There is really nothing more to say—except why. But since why is

Spring Trimester: Final Exam Review
“There is really nothing more to say—except why. But since
why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.”
Mr. Morgan
English 11
Spring Trimester Final Exam
The spring trimester final exam will test your understanding and analysis of The Bluest Eye and
creative writing concepts covered in the spring trimester. Below you will find the different sections of
the exam.
The exam format:
Multiple choice questions on The Bluest Eye- This section will mainly be concerned with basic questions
of character and plot. If you have carefully read the book and followed along with us in class during
discussion you should not have difficulty here. If you are someone (as I know some of you are) who has
either struggled with comprehension of the novel or not made a significant enough effort to stay
abreast with the reading and understand it, I suggest you seek me outside of class as soon as possible.
Passage analysis The Bluest Eye- This section will ask you to both provide the context as well as
significance and meaning for various passages directly from the book. These will be graded on a scale
and the better that you can both connect them to themes and ideas expressed by the book the more
points you will earn.
Essay question on The Bluest Eye- See essay question.
Vocabulary-(original sentences and matching of the definition
Short story concepts application- you will be given a short story and be asked to apply your
understanding of concepts discussed in class to an analysis of the short story. See below for concepts
you will be responsible for.
“Thieves In The Night” Lyrics—Blackstar
"Thieves In The Night"
[Talib Kweli]
Yo Dee (What?)
Come on (Yeah..)
What? What? Come on
"Give me the fortune, keep the fame," said my man Louis
I agreed, know what he mean because we live the truest lie
I asked him why we follow the law of the bluest eye
He looked at me, he thought about it
Was like, "I'm clueless, why?"
The question was rhetorical, the answer is horrible
Our morals are out of place and got our lives full of sorrow
And so tomorrow comin' later than usual
Waitin' on someone to pity us
While we findin' beauty in the hideous
They say money's the root of all evil but I can't tell
You know what I mean, pesos, francs, yens, cowrie shells, dollar bills
Or is it the mindstate that's ill?
Creating crime rates to fill the new prisons they build
Over money and religion there's more blood to spill
The wounds of slaves in cotton fields that never heal
What's the deal?
A lot of cats who buy records are straight broke
But my language universal they be recitin' my quotes
While R&B singers hit bad notes, we rock the boat
of thought, that my man Louis' statements just provoked
Caught up, in conversations of our personal worth
Brought up, through endangered species status on the planet Earth
Survival tactics means, bustin' gats to prove you hard
Your firearms are too short to box with God
Without faith, all of that is illusionary
Raise my son, no vindication of manhood necessary
[M.D.] Not strong
[T.K.] Only aggressive
[M.D.] Not free
[T.K.] We only licensed
[M.D.] Not compassionate, only polite
[T.K.] Now who the nicest?
[M.D.] Not good but well behaved
[T.K.] Chasin' after death
so we can call ourselves brave?
[M.D.] Still livin' like mental slaves
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[Mos Def]
Yo, I'm sure that everybody out listenin' agree
That everything you see ain't really how it be
A lot of jokers out runnin' in place, chasin the style
Be a lot goin' on beneath the empty smile
Most cats in my area be lovin' the hysteria
Synthesized surface conceals the interior
America, land of opportunity, mirages and camouflages
More than usually -- speakin' loudly, sayin' nothin'
You confusin' me, you losin' me
Your game is twisted, want me enlisted -- in your usary
Foolishly, most men join the ranks cluelessly
Buffoonishly accept the deception, believe the perception
Reflection rarely seen across the surface of the lookin' glass
Walkin' the street, wonderin' who they be lookin' past
Lookin' gassed with them imported designer shades on
Stars shine bright, but the light -- rarely stays on
Same song, just remixed, different arrangement
Put you on a yacht but they won't call it a slave ship
Strangeness, you don't control this, you barely hold this
Screamin' brand new, when they just sanitized the old shit
Suppose it's, just another clever Jedi mind trick
That they been runnin' across stars through all the time with
I find it's distressin', there's never no in-between
We either niggaz or Kings
We either bitches or Queens
The deadly ritual seems immersed, in the perverse
Full of short attention spans, short tempers, and short skirts
Long barrel automatics released in short bursts
The length of black life is treated with short worth
Get yours first, them other niggaz secondary
That type of illin' that be fillin' up the cemetery
This life is temporary but the soul is eternal
Separate the real from the lie, let me learn you
Not strong, only aggressive, cause the power ain't directed
That's why, we are subjected to the will of the oppressive
Not free, we only licensed
Not live, we just excitin'
Cause the captors.. own the masters.. to what we writin'
Not compassionate, only polite, we well trained
Our sincerity's rehearsed in stage, it's just a game
Not good, but well behaved cause the ca-me-ra survey
most of the things that we think, do, or say
We chasin' after death just to call ourselves brave
But everyday, next man meet with the grave
I give a damn if any fan recall my legacy
I'm tryin' to live life in the sight of God's memory
Like that y'all
[Mos Def]
A lot of people don't understand the true criteria of things
Can't just accept the appearance
Have to get the true essence
[Talib Kweli]
They ain't lookin' around
[M.D.] Not strong
[T.K.] Only aggressive
[M.D.] Not free
[T.K.] We only licensed
[M.D.] Not compassionate, only polite
[T.K.] Now who the nicest?
[M.D.] Not good but well behaved
[T.K.] Chasin' after death
so we can call ourselves brave?
[M.D.] Still livin' like mental slaves
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[Mos Def (singing)]
Stop hidin', stop hidin', stop hidin' yo' face
Stop hidin', stop hidin', 'cause ain't no hidin' place
The Bluest Eye Character Chart (Main Characters and Peripheral Characters)
Directions: for each main character first provide basic background information (relation to other
characters, where do they come from, age, background information or authorial description that you
find relevant) for each of the characters. Then answer the following questions:
How does this character understand self in relation to the community and society at large?
How does this character interact or converse with the images and ideals of a dominant white society
(conformity/ internalization, rejection, madness)? How do these ideals work within the character and
how do they cause the character to change and/develop over the course of the novel?
Soaphead Church:
Maureen Peel:
Sammy Breedlove:
Rosemary Villanuci:
Mr. Henry:
China/Poland/Miss Marie (Maginot line):
The Fishers:
Mr. Mactier and Mrs. Mactier:
Mr. Yacabowski:
Concepts Relevant to Interpretation and Understanding of The Bluest Eye
Internalized racism- The internalization of condemning or racist attitudes towards one’s own ethnic
Culture/society (various definitions discussed)- A system of shared and learned beliefs created by the
members of a social system which act as guideline for behavior within that social system.
Abstract concept as opposed to concrete. Immaterial as opposed to material. Where are there physical
manifestations of society within the novel?
Education- How is education a theme in the novel, tied in with culture and society? The Dick and Jane
Passage Analysis The Bluest Eye
Directions: For the following passages from The Bluest Eye respond with a summary of the action, the
characters involved, and an explanation or interpretation of the significance and meaning of the
passage to the rest of the book.
“Here is the house. It is green and white. It has a red door. It is very pretty. Here is the family. Mother,
Father, Dick, and Jane live in the green-and-white house.”
“You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the
source. Then you realized it came from a conviction, their conviction. It was as though some all knowing
master had given each a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had accepted it without question.”
“It was their contempt for their own blackness that gave the first insult its teeth. They seemed to have
taken all of their smoothly cultivated ignorance, their exquisitely learned self-hatred, their elaborately
designed hopelessness and sucked it all up into a fiery cone of scorn that had burned for ages in the
hollows of their minds—cooled—and spilled over lips of outrage, consuming whatever was in its path.
They danced a macabre ballet around the victim, whom, for their own sake, they were prepared to
sacrifice to the flaming pit.”
“Here they learn the rest of the lesson begun in those soft houses with porch swings and pots of
bleeding heart: how to behave. The careful development of thrift, patience, high morals, and good
manners. In short, how to get rid of the funkiness. The dreadful funkiness of passion, the funkiness of
nature, the funkiness of the wide range of human emotions.”
“Everything changed. It was hard to get to know folks up here, and I missed my people…Northern colored
folk was different too. Dicty-like. No better than whites for meanness. They could make you feel just as
no-count, cept I didn’t expect it from them.”
“He wanted to break her neck—but tenderly. Guilt and impotence rose in a bilious duet. What could he
do for her—ever? What give her? What say to her?”
“And fantasy it was, for we were not strong, only aggressive; we were not free, merely licensed; we
were not compassionate, we were polite; not good, but well-behaved. We courted death in order to call
ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life.”
Short Story Concepts
Plot arc:
What is the nature of the conflict?- Man vs. man, man vs. society, man vs. God, man vs. nature, man vs.
What do the characters want/desire?
Drama= Desire+Danger
Rising action/complications: The minor “battles” or events, actions, and moments that build to the
Climax: the final “battle” metaphorically speaking, or an epiphany. The moment, action, or event that
signals a shift or change in the story to the resolution.
Resolution: Significant and permanent change as a result of the climax. Remember the resolution does
not have to be “good” or favorable to the character. It is not that the character gets what they wanted,
but merely that something has changed in favor of or to the detriment of the characters involved.
4 direct methods: character thought, character appearance, dialogue, action
Point of View:
Who speaks?:
First person- the narrator as a character. Are they a peripheral narrator (telling someone else’s story and
not a central character to the story, for example Claudia in The Bluest Eye) or are they a central narrator
(telling their own story, for example Jackson Jackson in What You Pawn I Will Redeem).
Third personOmniscient author: has total knowledge of the story and characters within the story. An omniscient
narrator can objectively report the action of the story; go into the mind of any character; interpret for us
character appearance, speech, action, and thought; move freely in space and time; provide general
judgments, reflections or truths.
To whom? To whom is the story written for? Most of the stories we have read were written to a general
reader. Other examples include the self, or another character.
In What Form? What format does the story take? Is it written as a general story? Or does the entire
story take the format of a dialogue (for example the Brief Interviews With Hideous Men)?
At what distance? To what degree do we feel either intimacy and identification with or detachment and
alienation from the main character or characters? Why do you think you feel this way? How does the
author create this effect either through point or presentation of character?
Significant detail- specific, concrete, definite, particular details that appeal to one of the five senses.
Significant details also convey and attitude or idea, or details that create an atmosphere or tone. For
example the difference between the following details:
The window sill is green.
The window sill is shedding fungus green flakes.
The former is concrete because it appeals to our sense of vision (we can see the green window sill). The
latter is both concrete and significant because it is more specific, and expresses an attitude towards the
window sill (one of revulsion, disgust, decay? The connotations of the word “fungus” and fact that is
“shedding flakes” certainly communicates something to us as the reader).
Other Terms Covered
Symbol: Something that suggests or means more than its literal meaning within the story. It suggests
more than what it is on the surface. It could be an object, person, situation, or action. Consider symbols
we discussed in The Bluest Eye.
Theme: Controlling idea or unifying insight into human nature. Should be central and recurring and can
explain the greatest number of elements in the story as possible.
Astute (adj.)- Shrewd, crafty, showing practical wisdom
Avarice (n.) a greedy desire, particularly for wealth
Egregious (adj.) conspicuous, standing out from the mass (used particularly in an unfavorable sense).
Evanescent (adj.) vanishing, soon passing away; light and airy
Novice (n.) one who is just a beginner at some activity requiring skill and experience.
Pretentious (adj.) done for show, striving to make a big impression; claiming merit or position
unjustifiably; making demands on one’s skill or abilities, ambitious
Autonomy (n.)- Self- government, political control
Blazon (v.)- to adorn or embellish; to display conspicuously; to publish or proclaim widely
Flout (v.)- to mock, treat with contempt
Scourge (v.)-to whip, punish severely; (n.) a cause of affliction or suffering a source of severe
punishment or criticism
Equitable (adj.)- fair, just, embodying principles of justice
Amnesty (n.) a general pardon for an offense against a government, in general any act of forgiveness or
Enigmatic (adj.)- Puzzling, perplexing, inexplicable, not easily understood
Mollify (v.)- To soften, make gentle, pacify; to calm, allay (as an emotion), assuage, appease, placate
Requisite (adj.)- needed, necessary, regarded as essential or indispensable
Deference (n.)- courteous yielding to the wishes and ideas of another person; great respect marked by
submission as to a superior
Demeanor (n.)- the way a person behaves, overall impression made by comportment, manner, etc.;
facial appearance
Impromptu (adj., adv.) without preparation, offhand, suddenly or hastily done (n.) an extemporaneous
composition or remark; a minimal piece suggestive of improvisation
The Bluest Eye Essay Question
In 1903, black civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois wrote The Souls of Black Folk, a collection of essays on
race relations in America. Read the following excerpt from the first chapter, entitled, “Of Our Spiritual
Strivings.” After you have finished reading, write an essay in response to the prompt.
“The negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this
American world,--a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself
through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this
sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a
world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness,--an American, a Negro;
two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged
strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
Discuss and explore the discourse (both implicit and explicit) that occurs between the characters in the
novel and the society that they exist within. How does the idea of “double-consciousness” or “warring
ideals” manifest itself and threaten the characters in the novel?