Final Exam Preparation: Questions for Greater Understanding

1. What does the author identify in the first paragraph? 2. What is her viewpoint about artists in the second paragraph? 3. What do you think the author means when she asks in the title, “Where’s today’s Dorothea Lange?” 4. The author’s thesis is made pretty clear in the lines bellow the title—what is her thesis/argument? 5. What are some examples of films and songs that the author thinks were “telling the tale, making people see, hear and feel the pain as only the arts can do” in the past?

Article 1: “Where is today’s Dorothea Lange?”

Article 1: “Where is today’s Dorothea Lange?”
6. In the 8th and 9th paragraph, which artist does the author see as no longer offering even “slimmest portion of his art to provide the sense of solace he'd given so many dissenters long ago?” 7. In the second to last paragraph, what type of artists does the author suggest are doing this (telling the tale, making people see, hear and feel the pain) today? 8. Can you think of any examples of current artists (music, TV, movies, books, comedians, etc.) who you think support the author’s argument that artists today are not interested in acknowledging and representing our troubled times? 9. Can you think of counter examples that show that some artists actually are engaged with and expressing current social, political, and economic woes?

Article 2: “The Twist: The swivel that shook the world”
1. In the first paragraph, what does the author write was the general public’s reaction to The Twist? 2. What movements in the 60’s does the author identify as having been influenced by popularization of the Twist in the second paragraph? 3. According to the article, what was the unlikely origin of the dance? 4. What examples does the author give of negative reactions to the Twist?

Article 2: “The Twist: The swivel that shook the world”
5. What famous people does the author tell us adopted this dance? 6. What was the main cause of the downfall of the Twist’s popularity? 7. Do you agree with the author that a dance can affect society so profoundly? 8. Can you think of other dance crazes or pop culture artistic phenomena that have had some kind of effect on our culture?

Synthesizing Ideas: Both Articles
1. Why do you think these two articles were chosen to go together? What unifying theme do you see running through both articles? 2. Does art have to be “deep” or “sorrowful” in order to have an impact on society? 3. Can you think of any examples of “pop” art (music, paintings, movies, TV, books, poems etc.) that have made a particularly strong impact on society in your lifetime? Or a significant impact on you life?

For the English 101 common final exam, you will write a 500-700 word documented paper in class. You will receive the specific exam prompt on the day of the final. Here are steps to help you prepare for the final: 1. Read: Read and annotate the articles. As you read, highlight or underline key passages, examples and main ideas; locate and mark important quotes that you may be able to use in your essay later; and make marginal notes to question or comment on the texts, noting where you agree, disagree, or react strongly otherwise. Be able to summarize the articles briefly and identify their main idea and primary supporting points. Brainstorm: Consider the viewpoints in the articles and then consider the various art forms you encounter whether through music, film, literature or other forms and the extent to which these art forms and their artists chronicle the realities of your life—our lives---what life is like today in the United States and/or Los Angeles. Think about the purpose and function of the art you’ve observed or perhaps even created. Plan and Organize: After brainstorming possible questions that might appear on the final, make an outline or otherwise plan an argumentative essay that takes a position on the state of art in popular culture today. You should be able to support your opinions on the topic with examples drawn from one or both of the articles along with other sources and/or personal experience and observations.

English 101 Common Final Exam Preparation Guide

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