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The Fall 1998 Mid-Term Exam

Here is a precise virtual replica of the mid-term exam (minus, of course, the passages to be IDed in Part I; if I were to tell you what they were, I'd be forced to kill you). I post this well before the actual exam date to give you time to ask questions about what is expected of you in each section and to prepare your essay answer to one of the questions in Part III below.

EN 209: Novels and Tales.................Mid-Term Examination.................Fall 1998 (Simon)

NAME: __________________ ................................................... DATE: ______________

Part I: PASSAGE IDENTIFICATIONS (15 points; recommended time: 10 minutes)

Choose five (5) of the ten (10) passages that are listed at the end of this exam and identify both the author and title of each. Partial credit will be awarded. You may identify any or all of the other five (5) passages for extra credit. Please fill out your answers to Part I below.

List the IDs of the five (5) passages you're most confident you've identified correctly. Errors will be penalized for answers in this section; partial credit will be awarded.

PASSAGE NUMBER..................................AUTHOR......................................TITLE

For extra credit, you may try to identify the author and title for the other passages. Errors will not be penalized for answers in this section; credit will be awarded only to exact identifications of author or title. Try for extra credit on Part I only AFTER completing Parts II and III.

PASSAGE NUMBER..................................AUTHOR..................................TITLE

PART II: INTERPRETIVE SKILLS (35 points; recommended time: 30 minutes)

Choose one (1) of the above passages and analyze it in the following three (3) ways:

A. Do a brief close reading of it: write one or two paragraphs or list several observations on its meaning and the means by which that meaning is disclosed.

B. Briefly relate it to the work from which it comes: write one or two paragraphs or list several observations on how it contributes to the meaning of the larger work.

C. Briefly compare/contrast it to another work: write one to three paragraphs or list several observations on a theme/issue/problem that the passage addresses, noting similarities and differences between the treatment of it in the passage and the same theme/issue/problem's treatment in another work.

PART III: INTERPRETIVE ESSAY (50 points; recommended time: 40 minutes)

Choose one (1) of the following options on which to write a short essay. Your task here is to let me understand your position. It is better to be reasonable (evidenced and persuasive and thoughtful) than "right" (to select an "answer"). You may even discover that your "answer" is your opening sentence and all the rest (the important stuff) is justification/explanation. You may assume I am familiar with the texts, so keep plot summary and other scene-setting devices to an absolute minimum. You may bring in a list, to be handed in with the test, that contains quotations you are confident you will use in answering the essay question you have chosen.

If you are dissatisfied with the options on Part III, you may pose and answer a question of your own, provided you justify/explain the significance of the question itself in your essay. You should be aware that taking this option means taking a significant risk. Your question must be one that requires you to draw together at least three different texts, take a position, and justify it.

Read all your answers over again before handing in your exam. Give yourself time to plan your approach to the exam. Time spent planning what you will write in Parts II and III is time well spent. In Part III, in particular, it is better to be clear and relatively coherent (with a beginning that states your claim and an end that sums it up) than to write a Marquez-esque answer--but Marquez-esque will still get you credit in a pinch. Try for extra credit on Part I only AFTER completing Parts II and III. Extra credit will also be awarded to those who excel in a given section and those who consider a variety of texts in the exam as a whole. Relax, focus, and enjoy yourself.

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EN 209: Novels and Tales, Fall 1998
Last modified: 10/31/98, 1:15 pm