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IOC Prep

Texts: Purple Hibiscus and Macbeth

Guidelines:
Use the questions below to prepare for Part II of the IOC, the Discussion. The questions are
generic, but below the questions is a list of literary elements, characters and themes. Use
this list to add depth and detail to your responses. During the discussion, your response
will be graded in terms of your knowledge and understanding of the work and the relevance
of your response.

Structure your responses like this:


I. Direct response to the question—a topic sentence with a position. Do not start
with a fact.

II. Well-chosen examples from the text. Try to include a range of evidence when
appropriate to the question. A good guideline is three examples.

III. Add a SO WHAT. Connect your response to the larger themes of the work; focus
on the effect on the reader.

a. This change in character reveals ___________’s understanding of


_________________.
b. The use of this motif highlights _____________’s purpose because it shows
__________.
c. ________________ develops the theme in this way to make the reader understand
________________________.
d. Shifts in narration/setting/ leave a ___________________ effect on the reader
because __________________.
e. In this scene/through this symbol/character/conflict, _____________________
wants the reader/audience to feel/understand ______________________ so that
__________________________.

Generic Questions for Prose: Novel and short story


• To what extent do you feel the writer is trying to persuade you to think about an
issue or idea in a particular way?
• How does the play explore a moral issue?
• What is the significance of the setting?
• What techniques does the author use to create the mood of the work?
• How well do you think the writer handles the transition between one time and
another?
• Which character do you feel the writer relates to most closely? What makes you
think that?
• How does the author bring the reader closer to the characters?
• How does the novel explore a moral issue?
• What sort of techniques does the writer use to get you interested in the story and
the characters? Do you think they are successful?
• Choose one part of the novel that you found particularly challenging, exciting or
moving. What do you think prompted that response?
• How does the writer treat the novel’s antagonist?
• How does the writer use irony and what effect does it have on the reader?
• How does the novel portray characters that act immorally?

Below are the significant literary elements (motifs and symbols), characters, and themes
that you should be aware of in Purple Hibiscus
Motifs and symbols in that you may be asked about
Settings
Characters
Themes

Generic Questions for Drama


• Do you think the writer is particularly sympathetic towards one of the characters?
What makes you think that?
• How well do you think the writer manages to use the stage to establish a strong
sense of setting?
• What is your opinion about the closure in the last section of the play? Do you find
it satisfying or frustrating?
• What do you feel is the central conflict in the play? How important are the
underlying reasons for the conflict?
• How clearly is the writer able to convey a meaningful idea while keeping an
audience entertained?
• How does the playwright use language to establish character?
• How does the play reveal the psychological state of the characters?
• What elements make the play theatrical?
• How is the play structured to maximize its effect?
• How does the playwright make use of character foils and what impact do they
have on the play?
• How does the playwright use formal and informal speech?
• How does the writer use irony and what effect does it have on the audience?
• How does the play portray characters that act immorally?
Below are the significant literary elements (motifs, symbols, figurative language,
dramatic conventions), characters, and themes that you should be aware of in Macbeth.
Motifs and Symbols
• Blood and violence
• Daggers/Knives
• Children
• Sleep
• Witchcraft/ the supernatural
• Hallucinations
• Prophecy
• Verse vs. prose
• Antithesis
Settings
• Scotland
• England
• 11th century
Themes
• Power and ambition
• Guilt and conscience
• Just vs. unjust rule
• Gender roles: masculinity, femininity
• Fate vs. free will
• Appearance vs. reality

Characters
• Macbeth
• Lady Macbeth
• Banquo
• Fleance
• Duncan
• Malcolm
• Donaldbain
• Ross
• Lennox
• Macduff
• Lady Macduff
• Witches
Dramatic Conventions
• Soliloquies, asides, monologues, dialogue
• Foils
• Blank verse vs. prose
• Dramatic irony
• Aristotelian Tragedy
o Unity of time, place, and action
o Audience experiences pity and fear
o Catharsis: emotional release
o Tragic hero: Macbeth
§ Fall from nobility
§ Hubris
§ Recognition of responsibility

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