Midterm exam questions

In a well-developed essay, consider how two of the short stories we have read this semester compare in their approach to one of the following issues, topics, or themes. Compare two examples from each story, using quotations from your quotation sheet as evidence to support for your thesis-driven essay.

  1. the treatment of characters exhibiting signs of mental illness or instability
  2. the significance of setting details, including their symbolic significance
  3. the inclusion of the supernatural or inexplicable in what is otherwise natural, of-this-world, or rational
  4. the intricate relationship between freedom and death
  5. marriage as restrictive and empowering

(on the exam, this will be a list of three, so be sure to prepare three of the five to guarantee one of your preferred options will be available to you on Wednesday!)

Your essay should be 500-600 words—if you’re writing 5 words per line, that’s 5-6 pages in the blue book, fewer pages if you get more words per line. There’s no need to count all of the words: check to see roughly how many words you write per line on a few lines, then multiply that by 20 (lines per page) and the number of pages you have. When you include a quotation, even though it is already on your quotation sheet, I ask that you copy it into your essay. Rather than using whiteout or making a mess, when you need to make a correction, just cross out what you want to delete.

To get started, you should use the time before the exam to plan your three possible essays. On Wednesday, take time at the start of the exam to think about what you want to write, and use the blue book to write down notes before you start writing the essay. There’s no need to skip every other line, but you might want to skip a line or two between paragraphs to give yourself space to add in any additional words or sentences when you re-read your essay.

Don’t forget–there will be short-answer questions to start the exam.

If you have questions, feel free to ask them here. Here’s one to start us off: what’s a draft of a thesis statement for one of these essays?

2 thoughts on “Midterm exam questions

  1. So for the short-answer part of the exam, we will be identifying 10 of the fiction terms that you listed below on the other post only, or is there anything else that we should know?

  2. Kathy, thanks for asking. Remember that those terms in the post are from the “Elements of Fiction” reading we did at the beginning of the semester. Some of the terms in that reading weren’t included in the activity we did in class, so they’re not on the list I recently posted. That list includes only the terms we used in our get-up-and-match activity, plus a couple of other terms that we discussed in class since then, but that are not in the “Elements of Fiction” reading. For the short answer part of the exam, you’ll have to choose the appropriate term to label a given passage from our readings, and then explain why it’s the appropriate label. I hope that helps.

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