The exam will consist of two parts, but you'll be writing essays in both. In PART ONE I'll give you 4 or 5 questions, each involving a specific comparison between two of the works we've read this term. You'll choose two to answer. Here are a couple examples from a previous ENAM 315:
4. Thoreau actually lived at the pond for over two years, from July 1845 to September 1847. But when he transformed that experience into a book, he organizes the story as a single year that ends in the Spring. The story Coverdale tells, on the other hand, begins in the Spring, but ends in the Fall. Discuss how and why Thoreau and Hawthorne use the seasons, especially Spring in Walden and Fall in The Blithedale Romance.
5. One scholar has actually counted, and found that Dickinson uses "I" in her poetry more frequently that Whitman does in his -- and of course he uses it a lot in "Song of Myself." With that poem and a couple of Dickinson's in mind, discuss the way each of these poets uses her or his "self" as the occasion, or hero, or subject, of the poetry.
In PART TWO I'll give you about three questions, each reminding you of a large theme or issue that shows up in many of the works we read. In this part you'll not only pick which one question you want to answer, but also which three writers or works you want to focus your answer on.
You should plan to spend an hour on each question. I'll try to ask questions that will allow you to develop your own ideas, though I'll also expect you to make your essays as specific as you can -- i.e. to give textual examples to support all your ideas.
One way to study for the exam would be to imagine "good" questions for each part. For example, what other works could The Scarlet Letter be compared with, and in what ways? What are the large topics that appear in most or many of the works we read? Another way to study would be to use the SEARCH TEXTS link at left and try various words (nature, self, freedom, slavery, America, woman, &c.) and see how many hits you get, where they cluster, and so on. And if you want to get together with other students in the class to study for the exam, feel free to do so. Giving and receiving that kind of aid is a very good thing.