University of Utah The Short

Final – Part 1: Quotation Response

Overview / Instructions

Below you will find 5 quotations from literary narratives we studied in this course. Your job is to use what you’ve learned about narrative to craft brief, original interpretations of these passages. Choose 3 of the quotations to work with, and then compose a short, 1-2 paragraph response to each quotation in which you make the case for its significance in the context of the narrative from which it comes.

While composing your response, avoid simply summarizing or explaining what’s happening in the quoted passage or where the passage fits in the plot. Instead, you should engage the quotation in relation to narrative concepts/terms we’ve studied in and/or terms of larger thematic contexts that help to illustrate why the quotation is interesting and important.

Please help to identify which quotations you are working with by numbering your three responses to match the quotations as listed below .  

Quotations (choose 3)

  1. “Daddy is rubbing his pocket with his good hand. I hear the crinkle of plastic. For a moment, Mama is there next to him on the sofa, her arm laid across his lap while she palms his knee, which is how she sat with him when they watch TV together. I wonder if that is phantom pain, and if Daddy will feel his missing fingers the way we feel Mama, present in the absence. But it is still terrible when Daddy looks up at me again, past my left shoulder to the opening door, and she isn’t there.” (Salvage the Bones, “The Twelfth Day: Alive,” 247).
  2. The Remains of the Day: “But what is the sense in forever speculating what might have happened had such and such a moment turned out differently? One could presumably drive oneself to distraction in this way. In any case, while it is all very well to talk of ‘turning points’, one can surely only recognize such moments in retrospect. Naturally, when one looks back to such instances today, they may indeed take the appearance of being crucial, precious moments in one’s life; but of course, at the time, this was not the impression one had. Rather, it was as though one had available a never-ending number of days, months, years in which to sort out the vagaries of one’s relationship with Miss Kenton; an infinite number of further opportunities in which to remedy the effect of this or that misunderstanding. There was surely nothing to indicate at the time that such evidently small incidents would render whole dreams forever irredeemable.” (The Remains of the Day, “Day Three – Evening,” 79)
  3. “His wife had been through with him before but it never lasted. He was very wealthy, and would be much wealthier, and he knew she would not leave him ever now. That was one of the few things that he really knew. He knew about that, about motor cycles—that was earliest—about motor cars, about duck-shooting, about fishing, trout, salmon and big-sea, about sex in books, many books, too many books, about all court games, about dogs, not much about horses, about hanging onto his money, about most of the other things his world dealt in, and about his wife not leaving him. His wife had been a great beauty and she was still a great beauty in Africa, but she was not a great enough beauty any more at home to be able to leave him and better herself and she knew it and he knew it. She had missed the chance to leave him and he knew it. If he had been better with women she would probably have started to worry about him getting another new, beautiful wife; but she knew too much about him to worry about him either. Also, he had always had a great tolerance which seemed the nicest thing about him if it were not the most sinister.” (“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” 18)
  4. “Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for admission. ‘Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door—you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.’

‘Go away. I am not making myself ill.’ No; she was drinking in the very elixir of life through that open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had though with a shudder that life might be long.” (“The Story of an Hour,” 758)

  1. “I am inside of her head. I am a nice person, she is thinking. I deserve more. She wants to believe it. If only she could see herself through my eyes. If only she could see herself through my eyes looking through her eyes. I deserve to be loved, she thinks. She doesn’t believe it. If only I could believe it for her. I want to believe in her, believer inside of her. Believe hard enough inside of her that it somehow seeps through.” (“Standard Loneliness Package,” 32)

Fine Print

As with all of our course assignments, the Final Assignment activities can and should be approached as “open book.” While you’ll benefit from reviewing and studying the course lessons and your prior reading and writing assignments, you should use all of the course resources available to you as you complete the final. However, you should not conduct any outside/internet research or include any writing or ideas from any outside sources. When drawing upon concepts or terms discussed in the course lessons, please paraphrase these concepts/terms in your own words.

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