The Story of Nil”

The Story of Nil”

Assignment #1
(5-8 sentence answers for each)
Answer the following questions after reading “The Story of Nil”. Use examples and/or brief quotations from the text, and draw heavily from personal experience where indicated, to support your position.

1.    Clearly, music plays a life-giving function in the story, whereby Nil blesses others with his musical talent. Consider an example where you, like Nil, have used a talent to bring life (enrichment) to others, or else make a connection to the text by referring to a time when another gifted you with a creative or life-giving act.

2.    The Story of Nil is an example of “An Exchange of Gifts,” where an exchange takes place between people for their mutual benefit. Consider a relationship between any characters in your Lesson Four readings, commenting on how you view the act as a mutual enrichment.

3.    In Lesson 4 Parts 1 and 2 you were introduced to the elements of setting, point of view, dialogue, tone, mood and style, and to consider the role they play in short story development.  Comment on how you observed one or two of these elements and how your experience was enriched.

Assignment #2
(5- 8 sentence answers for each)
Answer the following questions after reading “Pavlova.”  Remember to interact directly with the text to support your answers whenever possible. Once again, if you get stuck, as with most poetry, begin by paying attention to any contrasts.
1.    Which images in the poem are especially vivid to you, and what contrasts and surprises, if any, do these images provide?

2.    What “impressions” are created in the poem about Pavlova? About ballet? About the speaker? Then, comment on how death is represented by the poet as you make any connections.

3.    Taking note of Pavlova’s life, as portrayed by the poet, surmise something about Pavlova’s person or character, and then support your insight.

4.    Is this poem more humanistic or spiritual as it deals with the question of death? Refer to the poem’s language, tone and/or devices to support your position. What thoughts or feelings does the poem leave with you? Are any important insights made about life; and if so, are you in any way challenged after reading the poem?

Assignment #3
(10-15 sentences)
Consider the following questions and write a response in one or two paragraphs:

What is your opinion of censorship?  What view does Chekhov present in “A Work of Art”?  In your opinion, what makes ‘good art’? What view does Chekhov present?  What other issues about artworks and responses to artwork are raised in the story?  What, then, can you conclude about Chekhov’s satire and about the world of art and culture?

Assignment #4
(4-6 sentences)
Write an opening paragraph to an essay, considering culture as a regulating force on human life. Consider such things as political correctness, or culture being somewhat sinister, or culture creating a cohesion/identity, or anything you feel strongly about as you make a personal connection with this force in our lives. This writing experience will give me some insight into how you organize your writing for an essay topic. Be sure to highlight your thesis statement.

Advice – If you do not have a worked out approach of your own for writing an expository essay, consider a simple pattern as follows:

Frame the essay by opening with a quote, observation or insight (offer the context)
Introduce or assert your thesis statement (what you have set out to prove)
Offer how you might argue the point (introduce 2-3 supporting insights you’d use)

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