Final exam questions for 2010

Here are the essay questions for the final, as well as the layout of the first part of the exam.

For the essay questions, only two of those listed below will be on the actual final. So, you should plan out how you would respond to at least two of them; if you plan for only one of them, you might find that it is the one I’ve chosen not to include. When you prepare to write on the essay topics, give yourself some flexibility as to which texts you might use so that you can have a wider range of choice for the passage identifications.

Remember that you can’t deal with the same work twice over the course of the exam, so you need to be ready to discuss all of the books we’ve covered in the course.

PART A (50 points):

CHOOSE FOUR OF THE FOLLOWING SEVEN PASSAGES AND IDENTIFY THE FOLLOWING:

  • The title and author of the text from which the passage is taken (1 point)
  • The names of the speakers, listeners, or narrator if relevant (1 point)
  • When and where this passage takes place in the book if relevant (1 point)
  • The significance of this passage. Questions you will need to consider in this regard include: What do we learn from this passage? Does this passage affect the overall plot of the text? Which of the major themes in the text are present here? How does this passage tie into other themes or ideas we’ve seen in some of the other novels we’ve looked at in the course? What else do you notice about this passage? (7-9 marks)

N.B. ANSWER ONLY IN COMPLETE SENTENCES AND PUT YOUR ANSWER IN PARAGRAPH FORM. WRITE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN WHEN ANSWERING EACH OF THESE. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO ANSWER THE QUESTION FULLY IN JUST A FEW SHORT SENTENCES.

PART B (50 points):

USING AS YOUR CHIEF EXAMPLES THREE TEXTS WE HAVE READ, WRITE AN ESSAY THAT FULLY ANSWERS ONE OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS (N.B. only two of the following questions will be on the actual final exam)

1. Based on what you have read in our course, what would say are some of the major preoccupations of Canadian literature today?  In other words, do you see any common threads or approaches that connect these books?

2. Memory is a significant theme in many of the works we have looked at in this course. With reference to three of the texts we have read in the class, discuss the role of memory in each.

3. A number of the books we’ve read feature characters struggling to come to terms with their own identity.  Focusing on a single character from each of three books, examine what it is that the character is trying to understand about who they are or whom they want to be.

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