• DATE: TUESDAY, MAY 11
  • TIME: 9:00 - 12:00
  • PLACE: 410 ROUSS
  • 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 ENAM 315:

    4. There are corpses and plenty of signs of violence at both Usher’s house and the place the narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart" shared with the Old Man. Based on the way we see him in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Purloined Letter," discuss whether you think the great detective C. Auguste Dupin could explain what happens in "Fall of the House of Usher" and "Tell-Tale Heart"? Could he solve the crimes or mysteries they revolve around? Why or why not?

    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 (and answers!) 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? 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 – though I hope you'll remember Emerson's assertion that "truly speaking, it is not instruction, but provocation, that [you] can receive from another soul. What [someone else] announces, [you] must find true in [yourself], or wholly reject."