I'm going to just try not to think about it now -- they should get back to me within a week, so hopefully by Friday, definitely by next Monday. Oof. Oof oof oof. Many thanks to Karen and David and Kevin and Jed for listening to me babble in the last three days, and to all the rest of you for the vague support and the refraining from actual comment. :-)
Here's the exam question, for the curious -- feel free to comment as much as you like now. Though I may not be listening... :-) Oh, and the texts I ended up using? Frankenstein, Tristram Shandy, Midnight's Children, One Hundred Years of Solitude -- in that order.
This is a question about narrative form, structure, and technique: consider the treatment of "difference" in four of the texts from the following list (two from before 1900 and two from after 1900), paying close attention to the ways in which these treatments of difference are enacted formally. What are the relationships between narrative technique/form/structure and the representation of difference? How do different narrative techniques shape, expand, or limit the possibilities of representing difference?
The committee will be looking to see what kinds of techniques you choose to discuss as well as how you use them to illuminate the texts at hand; the kinds of techniques you focus on may (but do not have to) include foregrounding, ambiguity, and narrative gaps. You may bring theory to bear on as needed for context and definition, but your primary focus should be on the four texts under discussion.
Please be sure to clarify the relation between the textual details on which you focus and your larger claims about the construction of difference.