ENGLISH 335 // Fall 1998 // Take-Home Final Examination

INSTRUCTIONS.- This is an open-book exam; you may also consult class handouts and your notes. Your exam can be typed or handwritten. Please make sure that all sheets are stapled together. And, O Best Beloved, do not forget to put your name on the exam!

Approximate page allotments are given for each Part; the entire exam should take no more than four hours to write. Notice that you're offered more than a single choice in each Part, but please try to not write about the same texts in each question and do avoid, as much as possible, discussing texts or topics you've already tackled in your two papers.

Place your exams in your preceptor's box in 22 McCosh by 4:30 on Monday, January 18. Earlier submissions are fine, but this deadline CANNOT be extended. You can pick up your second essay in the same office in the slot marked "English 335."

PART ONE: Answer any ONE of the following questions for a mini-essay of 2 pages :

(1) This link takes you to a graphic sequence Sendak drew while listening to Mozart's music. What's going on? Interpret the sequence by moving horizontally through each of the six lines, detail by detail. How is the unfolding "story" related to either that of Max or Jenny? Be as precise as possible.

(2) The first-full page picture in Kipling's final Just So story, "The Butterfly that Stamped" features a huge, open-mouthed marine creature emerging from the water (p.155) which recalls the first full-page picture, in the very first story in the collection, of the huge whale who also opened its hungry mouth (p. 27). Try to relate the two pictures and the captions that go with them. What has changed in these representations? And what does that change betoken, do you think? If you prefer, you may want to work with the Butterfly story's second drawing of the Djinns (p. 163) by relating it to the second drawing, also of a Djinn, in the collection's second story, the Camel tale (p.39).

(3) The showing of the 10-minute animation of Where the Wild Things Are elicited some very interesting responses from several people in the audience. We had no time left to speculate further about what may be lost orgained when a book's pictures are set in motion and its words are heard in a voice-over rather than read on a page; and we had no time at all to ask similar questions about the 20-minute film showing of How the Camel Got Its Hump. If interested, here is your chance to pursue this topic with relation to either film.

(4) We talked about Sendak's use of double-page illustrations in Wild Things, Bat Poet, Fly By Night, and Higglety, Pigglety, Pop!, but never had much to say about Garth Williams' similar use of drawings that spill over two pages, such as those on pp. 14-15 and 108-109 of Charlotte's Web. Taking both of those illustrations contrast their function to that of any one double-page illustration in Sendak.

PART TWO: Write a mini-essay of no more than 3 pages on any ONE of the following topics:

(1) If you were introduced as a child to any one text on our syllabus, here's a chance to contrast your earlier responses to your re-reading. What overlaps were there? What differences? Can you draw any generalizations about child vs. adult readings of the text? Try to be as concrete as possible.

(2) We occasionally read a short story to illuminate a longer work: "Behind the White Brick" in relation to A Little Princess, "A Modern Cinderella" in relation to Little Women, "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" in relation to The Just Stories. Choose one such pairing and explain how the larger text might be understood through the shorter.

(3) "The Walrus and the Carpenter" or "The White Knight's Song" are related to concerns Carroll dramatizes through Alice's story just as much as Jarrell's "The Owl's Bed-Time Story" or the bat's last poem are central to his own concerns. Explain, by selecting one such poem. Be sure to place it within its prose surroundings.

(4) Place Primrose's and Eustace's interactions into a larger sequence; what does that sequence tell us about their evolving relationship? And why is it so important a component within A Wonderbook for Girls and Boys?

PART THREE: Write a comparative essay on any ONE of the following topics (5 pages)

(1) Cinderella's godmother was all-powerful. But later characters who help the young are themselves depicted as marginal, vulnerable, enfeebled. Why? Like Professor Bhaer, Ram Dass is a foreigner; Miles Hendon is even more of an outsider; Carrisford is an invalid; the little King of the Golden River was rendered impotent by a king stronger than himself before he could help Gluck. And tiny, short-lived Charlotte is in many ways more fragile than the threatened Wilbur. Why are these allies presented as being themselves disempowered? What different reasons might be involved? Discuss, by dwelling on three sets of "protectors" and their wards.

(2) Given the notion that children's books should supposedly help "socialize" the young, it seems curious that

the texts we've read so often seem to endorse asocial or anti-social behavior: Kipling's Elephant Child winds up "spanking" grownups with his new trunk; the Wild Things mirror Max's defiance; gluttonous Templeton and Jenny disregard others with impunity; and then there are those two aggressive Babies, Burnett's and Sendak's,

and more. Discuss the different roles three such figures play, and assess their possible impact on a child-reader.

(3) Write an essay tracing what we've called the "maternal axis" through at least three major permutations.

(4) Whereas animal companions once brought a child in contact with magic (the birds in "Ashenputtel," for instance), they seem to serve more psychological needs in later fictions: it is Jo and Sarah who invest their rats with meaning, Fern who puts Wilbur into a baby carriage, Alice who transforms the Black Kitten into a Red Queen or David who dreams up an owl mother. Is this investment manipulative? Does it rob the animal of an intrinsic significance? Discuss, by considering three texts.

(5) Write an essay in which you contrast two fictions in which a child's forays into fantasy are encouraged with two fictions in which imaginative excesses seem to be frowned upon. Choose your examples with care.

(6) Verbal nonsense or anti-sense functions very differently in the fantasylands created by Carroll, Baum, Carryll, and the Sendak of Higglety, Pigglety, Pop! Work out the differences through a close analysis of comparable passages in any two of these texts.