FINAL EXAM STUDY GUIDE
Following are details concerning the three sections of the final exam, each with sample questions and varying responses with critical explanation.
I. Quote Identification: Answer the questions that follow each passage. (80 pts)
This section will present 10-12 passages from the texts we’ve read throughout the semester and ask two questions concerning each one—a question that asks you to identify the writer, novel, and/or character being referenced, and another question asking for a more interpretive response that critically locates the passage within the novel or connects it to other ideas we discussed in class. Here follows an example:
“Hopeless heart that thrives on paradox; that longs for the beloved and is secretly relieved when the beloved is not there. That gnaws away at the night-time hours desperate for a sign and appears at breakfast so self-composed. That longs for certainty, fidelity, compassion, and plays roulette with anything precious. “Gambling is not a vice, it is an expression of our humanness.”
1. In which novel and in whose psyche do these thoughts appear?
This passage comes from Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion, and these thoughts are Villanelle’s.
2. Describe one instance where “gambling” in this novel might be an expression of “humanness” and explain your answer.
The novel suggests that passion—desire for someone or something—is fundamental to the human experience, and that this passion demands people risk something precious to have a shot at fulfilling their passions. Villanelle and Henri’s passions—Villanelle’s for the woman and Henri’s for Villanelle—demand that they each put something on the line, Villanelle her heart and Henri his mind, and they both lose what they’ve risked. At the end of the novel, Henri’s lucid hallucinations, the heartbreak resulting from what he risked following Napoleon and then Villanelle, make him seem the most human of all.
The second answer here succeeds by addressing both the ideas of gambling and humanness referred to in the question, and discussing specific instances from the novel as support.
II. Short Answer. (60 pts)
This section will present 6-10 terms we’ve discussed throughout the semester, asking you to define each one and then apply it to at least one text that we’ve read. An example:
3. Present Kundera’s definition of comic and offer TWO examples from the texts that we have read so far, explaining how each corresponds to Kundera’s definition.
Kundera asserts that the “comic” in literature “brutally reveals the meaninglessness of everything.” The excerpt we read from The Trial is the most immediate example of this kind of meaninglessness; Kundera pointed out that whatever forces are at work deep in Josef K’s soul—his…