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Thread: Rhetoric Unit 3 Literature Exam short answers on Realism

  1. #1
    My son and I recently went over the results of the Unit 3 Rhetoric Literature Exam. When we came to the short answer questions where it asks for two "characteristics of Realism" we came upon a bit of confusion. For example, in questions 3, 4 and 5 which ask about the category of "Man," he mentioned several beliefs and concepts according to a Realist (as he said, The "philosophy" of Realism) such as how Man related to the Supernatural, obedience to a deity, responsibilities to mankind, etc. When I gave him some example of items from the Teacher Answer Key such as "draws characters from ordinary life and lower classes," shows the ugliness of lower class dreariness, etc. he said that he thought those items were characteristics of a writer in the Realistic Mode, but not of Realism (the belief system). He took the test question to mean what does a Realist believe (because the question says "Realism"); not what are the characteristics of literature in the Realist Mode.

    Are their clues he missed that would lead him to address the Realistic Mode and elements of the literature we have read, instead of focusing on worldview-type items about Realism from the reading in Frameworks?

    Beth Ann

  2. #2
    Hi there. :-) Let me see if I can answer this question, and please tell me if I'm not addressing your real concern.

    On the Unit 3 exam, your student was supposed to give answers from the chart in Frameworks called "Literature and the Spirit of Literary Realism". The review guide asked him to study this chart in preparation for the test, and as far as I know it did not direct him to review the realistic mode or anything else that should have been confusing. Also, the headings given on the exam are exactly the same as those on the chart. Since there is no other place in Frameworks or Poetics or the class plans, except that chart, where we talk about the characteristics of Realism, so in once sense I'm a little puzzled as to how he got confused.

    On the other hand, I know it can be a little difficult to keep straight the differences between realistic mode and Realism (one is a mode, the other is a literary movement), not to mention the worldview beliefs that affected Realism. It sounds like he is treating Realism as a philosophy or worldview (easy to do, since worldview beliefs affect literary movements), but it is important for him to understand that Realism is NOT a belief system and that the characteristics of Realism include everything on that chart.

    This is the kind of tangle that is sometimes much easier to unknot on the phone, so if you still have questions about this topic, please feel free to call our customer service on Monday and ask them to put you through to me (you can tell them I said it was all right). I'd be happy to talk about it with you (and with him as well, if you wish) for a few minutes. :-)

    Hoping to help!

    Christy Somerville
    Staff Author
    Director for Rhetoric Literature Studies
    Lampstand Press

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