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Write a 150-200 word response to each of the following discussion activities. Use specific references and direct quotes from our readings this week to illustrate and support your view/s.

Discussion Activity #1

  • Critic Roland Barthes has said, “Literature is the question minus the answer.” Considering Barthes’ observation, identify and explain a central question that Henry James’ “Daisy Miller” raises and the extent to which it offers answers. Explain how Henry James’ treatment of this question affects your understanding of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary and use specific, concrete examples from the story to illustrate how the scene (or scenes) raises questions about the characters and the extent to which it offers any answers. For example, James uses psychological realism to present to us a picture of Daisy Miller that is at times as bewildering to us as she is to Winterbourne. Why does James choose to probe both Winterbourne and Daisy’s characters — both of them Americans you should note — using a limited narrative perspective. In other words, the narrator only reveals to us the same perceptions and observations as the limited perceptions and observations of the characters in the story themselves (versus a more traditional omniscient narrator who would divulge everything to us). What effect does the limited narrative point-of-view achieve and what questions does it raise? Use at least one scene in the story to support your answer.

Discussion Activity #2

  • Compare “The Yellow Wall-paper” to James’ “Daisy Miller” as portraits of American women in peril. Compare the complicity of men in these crises.

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