1. Give two examples of each of the following elements of fiction and nonfiction from the texts you’ve read in Units 1, 2, and 3.
2. Argue a case for either the usage of hyperbole or understatement. Which do you think is more effective? More humorous? Explain your opinions, citing examples from the texts.
3. Cite examples from the texts you’ve read in Units 1, 2, and 3 to briefly explain the answers to the Big Questions.
A. Unit 1: Can
B. Unit 2: Is conflict necessary?
C. Unit 3: Is knowledge the same as understanding?
4. Discuss the role of love in three of the texts you read in Units 1, 2, or 3.
5. Explain the author’s use of symbolism in three of the texts from Units 1, 2, or 3.
“I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen Ronnie is calling. He is wet and I change him. It is rare there is such a cry now. That time of motherhood is almost behind me when the ear is not one’s own but must always be racked and listening for the child cry, the child call. We sit for a while and I hold him, looking out over the city spread in charcoal with its soft aisles of light. “Shoogily,” he breathes and curls closer. I carry him back to bed, asleep. Shoogily. A funny word, a family word, inherited from Emily, invented by her to say: comfort. In this and other ways she leaves her seal, I say aloud. And startle at my saying it. What do I mean? What did I start to gather together, to try and make coherent? I was at the terrible, growing years. War years. I do not remember them well. I was working, there were four smaller ones now, there was not time for her. She had to help be a mother, and housekeeper, and shopper. She had to set her seal. Mornings of crisis and near hysteria trying to get lunches packed, hair combed, coats and shoes found, everyone to school or Child Care on time, the baby ready for transportation. And always the paper scribbled on by a smaller one, the book looked at by Susan then mislaid, the homework not done. Running out to that huge school where she was one, she was lost, she was a drop; suffering over the unpreparedness, stammering and unsure in her classes. There was so little time left at night after the kids were bedded down. She would struggle over books, always eating (it was in those years she developed her enormous appetite that is legendary in our family) and I would be ironing, or preparing food for the next day, or writing V-mail to Bill, or tending the baby. Sometimes, to make me laugh, or out of her despair, she would imitate happenings or types at school.
I think I said once: “Why don’t you do something like this in the school amateur show?” One morning she phoned me at work, hardly understandable through the weeping: “Mother, I did it. I won, I won; they gave me first prize; they clapped and clapped and wouldn’t let me go.” Now suddenly she was Somebody, and as imprisoned in her difference as she had been in anonymity.
She began to be asked to perform at other high schools, even colleges, then at city and statewide affairs. The first one we went to, I only recognized her that first moment when thin, shy, she almost drowned herself into the curtains. Then: Was this Emily? The control, the command, the convulsing and deadly clowning, the spell, then the roaring, stamping audience, unwilling to let this rare and precious laughter out of their lives. Afterwards: You ought to do something about her with a gift like that–but without money or knowing how, what does one do? We have lef t i t all to her, and the gif t has as of ten eddied inside, clogged and clot ted, as been used and growing. She is coming. She runs up the stairs two at a time with her light graceful step, and I know she is happy tonight. Whatever it was that occasioned your call did not happen today. “Aren’t you ever going to finish the ironing, Mother? Whistler painted his mother in a rocker. I’d have to paint mine standing over an ironing board.” This is one of her communicative nights and she tells me everything and nothing as she fixes herself a plate of food out of the icebox. She is so lovely. Why did you want me to come in at all? Why were you concerned? She will f ind her way. She starts up the stairs to bed. “Don’t get me up with the rest in the morning.” “But I thought you were having midterms.” “Oh, those,” she comes back in, kisses me, and says quite lightly, “in a couple of years when we’ ll all be atom- dead they won’t mat ter a bi t .” She has said it before. She believes it. But because I have been dredging the past, and all that compounds a human being is so heavy and meaningful in me, I cannot endure i t tonight . I will never total it all. I will never come in to say: She was a child seldom smiled at. Her father left me before she was a year old. I had to work her first six years when there was work, or I sent her home and to his relatives. There were tears she had care she hated. She was dark and thin and foreign-looking in a world where the prestige went to blondness and curly hair and dimples, she was slow where glibness was prized. She was a child of anxious, not proud, love. We were poor and could not afford for her the soil of easy growth. I was a young mother, I was a distracted mother. There were other children pushing up, demanding. Her younger sister seemed all that she was not. There were years she did not want me to touch her. She kept too much in herself, her life was such she had to keep too much in herself. My wisdom came too late. She has much to her and probably nothing will come of i t . She is a child of her age, of depression, of war, of fear. L et her be. So all t hat is in her w ill not bloom — bu t in how many does i t ? T here is s t ill enough lef t to live by. Only help her to know–help make it so there is cause for her to know–that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron.
“Old Man at the Bridge” by Ernest Hemingway An old man with steel rimmed spectacles and very dusty clothes sat by the side of the road. There was a pontoon bridge across the river and carts, trucks, and men, women and children were crossing it. The mule-drawn carts staggered up the steep bank from the bridge with soldiers helping push against the spokes of the wheels. The trucks ground up and away heading out of it all and the peasants plodded along in the ankle deep dust. But the old man sat there without moving. He was too tired to go any farther. It was my business to cross the bridge, explore the bridgehead beyond and find out to what point the enemy had advanced. I did this and returned over the bridge. There were not so many carts now and very few people on foot, but the old man was still there. “Where do you come from?” I asked him. “From San Carlos,” he said, and smiled. That was his native town and so it gave him pleasure to mention it and he smiled. “I was taking care of animals,” he explained. “Oh,” I said, not quite understanding. “Yes,” he said, “I stayed, you see, taking care of animals. I was the last one to leave the town of San Carlos.” He did not look like a shepherd nor a herdsman and I looked at his black dusty clothes and his gray dusty face and his steel rimmed spectacles and said, “What animals were they?” “Various animals,” he said, and shook his head. “I had to leave them.” I was watching the bridge and the African looking country of the Ebro Delta and wondering how long now it would be before we would see the enemy, and listening all the while for the first noises that would signal that ever mysterious event called contact, and the old man still sat there. “What animals were they?” I asked. “There were three animals altogether,” he explained. “There were two goats and a cat and then there were four pairs of pigeons.”
“And you had to leave them?” I asked. “Yes. Because of the artillery. The captain told me to go because of the artillery.”
“And you have no family?” I asked, watching the far end of the bridge where a few last carts were hurrying
down the slope of the bank. “No,” he said, “only the animals I stated. The cat, of course, will be all right. A cat can look out for itself, but I cannot think what will become of the others.” “What politics have you?” I asked. “I am without politics,” he said. “I am seventy-six years old. I have come twelve kilometers now and I think now I can go no further.” “This is not a good place to stop,” I said. “If you can make it, there are trucks up the road where it forks for Tortosa.” “I will wait a while,” he said, “and then I will go. Where do the trucks go?” “Towards Barcelona,” I told him. “I know no one in that direction,” he said, “but thank you very much. Thank you again very much.”He looked at me very blankly and tiredly, then said, having to share his worry with some one, “The cat will be all right, I am sure. There is no need to be unquiet about the cat. But the others. Now what do you think about the others?” “Why they’ll probably come through it all right.” “You think so?” “Why not,” I said, watching the far bank where now there were no carts. “But what will they do under the artillery when I was told to leave because of the artillery?” “Did you leave the dove cage unlocked?” I asked. “Yes.” “Then they’ll fly.”
“Yes, certainly they’ll fly. But the others. It’s better not to think about the others,” he said. “If you are rested I would go,” I urged. “Get up and try to walk now.” “Thank you,” he said and got to his feet, swayed from side to side and then sat down backwards in the dust.
“I was taking care of animals,” he said dully, but no longer to me. “I was only taking care of animals.” There was nothing to do about him. It was Easter Sunday and the Fascists 1 were advancing toward the Ebro. It was a gray overcast day with a low ceiling so their planes were not up. That and the fact that cats know how to look after themselves was all the good luck that old man would ever have.
“I Am an American Day” Address by Learned Hand We have gathered here to af f irm a fai th, a fai th in a common purpose, a common conviction, a common devotion. Some of us have chosen A merica as the land of our adoption; the res t have come from those who did the same. For this reason we have some right to consider ourselves a picked group, a group of those who had the courage to break from the past and brave the dangers and the loneliness of a strange land. What was the object that nerved us, or those who went before us, to this choice? We sought liberty; freedom from oppression, freedom from want, freedom to be ourselves. This we then sought; this we now believe that we are by way of winning. What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it. And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty, and leads straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few; as we have learned to our sorrow. What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to ear th unheeded; the spirit of liber t y is the spirit of Him who, near t wo thousand years ago, taught mank ind that lesson i t has never learned, but has never qui te forgot ten; that there may be a k ingdom where the leas t shall be heard and considered side by side wi th the greates t . And now in that spirit, that spirit of an America which has never been, and which may never be; nay, which never will be except as the conscience and courage of Americans create it; yet in the spirit of that America which lies hidden in some form in the aspirations of us all; in the spirit of that America for which our young men are at this moment fighting and dying; in that spirit of liberty and of America I ask you to rise and with me pledge our faith in the glorious destiny of our beloved country.