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Final Exam Example

This exam also uses the character identification, short answer, and longer essay approach seen in the above examples.

E238 Final Exam    Name:_______________________

Please follow the directions for each section.  Note that in each section you will have a choice in the questions you’ll be answering.  On this sheet, please circle the identifications or questions that you will be responding to, and answer them in an orderly, well-labeled fashion on separate, loose sheets of paper.  Please put your name on every sheet.  The exam is based on a 100 point scale.  Partial credit will be given for partial answers.

Identifications. (5 points each): Respond to seven of eighteen. For each, explain what it is, what book it comes from, and why it is significant. Be succinct; you should be able to provide all the necessary information in no more than two sentences. 

The box
Komura’s wife
star-shaped hole
Jungle girl (Maryanne)
Revisionary superhero tale
Dr. Manhattan
Doomsday clock
Smiley face
Tales of the Black Freighter
Rorschach’s mask

Short Answer. (10 points each): Respond to four of eight; one from each book. Remember to use specific, concrete evidence from the books to support your answers.  These should take at least a paragraph to answer sufficiently.

  1. Describe “Magic Realism.” Where is it present in after the quake? What are the ways this Magic Realism illuminates a truth or explores an idea?
  2. Boxes figure prominently in this collection. Give three instances where boxes appear and why each is symbolically significant.
  3. What are some of the rules O’Brien presents in “How to Tell a True War Story”? How does O’Brien follow or not follow these rules throughout the book? Give at least two concrete examples.
  4. Describe “Metafiction.” How does O’Brien use metafiction in The Things They Carried?
  5. What is the definition of dystopia? What characterizes Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale as a dystopia? What societal trends is Atwood exploring or criticizing? Give at least two concrete examples.
  6. How is feminism explored in The Handmaid’s Tale? In what ways is the book a criticism of radical feminism? In what ways is the book a criticism of a return to “traditional values”? Give at least two concrete examples.
  7.  Explain the symbol of the smiley face with the blood smear from Watchmen. What different themes does it represent? Show at least one of these themes through concrete examples from the graphic novel.
  8.  How might Watchmen be a “revisionary superhero tale”? In what ways does the graphic novel disrupt your expectations of superheroes? Give concrete examples.

Long Answer. (25 points): Respond to 1 of 6. Remember to use specific evidence to support your answers, and to fully answer each question.  These should take several paragraphs to answer sufficiently.

  1. In what ways are both The Handmaid’s Tale and Watchmen using elements of fantasy to explore different societal elements or ideas? How do their respective fantastical elements allow them to explore these ideas in a way that a realistic narrative might not?
  2. How are both The Things They Carried and after the quake responses to real-life events? In other words, how do Haruki Murakami and Tim O’Brien use fiction to illuminate different truths about these events, or the aftermath of these events? Use concrete evidence.
  3.  Define (perhaps again) an anti-hero. Does Tim O’Brien fit into this role? Describe two other characters (from different works) and how they fit into this role as well. Compare all three characters.
  4. The characters of after the quake are passive or lacking in some quality. Refer to at least two of this collection’s characters, explaining what they are lacking. Think of the other main characters we’ve followed this half of the semester. How do they compare to after the quake’s characters in terms of their agency (activity vs. passivity). Write about at least two of these other characters.
  5. How is fear both a motivating factor and a flaw in the characters/narrators of three of the books we’ve read in this part of the semester? Give specific, concrete examples from each.
  6. What are the different elements of violence in three of the four books? Why was this violence present, and what was its function? Is violence an important part of 20th century fiction? Why or why not?