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Segunda Prueba de Evaluacin Continua a Distancia

1) Discuss binary oppositions in Olaudah Equianos and Phillis Wheatleys

writings (focusing on the texts selected in units 7 and 8). See A Study Guide for
American Literature to 1900, pages 63-65.
Binary oppositions can be either explicit or implicit in a text. In the case of Equianos narrative, an
explicit binary opposition that we can think of easily is the opposition between slavery and freedom.
During his narrative, Equiano tells us how he was deprived from his freedom by describing his
kidnapping and his imprisonment on the slave ship. Other binary oppositions that we can identify in
a very explicit way are the ones presented in lines 24-30 and 86-91. The oppositions: black vs. white,
evil vs. good and mercy vs. cruelty are evident in these lines where he describes positively how he
was treated by people who spoke the same language as him, and describes negatively the treatment
received from the whites. Another example of these oppositions is the one represented by ignorance
vs. knowledge. Through the text is possible to find many examples where the author was amazed
by the functioning of the slave ship and all that it contained, for instance, in lines 101-105. At the
end of Equianos writing his tone changes to be more accusative and we can find another opposition,
Christians vs. Pagans.
In the poetry of Phillis Wheatley we can also find more examples of binary oppositions similar to
the ones mentioned above. In her poem On Being Brought from Africa to America we find mercy
vs. cruelty, pagan vs. Christian, salvation vs. damnation and black vs. white. Especially, the word
benighted at line 2 acquires certain symbolism since it makes clear the opposition between nigh
and day or light vs. night. To these oppositions we can add one more, found in To the University
of Cambridge, in New England which is evil vs. good. Finally, in To His Excellency General
Washington at line 32, we find another binary opposition full of irony: freedom vs. slavery.
All these oppositions present at these authors writings call into question the surface meaning of
some assertions made in these works. In both cases, the oppositions found help to reassure their own
identity as Africans, as Christian people, and as intelligent and educated as whites can be. In addition,
the most subversive fact is that both writers were able to gain literacy under the oppressive institution
of the salve trade and the widely accepted idea of white superiority. With the clever use of rhetorical
irony in Wheatleys works and Equianos powerful and highly eloquent double voice, they were able
to not only to contribute to the tradition of American Literature but helped to support the antislavery
2) Discuss the use of the four narrative modes in Washington Irvings Legend of
Don Munio Sancho de Hinojosa and in the excerpt you have read from chapter
XXXII of James Fenimore Coopers The Last of the Mohicans. See A Study
Guide for American Literature to 1900, pages 67-73.
In the case of Irvings work, the description of time, place and objects is not extensive. Details are
provided to suit the purpose of the story (lines 1-10). Although characterization is no deep, seems
to be more detailed than the rest of the descriptive components. There is no physical or emotional
description of the characters, they are depicted by their possessions, their nature, their actions and
the social rank they hold (lines 11-16; 18-27; 31-39). On the other hand, we find in Coopers work
a more vivid and intense description of the landscape, the actions and the objects. However, the

characterization is also stereotyped, since it falls on the idealized dichotomy of the Good Indians
represented by Uncas and Chingachgook; and the Bad Indians represented by Magua. Captain
Heyward represents the romantic hero and Alice, is the week maiden to be saved. There is no physical
description, too.
The focus seems to be on the report of actions, since these happen one after the other without much
delay. They are also used to describe characters attitude (lines 69-71, Irving; 54-55, Cooper). In
addition, Cooper unifies the descriptions with the report of fast-paced actions in order to achieve
suspense and colour in the story; while Irving includes some adjectives -that may belong to the
descriptive mode- in the report of actions, such as powerful in line 105, beautiful in line 45 or
good in line 58.
Regarding the speech, most of it is direct and it functions to help to fit the character in the stereotype
that represents. Abodil and Don Munio are knights and they speak as knights (lines 50-57). And Doa
Mara expresses herself as the fearful wife (lines 59-62). The register is formal, the diction is lofty
and the syntax is complex. In lines 40-41 and 47-49 we can find examples of inner indirect speech,
and indirect speech respectively. Direct speech is also present at Coopers text, but reduced to the
minimum and it helps to develop the character that represents, since the language spoken by Cora is
articulated (lines 16, 18, 28) and the one spoken by the Indians is almost intelligible (lines 14,15, 25,
29, 30, 74-75).
Regarding the comment, we can see clearly that predominates at the end of the Irvings story (lines
160-161). However, since the comment is made with the narrators evaluations, observations and
judgements; we can also appreciate its use through the text by the authors choice of adjectives and
adverbs. In this way the author is provoking on the reader a positive or negative attitude towards
the characters. For instance, the selection of adjectives by Irving in line 12: noble and in line 58:
good to describe Don Munio and the one chosen by Cooper at line 67: honest to describe Gamut.
Of course, there is much less use of the comment mode on Coopers work than in Irvings.
Finally, I would dare to say that the description and the speech modes are exceeded by the report
and speech modes in Irvings work, while in the case of Cooper, the report and description modes
dominate his text.