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For each novel I am providing two prompts from which you may choose.

Of course, should your


Muse call you in a different direction, give me some description of where you would like to go
(pdx.edu email) and Ill get back to you with encouraging or discouraging noises. Due May 7.
~ 3 pages
A Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
1. Explore Offreds responses to her circumstances. Her sense of hopelessness and the
need to comply with the demands of her new station, balanced by the small acts of
rebellion and resistance. What keeps her personality intact, to the degree that it is?
How do her thoughts and actions compare to those of her friend Moira or Janine?
Consider how she is being forced into conformity with a new social reality. What
avenues are open to her? There are connections to be made with Toni Morrisons A
Mercy. Also with Scotts Two Cheers for Anarchy and Millers Domination and
Subordination. How does/should the individual respond to oppression? References
to current situations across the globe may be incorporated.
2. Choose some significant event in the novel and retell it through the eyes of one of the
other characters involved. This is a creative work wherein you work with the same
basic situation, but you adopt a different set of eyes, incorporating their assumptions,
prejudices, rationales, and viewpoint. You cant change the major sequence of events,
but you may add that which might not have been available to Affreds perspective.
Your set of eyes could belong to Moira, Serena, the Commander, Nick, Ofglen, or
even Aunt Lydia. This is an invitation to write some fiction,
The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin
1. In her novel, LeGuin takes a fond, but unromantic look at what it might be to be
born into an egalitarian, anarchistic society. What values would be promoted and
internalized? What mechanisms might be employed to make things work and to
promote and induce behavior that would allow survival in a challenging
environment? Using Urras, A-IO, and Thu as counters, describe the advantages of
Anarres. Then turn to its darker side, the consequences this set of social conformities
and cultural myths can have on individuals such as Shevek or Tirin. And the
potential for power accumulation by the likes of Sabul. We necessarily approach
these issues from our own social perspective, but what challenges does LeGuin see
in forming A More Perfect Union? You need not address the most global
questions, but choose an angle related to this fundamental conundrum and have at it.
References to our previous readings are of course encouraged, as appropriate.
2. You also will be afforded the option of a fictional piece. Choose a significant episode
in the novel and recount it through the eyes of someone other than Shevek. I will
look for evidence that you understand the distance in understanding and cultural
awareness (as appropriate) between your characters perspective and that of the
Sheveks understanding. You are free to choose, but I want to see that you inhabit
your character. It could be Sabul, the doctor Kimoe, Pae, Oiie, Takver or
Ambassador Keng if you feel ambitious. It should be a scenario where the
difference in perspective has meaning. You can augment the circumstances (Shevek
didnt see all that was happening), but you cant alter the arc of the story or change
major events.

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