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OVERVIEW AND MATERIALS ALLOWED DURING THE EXAM • Write FIVE separate organized essays of 750-1,000 words each
• In your answer, strong content & organization are important, as is clear and correct writing. • Open book with limitations: you can refer to • your HARD-COPY textbooks / printouts of (1) Frankenstein, (2) “In the Penal Colony,” (3) “With Folded Hands,” and (4) I, Robot (film). • a hard-copy dictionary (no Internet access to dictionaries or to other online sites)
• NO ACCESS to web sites, individuals, hard-copy or electronic sources
• YOUR INDIVIDUAL WORK IN REAL TIME ONLY: no “cut-and-paste” from the course site; no “cut and paste” from sources outside of your own ideas as you develop and phrase them
• Discuss in detail at least THREE of the main course texts, including AT LEAST TWO from the post-midterm weeks: (1) Frankenstein, (2) “In the Penal Colony,” (3) “With Folded Hands,” and (4) I, Robot (film).
• Take a position on the topic and defend your position. Use argument, not summary, and support your assertions with specific examples from the course texts. For other than the film, include specific quotes and page numbers. For the film, be as specific as possible when discussing examples. Answers that merely
p.2 of 4 summarize the “story” of a text or film will not achieve a passing grade. Assume that the reader of your exam knows the story. Instead, present and analyze examples, relating them to the specific exam question. • Use organized essay format, with a clear beginning, middle and end. Answers in point form will not achieve a passing grade. • As with the midterm exam, use good arguments, cited evidence, organization, writing / spelling / grammar. Eloquence alone is not enough to ensure a strong exam, nor is merely achieving the word-count requirements. The key thing is which words your answer uses. • Include a word Include a word count at the end of your exam
EVALUATION OF YOUR EXAM will be based on:
Content • Take a position on the topic. That is, have a clear thesis that your essay defends. • Keep your discussion balanced. Spend roughly the same space discussing each text. • “Compare” can include both “compare” and “contrast”: both similarities and differences. • Use analysis. Do more than just summarize or describe the text or parts of it. • Give specific examples from the specific work discussed (Frankenstein, “In the Penal Colony,” “With Folded Hands,” and the film I, Robot) including quotations and specific page numbers, to support your ideas. The exam is open book because this specific evidence is important.
Organization / Writing / Mechanics • Keyboard your answer in the answer box. • Arrange your answer as a cohesive essay that has: multiple paragraphs, a strong introduction and conclusion, a “middle” that’s logically and persuasively arranged, and an effective ending that makes your position on the topic clear. • Cover fewer aspects of a topic in detail rather than more aspects of the topic superficially. • Include a “Works Cited” or “References” section at the end of your answer. • Use clear sentences, paragraphs, transitions, language, spelling, and grammar. Put in parentheses the page number of quotes from or references to specific parts of the text. Include this parenthetical citation after your reference, as in the following example: (Shelley, p. 123).
HOW TO PREPARE: DETAILS • have read / viewed and reviewed all texts / viewing for this course, paying special attention to discussions of the course themes of technology, invention, power, and social organization (i.e., social organization as a product of techne) • review o course handout giving definitions of “technology,” “invention,” and “power” (posted to Module 1). o notes and handouts from the course site and your own notes o quizzes, which have often dealt with key issues in a text and in the course o your midterm exam, including comments on your exam & general comments to the class o the discussions, including the questions and answers from the class & instructor’s general comments to the class about the early discussions o secondary articles / transcripts posted to the course site, relevant to the exam topics o general course topics, as noted in the course outline • have a sense of where and when the main course texts were composed (historical / generic / cross-cultural perspective); see chart below. The more detailed original context is noted, the stronger the exam will be.
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Texts are Frankenstein, “In the Penal Colony,” I, Robot [film]; “With Folded Hands.” You must discuss at in detail at least THREE of the main course texts for EACH AND EVERY QUESTION
• REMINDER: answers that merely recapitulate the story or plot details will not achieve a passing grade. In your answer, assume that the reader is aware of the story.
(1) TECHNOLOGY, INVENTION, AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATION, HUMAN AUTHORITY: Discuss the relationship among technology, invention, and social organization in THREE of the course texts / viewings, focusing on those human individuals with specific authority (civil or corporate) over others in an organized society. Consider characters such as Walton (as ship captain) in Frankenstein; the Old or New Governors in “In the Penal Colony;” Robertson or Lt. Bergin in I, Robot. How do these characters use technological innovation and/or social organization to move their societies – or those over whom they have authority – in what, TO YOU, seems a positive direction? You might consider, for example, how or whether any of these human characters become imprisoned or victimized by innovations they’ve produced or fostered. Or, how or whether any of these characters are shown to be in positions in which they’re tempted to abuse their authority.
Frankenstein Mary Shelley Romantic period (late 18thearly 19th c. CE); published 1818
England Novel (gothic novel)
“In the Penal Colony”
Franz Kafka Modernist period (early 20th century); published 1919
Czechoslovakia (written in German) Short story, satire
“With Folded Hands”
Jack Williamson Modernist period (mid 20th century); published 1947; radio version, 1950
United States Short story (science fiction); also a radio drama
I, Robot Alex Proyas, director; screenplay suggested by Isaac Asimov’s short stories
Post-modern period (early 21st century); film released 2004; stories written 19401950
United States Feature-length film (science fiction), loosely based on Asimov’s short stories
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(2) THE ROLE OF THE INVENTOR: Discuss in detail the role of the inventor in THREE of the course texts. Consider characters such as Frankenstein, Dr. Lanning in I, Robot or Sledge in “With Folded Hands,” The Old Governor in Kafka’s story, among others. In what specific ways (characters, plot details & action, themes) does each text explore the responsibility of the inventor for his/her inventions? How is this responsibility assumed and / or avoided in each of the texts, and what do these representations of the inventor’s role suggest about the uses of technology? You can also consider a ruler of a state a being to some extent an inventor of the rules governing that state.
(3) THE ROLE OF THE TRAVELER / EXPLORER: Discuss the role of the traveler / explorer in in THREE of the course texts. You may consider “exploration” in a broader sense, as in unraveling a mystery (e.g., a detective plot) or as in scientific explorations – but DO NOT focus ONLY on those who are primarily inventors, or business owners. What are some of the roles and responsibilities of an explorer, as defined and expressed in these works? In which of the texts discussed is the explorer the most successful, overall? In which text is the explorer the least successful? Give reasons and evidence to support your choices. Focus on maximum of TWO or THREE topics for each text you discuss. You can consider, among others, characters like Sledge-as-atraveler in “With Folded Hands;” Walton or even the creature in Frankenstein; the explorer in Kafka’s story; and Spooner & Calvin’s explorations, in I, Robot. Include in your answer a discussion specifically of the issue of interference and/or the explorer’s being a bystander – and how this interaction or lack of it changes “exploration” for the explorer. You can also include discussion of social organization: the effects a traveler may have on a society “new” to him or her, and /or the effects the “new” place has on the explorer.
(4) VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN – ADVISING THE NEW GOVERNOR OF THE PENAL COLONY, OR UNDERHILL, OR ROBERTSON: Imagine that Victor Frankenstein, as he’s presented at the end of the novel Frankenstein (having gone through all that he experiences in the novel but assuming he was healthy enough to live for many years) has three choices. He can choose to be (a) an advisor to the new governor of the penal colony that Kafka describes; (b) an advisor to the business owner Underhill in “With Folded Hands;” or (c) an advisor to the business owner Robertson in the film I, Robot. Which option do you think Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein would choose, and why? Give reasons for your position, specifically referring to Mary Shelley’s novel AND at least TWO of the following: “In the Penal Colony,” the film I, Robot, the short story “With Folded Hands.”
Variation: argue based on Frankenstein’s process of elimination – that is, discuss in detail which options Victor Frankenstein would NOT choose, and why he would reject those options. Support your position by using specific evidence (including quotations) from the texts.
(5) RESPONSIBILITIES OF PROFESSIONALS, MIDDLE MANAGERS, BUSINESS OWNERS IN MANAGING EFFECTS OF INNOVATION: Discuss the way in which THREE of the course texts present the roles and responsibilities of professionals, “middle managers” or business owners (rather than the inventors, rulers, or gods), relative to technology, invention, and power. What responsibility do professionals and administrators (not inventors) have, to guide and manage the effects of innovation? Discuss how THREE of the course texts explore this theme. For this question, you can consider as “middle managers” the following: professionals such as teachers, “officers,” psychologists/doctors; business owners like Underhill or Robertson, among others, VIKI in “I,robot” etc. Of those texts you’re discussing, which places the greatest emphasis on the professional / business owner / “middle manager”? – the least emphasis?

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