English 205

These questions will be asked at an oral final: you will meet in groups of three and answerquestions selected from those below. Note that the exact form of the question may shift somewhat. (Films may be included if the question specifically permits or requires.) Questions will fall into one of four categories: questions about specific works, comparative questions, general questions, and relevant historical events. Good responses will include specific references from our semester.
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Engl 205 final exam handout
G. Thompson
Winter 2018
These questions will be asked at an oral final: you will meet in groups of three and answer
questions selected from those below. Note that the exact form of the question may shift
somewhat. (Films may be included if the question specifically permits or requires.) Questions
will fall into one of four categories: questions about specific works, comparative questions,
general questions, and relevant historical events. Good responses will include specific
references from our semester. Austerlitz questions are to be added after Wednesday’s class.
Specific works:
How does the fate of the Trotta family parallel the decline of the Austrian Empire? Do their
declines come from similar causes?
How much responsibility do Christine and Ferdinand have for their situations in The Post-Office
Girl? And how much is due to events over which they have no control?
To what extent is Kafka’s book applicable to later events in Central Europe? What is its
relevance?
Describe one interaction from von Rezzori’s book which epitomizes the narrator’s take on antisemitism (at least at that time in the narrative).
How do kitsch and irony figure into the fates of several of the characters in Kundera’ s novel?
How would you describe the conclusion György reaches from his experiences?
Comparative questions:
To what extent does Ludwik find himself in a kafkaesque situation?
Compare Christine Hoflehner with Carl Joseph von Trotta in their respective novels by
Austrians.
How do Kertesz and Sebald address the experience of concentration camps in their novels?
Compare the circumstances for women in books read this semester by Roth, Zweig, and von
Rezzori.
Compare the activities of interrogators in The Trial, The Joke, and either Sophie Scholl or The
Lives of Others.
General questions:
What do you see as the importance of (some of) the literature we’ve read to us now, either as
art or as related to society more generally? Be specific about at least three texts in your
response. (Discussion of films optional.)
How is trauma reflected in three of our texts from this semester? (You may include one film in
your response if desired.)
Give an example of a character from our reading this semester who responded well under
pressure, and one of a character who did not. What sorts of pressures were involved? How did
things turn out for them?
Give at least three examples of characters from our readings who found themselves in
situations which were absurd or irrational. Do these situations apply for us now, in our country?
What lessons if any can we draw from these narratives?
Historical events:
You should know the approximate dates of the events below, and should be prepared to
discuss briefly their relevance to our reading this semester:
Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
of Austria
Russian Revolution
Armistice (end of WWI)
Treaty of Versailles
Weimar Republic
Hitler installed as Chancellor
Anschluss
Invasion of Poland–Germany and USSR
Concentration camps active
End of WWII in Europe
Beginning of Cold War
Prague Spring
Solidarity movement
Fall of communism in Europe

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