2017 WAO Literature Discussion

Old college threads.
Jason Cheng
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:23 am

2017 WAO Literature Discussion

Post by Jason Cheng »

Along with the biology (which, aside from writing the replacement/editor's questions and providing feedback, was mostly Jonathan Luck, so credit should go where it's due), I edited/wrote the majority of the American, Euro, and World/Other lit, with assistance on the rest from Will.

I tried to maintain as many of the submissions I received, with (or occasionally without) heavy editing, which led to something of a genre imbalance in some cases that I noticed, which I apologize for.

While Will (correctly) points out that a lot of material in the literature was colored by personal interests, I actually don't think this was any different from editorial influence at any other nationals, and I made a concerted effort to make sure that there was also a decent balance of "standard" questions along with a wide variety of "wacky" approaches to writing literature questions beyond just my own tastes. Put another way, I tried to include a variety of different styles of questions in both content and type of question. I don't really have a codified way to articulate my philosophy regarding "type" of question, but it's something along the lines of deep text one-work core question vs deep surrounding context of one-work core clues (you may recognize the leadin to Madame Bovary if you've read Ferrante's Frantumaglia) vs two-work tossup vs variety of titles by author vs thematic common links vs old-style question on a lesser-known work by a core author and so on and so forth. I don't actually read much into the theory of question writing on this forum besides occasional discussion threads, so I don't know if these are novel ideas (in fact, I'd be surprised if they were), but it's as close to an overarching philosophy as I had with the literature in this tournament, along with my usual attempts to represent a wide variety of how people interact with literature--criticism/genre/historical/context/cultural/mainstream popularity/etc along with simply reading the text.

I'm particularly busy right now, but I'm willing to talk about the questions I wrote in this set forever and I'd love to hear any kind of feedback about the literature in this thread (questions, comments, concerns, etc)! If I get the chance, I may post a list of the questions I'm most curious to see reactions on.
Jason Cheng
Arcadia High School 2013
UCSD 2017
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naan/steak-holding toll
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Location: New York, NY

Re: 2017 WAO Literature Discussion

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

To clarify a bit - Jason did most of the American and European lit, aside from a few guest appearances by myself editing/writing the non-Brodsky Russian lit and the sanatorium question (which has been made a bit easier). I did most of the world lit, though Jason made significant contributions in areas where he was definitely more qualified to edit.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16, Columbia Business School '21
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor