source of strength. Both is seen in the stories “The Shawl” by Louis Erdrich and “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” by Sherman Alexie.

    For example in “The Shawl” by Louis Erdrich, the sister sacrificed herself in order to save her brother, as for the source of strength, the brothers three kids grew up together and stuck together, until the oldest one said it was enough that he helped his father get back onto the right track by saying that maybe his mother didn’t throw her into the pack of wolves, but she jumped herself in order to save him.

    In “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” by Sherman Alexie, sacrifice is seen when he got money he would use it all on other people to see them happy. For example when he won the scratch off he gave some money to the cashier and the time where he bought everyone drinks and everyone had a great time. For family as a source of strength from that story I felt like the love for his grandmother that drove him to trying to get the regalia back from the pawn shop within 24 hrs. I also felt that all the people that helped him get the money were considered his family because they have been supporting him for a long time, that hes been around them for so long that they’re practically family.

    1. I also want to write about sacrifice as altruism and the two texts are “The Shawl”by Louise Errich and “Beloved” by Toni Morrison. In “The Shawl”, the main character says to his father that the father’s sister sacrificed herself by jumping off the wagon to save her family including her mother and her brother. She knew that someone had to sacrifice because of there were wolves around, so she jumped off the wagon. In Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”, Sethe kills her daughter because she wanted to protect her daughter from being a slave. She loved her children but she had to kill them to save them from being a slave.

  5. The topic I want to write about is sacrifice as altruism. This can be seen in the two texts, “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison and “The Shawl,” by Louise Erdrich. In “Beloved,” Sethe’s intention of sacrificing her children was to protect them from the evil of slavery. In “The Shawl,” Aanakwad’s daughter was either tossed off the wagon by her mother or jumped off. I believe that the daughter sacrificed herself by jumping off to save her mother.

  6. Every single piece throughout our semester have something to say about freedom. Whether it was Beloved, Shawl, A rose for Emily, Goodman Brown, Yellow Wallpaper, Or Metamorphasis, etc. just to name a few. I think as a whole we can fairly say freedom is depicted in so many ways, Then we can ask ourselves what do we consider free. Was Paul D totally free when he arrived at 124? In the rose for Emily, how often did Emily go out? With this in mind there’s many ways one can interpret freedom while bringing various text together from throughout out semester readings.

  7. I think that I want to write about the power of freedom in Beloved and The Shawl. Freedom for the two stories mean two different thing. Freedom in Beloved is a literal term about the freedom of slavery and the need for Sethe to give her children freedom by killing her. Freedom in The Shawl is from oneself and not to be stuck in his world of hatred and anger.

    My thesis statement will probably be: Although both stories share a common need for freedom, they both desire freedom in different ways.

    I think that the five step method is good to explain and describe my quotes in good details but they overlap so much. Do you want us to make sure we hit all five or is explaining it thoroughly good enough?

    1. Good question. The steps, especially 3, 4, and 5, build on each other, so don’t worry about a bit of overlap. They do different things, though, so there shouldn’t be too much overlap. For the purposes of our exam, I’d rather you have overlap than omit something important.

  8. Due to the fact that there was a tie between two of the options and we are able to combine both of the family topics; I would like to write about family dysfunction from two stories and how they overcome their situation. This would lead up to the family gaining strength. Two stories I think that show a great example of these topics on family is “Beloved” and “The Metamorphosis .”
    In Beloved, written by Toni Morrison Sethe’s daughter, Denver dealt with losing a sister by death and two brother running away from home. In addition, living in a haunted house with her mother who killed her sibling, not knowing any day her mom can make that same decision again, thinking it the best plan to keep her from slavery (Sweet Home). However, down the line meeting her dead sister, which made the table turn which made Denver made sacrifice by finding strength to save her family.
    In the story, “The Metamorphosis”, a family is traumatized when finding out their son has turned into a bug and may never turn back into his human state. The entire family depended on him because he was the bread winner of the family. Eventually, the family had to get on their feet to support themselves which allowed them to be more dependent and finding strength within themselves on being able to make it on their own.

  9. I would like to write about sacrifice as altruism and talk about how it played roles in “Beloved” by Toni Morrison and “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” by Sherman Alexie. In “Beloved” Sethe has sacrificed her little baby for her own good. In Alexie’s story, Jackson sacrifices every single dime he has earned with people surrounding him. I think both stories have a big contribution in terms of sacrifice.

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