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ENG 111 Honors: College Composition I (Naquin-LO)

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The Year of the Elephant

Choose ONE of the following prompts to discuss in an essay of 3-4 pages (750-1000 words). Use plenty of properly cited quotes and specific examples to support the points you make.  Follow MLA guidelines for formatting your paper and include a works cited page.

  1. In her introduction, Fernea highlights three interrelated problems of the post-independence generation: history, the national language, and feminism.  How are these themes expressed in Zahra’s situation and how do they develop over the course of the novella? How do they impact Zahra’s life?  How does she resolve them (if she does)?
  2. According to Fernea, The Year of the Elephant was one of the first works by any Moroccan writer to be translated from Arabic into English (XIV).  What role does language play in Zahra’s story as well as the short stories at the end of this book? What political reasons might have influenced Abouzeid’s choice to write this book in Arabic even though she is trilingual (Arabic, French, and English)?
  3. What is the significance of the title, “Year of the Elephant?” What does Zahra mean by this sentence: “I call it [the past] the year of luxury in comparison with the year of the elephant, that year at the time of the Prophet” (81).  How might Zahra’s story parallel that of Mecca and Abraha?
  4. Propose a topic and get my approval IN ADVANCE.

For more information, please refer to the assignment information in your Canvas course.

Midterm Exam Essay - The Year of the Elephant and Farming for Bones

Choose ONE of the following prompts, and write an essay of approximately 1000-1250 words. Be sure to provide plenty of specific examples from the texts to support the points you make. 

  1. Both Farming for Bones and The Year of the Elephant feature female protagonists who face numerous challenges.  How do Amabelle and Zahra respond to the challenges they face?  What coping strategies do they employ?  Are there any parallels in the challenges they face and those faced by women today?  
  2. The lives of Zahra and Amabelle are very much influenced by political events in the countries in which they reside.  How does the political context in which these characters find themselves shape their personalities and their destinies? Are women's lives in other countries today shaped by politics?
  3. Why did Edwidge Danticat and Leila Abouzeid write Farming for Bones and The Year of the Elephant?  What themes do the stories share?  Would these themes be appropriate today?  If so, in which countries and/or contexts?
  4. Propose your own topic and get my approval in advance.

For more information, please refer to the assignment information in your Canvas course.

Other Voices, Other Vistas

In this essay you will write a literary comparison discussing elements found in both our texts.  This comparison MUST be written in alternating point organization (not block style).  In the alternating point organization, you need to discuss a sub-point of your thesis and BOTH texts in each body paragraph.  Most importantly, your essay must have a purpose beyond simply discussing similarities and differences of the short stories you choose.  Your essay needs to pass the SO WHAT? test.  What can we learn from reading your essay?

Choose ONE of the following prompts, and write an essay of approximately 1000-1250 words. Be sure to provide plenty of properly cited specific examples from the texts to support the points you make.  You need to discuss at least TWO stories from each country, for a total of FOUR stories.

Choose TWO countries' short stories you would like to discuss.  Then choose 2-3 elements of fiction you would like to discuss.

  • Countries - Africa, China, India, Japan, Latin American
  • Elements - Plot, Setting, Character, Conflict, Symbol, and Point of View are the main elements which fiction writers use to develop a story and its Theme.

For more information, please refer to the assignment information in your Canvas course.