Rebecca Harding Davis
Answer any 2 of the 6 questions below, or answer up to 3 for 10 points extra credit.
1) "You call it altogether serious to be alive: to these men it is a drunken jest, a joke..." (1228) Is Hugh Wolfe really alive? How can you tell? Would he be better off is he did not possess the gift of sculpting? Explain. (Didn't read? Try to fool me!)
2) "A man may make himself anything he chooses [my emphasis]" (1239). First tell me who says this in the story. Then, tell me if you believe that Davis (the author) believes this? Explain? What evidence in the story supports your point? Now, tell me if you believe this idea. Is this idea true for everyone in America in 2017 (<--or later than 2017 if I it's the future and I forgot to change 2017 to read whatever year it now is. If you are in the future can you tell me: do we have flying cars yet?)?Whether you answer yes or no, tell me why you said yes or no.
3) "I have heard you call our American system a ladder which any man can scale. Do you doubt it? Or perhaps you want to banish all social ladders, and put us all on a flat table-land,--eh?" (1238). Imagine for a moment that you have the power to either change (or leave unchanged) any socio-economic issue affecting the United States. You can redo the budget to spend more or less on any of the following: defense, education, Medicare, Social Security, etc.
Tell me what you will change and why. To help you out, I display a graph of our national budget in class. While you are answering this question, make sure to come up with a program that will help modern day people like Hugh (unless you don't want to do that). Or don't, if Hugh's not our problem.
4) "I called this night the crisis of his life. If it was, it stole on him unawares.[....]Only a trifle, a little turn of the rudder, and the ship goes to heaven of hell" (1234). What chance event(s) might have spared Hugh from his fate in Life in the Iron Mills?
5) How are gender norms (i.e. expectations that a society might have about male and female roles) explored/questioned/described in this text? Find at least 3 talking points.