1. Short-response prompt
Read the following passage from Katherine Mansfield’s “The Daughters of the Late Colonel”:She went over to where Josephine was standing. She wanted to say something to Josephine, something frightfully important, about—about the future and what…”Don’t you think perhaps—” she began. But Josephine interrupted her. “I was wondering if now—” she murmured. They stopped; they waited for each other. “Go on, Con,” said Josephine. “No, no, Jug, after you,” said Constantia. “No, say what you were going to say. You began,” said Josephine. “I… I’d rather hear what you were going to say first,” said Constantia.
What feminist message does the author develop in this passage? How does she use stylistic and rhetorical devices such as characterization, point of view, and dialogue in order to develop that message? Support your ideas with specific evidence from the text.
2. Short-response prompt
Read the following excerpt from “Letter to George III, 1793”:If you assert that your reverence for Our Celestial dynasty fills you with a desire to acquire our civilisation, our ceremonies and code of laws differ so completely from your own that, even if your Envoy were able to acquire the rudiments of our civilisation, you could not possibly transplant our manners and customs to your alien soil. Therefore, however adept the Envoy might become, nothing would be gained thereby.Swaying the wide world, I have but one aim in view, namely, to maintain a perfect governance and to fulfil the duties of the State: strange and costly objects do not interest me. If I have commanded that the tribute offerings sent by you, O King, are to be accepted, this was solely in consideration for the spirit which prompted you to dispatch them from afar. Our dynasty’s majestic virtue has penetrated unto every country under Heaven, and Kings of all nations have offered their costly tribute by land and sea. As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country’s manufactures.
Interpret the implied meaning beneath the Emperor’s words, citing a direct example from the excerpt. Then, explain how the message would have likely been received by the British imperialists, supporting your answer with evidence about the general imperialistic attitudes in Britain at the time.
3. Short-response prompt
Read the following passage from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad:Once, I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast. There wasn’t even a shed there, and she was shelling the bush. It appears the French had one of their wars going on thereabouts. Her ensign dropped limp like a rag; the muzzles of the long six-inch guns stuck out all over the low hull; the greasy, slimy swell swung her up lazily and let her down, swaying her thin masts. In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent. Pop, would go one of the six-inch guns; a small flame would dart and vanish, a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech—and nothing happened. Nothing could happen. There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding, a sense of lugubrious drollery in the sight; and it was not dissipated by somebody on board assuring me earnestly there was a camp of natives—he called them enemies!—hidden out of sight somewhere.
What is the main purpose of the passage? Write a short argument to answer the question. Develop your ideas by analyzing specific details from the passage. You are writing an argument, so be careful to include a clear thesis and to respond to at least one counter-argument.