Topic: Themes in Modern Literature

Please choose seven (7) of them and write one or two paragraphs about each one that you choose.

Your paragraph(s) should attempt to explain how this passage illustrates one of the text’s important themes, or how it illustrates something about the themes of the class. (as a reminder, the themes that have loosely organized the discussions this semester are “identity and belonging; isolation and alienation”).

When responding, please be sure to consider the text the passage comes from as a whole; do not restrict your discussion to just the passage that’s quoted. And there is no need to requote the passage you have been given (though you may find it useful to quote a small portion of the passage in your response).


  1. “Roberta had messed up my past somehow with that business about Maggie. I wouldn’t forget a thing like that. Would I?” (Toni Morrison, “Recitatif”).
  2. “Grace would ponder this story for a long time, with great sadness, and it would cause her to make a clear link between education and dignity, between the hard, obvious things that are printed in books and the soft, subtle things that lodge themselves into the soul. It was Grace who would begin to rethink her own schooling…” (ChimamandaNgoziAdichie, “The Headstrong Historian”).
  3. “Once more he took aim at the ducks, his heart filled with a primitive blood-lust” (Mo Yan, “The Old Gun”).
  4. “Yet for all that, I now find it strange that I never once looked back through the windows of the bus to the giant rain tree, which should have loomed up in its black entirety, no matter how dark the night, if I had only gazed into that part of the sky where the day was dawning” (ŌeKenzabuō, “The Clever Rain Tree”).
  5. “They were members of a secret sect that believed that Christ suffered and died for the poor. They called theirs The Religion of Sorrows….They seemed united in a common labour and faith: this was what most impressed Miriamu” (NgugiWaThiong’o, “Wedding at the Cross”).
  6. “Her eyes did not take themselves off her image, her comb worked pensively, and her open dressing gown revealed in the mirrors the intersected breasts of several women” (Clarice Lispector, “The Daydreams of a Drunk Woman”)
  7. “You volunteered the answer before anyone asked, as though you’d seized the opportunity to say aloud and in her words, what you yourself wanted to say. . . .” (Nawal El Saadawi, “In Camera”).

Other Material You May Need

“The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Volume 2”.

Type of service-Academic paper writing
Type of assignment-Essay
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