[…] see how weak I am, a mere breath on the air, a gaze observing you, a formless thought that thinks you.
— Jean-Paul Sartre , No Exit and Three Other Plays, transl. by S.Gilbert (Vintage, 1989)
“…and your mother said ‘Happy birthday. I am sorry to inform you that everyone you love is dead’”
Explain, with reference to Sylvia Plath’s first suicide attempt and subsequent admittance to hospital, the relevance of the quote above to your childhood, when, upon seeing the brilliant blue of a butterfly’s wings—
Should a poet’s work be
enjambed or read in sequence? Examinees are encouraged to utilise essay structure and one reference to Walt Whitman in their answer.
There’s stardust in our eyes and laughter on our lips,
Over and over again the orchestra plays our last dance:
Amor, amor, amor—
They saw that post you made last night, when you thought they had gone to sleep and you could let the hurt bleed.
Give up. It’s over. You’re over.
A person who has feelings is a ruined person unless they keep their mouth shut - which is exactly what you didn’t do.
I hold stars for the gods, their flashing eyes are nebulae, colours blooming against the universe; their council is the companion of beauty and destruction.
The moirai, with their pale fingers, trace my body, as cold and unfeeling as porcelain, each brush a calculation and every new line a fate thrown into existence. They cut my golden hairs one by one; there is no string of fate, destinies are written in my stars—
“You trace my scars like you could brush them away and wipe the blood from my mouth as if it would remove the wounds on my lips.” Discuss this statement, with evidence cited from the decline of the relationship between Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg to support your conclusion.
“Now the sky is still heartbreakingly blue. It’s a blue that lovers kiss under, in the cooling summer air, the kind that drags itself across the skin of my body and leaves a trail of goose bumps to hint at its existence. It’s so quiet I can hear the radio playing somewhere. It’s singing about people, and about feelings… feelings about people. It’s warbling words of love and murdering us with words edged like an axe. It’s crooning the song of death.”
Do you agree?
Cassandra was gone long before her death, murmuring words, and words, and words; and her mind falling as Apollo watched her beauty heighten in her madness, and the truth will always be madness, but when she died with screams on her lips, she could not help but be satisfied with her choice, though it may never have been hers, because she cannot be her own person any more than you can stand to keep away from blades, do you understand please do you understand—
Is opinion a requirement for literature? Are you?
If, at 5 A.M. on a Monday morning I still haven’t slept and countless cups of coffee have cooled in my hands, but I’m still reaching for your number in my phone even after you told me “never again”:
(i) Explain why the French Revolution was an amalgamation of poor leadership, economic troubles and enlightened thinking, making sure to provide sufficient illustration of the dramatic irony and use of paradox used by the authors of the nightmare you had two hours ago every night but never wake from.
(ii) Draw the colour of your soul.
Shouldn’t you have learnt by now? (25 marks)
Death won’t get an A on your exam. (25 marks)
If I don’t exist, how do I know about me? (25 marks)
Please? (25 marks)
All working must be demonstrated. All questions must be answered. Illegibility will be penalised.standard exam, E.C. (via vohltaire)