Final examination
English 668: Modern British Novel
Professor Kathryn Conrad
Fall 2003

Due date: Tuesday, December 16, by 5 pm.

Three ways to submit your final:

You may drop off the exam either under my office door anytime or, if you want to hand it to me in person, between 1 and 3 pm Tuesday, December 16.  My office is  2035 Wescoe Hall (Lawrence campus).
You may e-mail your final examination to me at  If you do not get a reply from me by 7 pm on Tuesday, December 16, you should resubmit your final to me via the Digital Drop Box.
You may use the Digital Drop Box on the Blackboard site, under "Tools."
No extensions will be granted on the final examination.

     Choose two of the following questions.  As you answer each question, you should discuss three texts.  By the end of the examination, you should have discussed at least five different texts. (This means, of course, that you are allowed to write on one text twice, if you'd like.) Those who have not chosen to write a paper for the course on Ulysses are strongly encouraged to write on Ulysses at least once. You may choose one of the "alternative" texts (the ones from the Blackboard forums: East/West, Day of the Triffids, From Hell, etc ) to write on.
     Your essays will be evaluated on clarity, demonstrated knowledge of texts, accuracy, subtlety of argument, and completeness of answer (i.e., whether or not you answered the question). Although you may choose to write an introduction and to link your answers as if you were were writing an essay, you may also choose to write about the texts separately; you will not be penalized for either approach.  You should write at least one long paragraph on each text; I imagine that your final exam will be approximately 6 double-spaced pages long, although this is just a guide.  Some of these questions may overlap; try not to repeat yourself.  You can choose to combine two questions into one, but that combined question will only count as one; you still need to answer a second question.

1.  Writer Audre Lorde wrote that  "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house" (Sister Outsider). Test this statement with three texts, making clear throughout how you interpret "the master's tools" and "the master's house" in the context of the texts you choose to analyze.

2.  Discuss three texts which engage with the gaze, display, or, more generally, the visual mode of representation.  What do these texts suggest about the relationship between seeing and being? (You may also choose to discuss the relationship between seeing and hearing, and/or between hearing and being.)

3. The Oxford English Dictionary gives several definitions of "author," including not only "one who sets forth written statements" but also "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and "one who has authority over others; a director, ruler, commander." "Authority" itself is defined as "power over others" as well as "power to influence action, opinion, belief."  Discuss the relationship between authorship and authority in three texts.

4. In Reauthorizing Joyce, Vicki Mahaffey suggests that "language and clothes comprise comparable systems of signification....What they reveal is its tantalizing play; what they conceal is sameness, an awareness of our common mortality" (161).  Discuss the relationship between clothing and language in three texts.

5. In "Modernism and the Modern Novel," Christopher Keep, Tim McLaughlin, and Robin Parmar write the following:

Modernism is often derided for abandoning the social world in favour of its narcissistic interest in language and its processes. Recognizing the failure of language to ever fully communicate meaning ("That's not it at all, that's not what I meant at all" laments Eliot's J. Alfred Prufrock), the modernists generally downplayed content in favour of an investigation of form. (
Choose three texts and analyze them in terms of the statement above.  You may want to agree with the statement; you may also choose to use one or more of the texts as evidence against the statement.

6.  Write your own question and answer it.  Note: you will be judged not only on your answer but on your question, so articulate your question carefully.  You are welcome to adapt questions you submitted to me or questions you heard in class.