Monday, July 20, 2009

The Literature Exam

Believe it or not, I am now giving my first long exam on Literature. And yes, it's a take-home exam. Too easy? Too tough? Let me know. See the questions below:

  1. Reconstruct the events related in "A Rose for Emily" in chronological order. Why do you think the was the story written out of order? Would it enhance or diminish the story if it was written in chronological order? Why?

  2. How is setting used to reflect the mood in "Hills Like White Elephants", "Misery", "The Lady with the Pet Dog", and "A Rose for Emily?" Quote examples from the text and explain how they enhance characterization.

  3. Briefly describe the strengths and weaknesses of Jigs, Anna Sergeyevna, Mathilde, and Emily. As women, are they portrayed favorably or unfavorably? Support your answers by quoting relevant passages from the text.

  4. What are the respective themes of "The Killers", "Misery", "The Lady with the Pet Dog", "The Necklace", and "A Rose for Emily?" Are what the authors are trying to say still valid now as when they were written back then? Why or why not? (Refer to the handout "The Elements of Fiction" on the subject of Themes.)


  1. hey, i've always wanted to know... what is hills like white elephants all about? they are talking about something important, but its never spelled out. i know its part of why its a school fav, but still, id like 2 know...

  2. i sure miss being a lit student, savoring the text and making discoveries. hopefully next sem i can enrol again.

  3. I think that the questions are pretty good, actually. The only issue that I have is with the first one: I feel that asking people to reconstruct the events of a short story is like asking them to identify their "highlights" of the piece and effectively retell the story itself. While it would be interesting to see which events your students will see as distinct for them, I'm not sure if this would help support the primary question here, which is the idea of why the story is written out of order. Personally, I would have cut this down to the latter half of the question, and set aside the first half for preliminary discussion.

    Otherwise, though, the test looks good to me. I'd go after these questions like a wildcat after scraps of meat, sure enough.

  4. how do we know its about an abortion?

  5. Wow. Your reading assignments are great. I wish you were my teacher when I was taking Lit 1 and 2...