The Era


Part 1: Read and study the story “The Era” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, distributed with this exam. It may be useful to print a copy. Instructions follow – a few suggestions too. 1. The exam is open book, open note. It focuses on comprehension and application of ideas. 2. All questions address “The Era.” 3. I ask three questions, A, B, and C. Answer A. Then choose either B or C. Answer two questions. Don’t answer three. 4. Responses should a. make an analytical point or have an organizing thesis (7 points), b. document that claim deeply with evidence from the passage (7 points), c. and be organized, efficient, and clear (7 points). i. Total: 21 points per question, 3 for honor statement, 45 total for the exam 5. Any specific reference you make to the text, whether it’s a quote, paraphrase, or mention, please cite. Citation examples appear at the bottom of this page. 6. I strongly suggest writing a draft answer, then revising and editing. a. Aim to be as clear and specific as possible. b. Avoid diversions like a summary, a statement about the author, or praise for the story. They aren’t needed. This is an exam reply: be direct. c. Minor errors of spelling, grammar, and typography are not a major factor in grading unless they reader your answer unclear. (I’m much more concerned with your perception of the story, application of ideas, and clarity as you support a point.) 7. I also suggest not stopping after one bit of evidence. Support your points as deeply and convincingly as you can. Citation example: The narrator accepts her daughter’s demand, “Not ‘Dee,’ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!” (846), and adopts this name in her narration immediately (846, 847, 848). But as the fragile peace begins to break, her naming slides back to “Dee (Wangero)” on three occasions (848) and a taunting “Miss Wangero” (849) before one last dismissive “Dee” (849). Part 2: Write short essay responses, 1-3 paragraphs each. Answer A, then either B or C. Responses should a. make an analytical point or have an organizing thesis (7 points), b. document that claim very well with evidence from the passage (7 points), c. and be organized, efficient, and clear (7 points). Answer Question A in the box below; it expands as you type. A. What tactics or strategies does Adjei-Brenyah use to maintain credibility or reader belief, even as he’s describing a world that is clearly not a realistic representation of our own? Responses should a. make an analytical point or have an organizing thesis (7 points), b. document that claim very well with evidence from the passage (7 points), c. and be organized, efficient, and clear (7 points). Type into the shaded box below the question; it expands as you type. Choose either B or C – write on one of these two. B. “The Era” is speculative fiction; it occurs in a future setting that is not, by my honest assessment, our present reality (right?). As such, the story’s broader world imposes expectations and norms on Ben and other characters, and those different expectations and norms must be explained or illustrated for us to grasp the conditions under which Ben lives. Within the story world, we other, more local settings. What local setting is most unlike the broader story world? How does Adjei-Brenyah establish contrast or difference between them?

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