Please note: If you have questions or see mistakes in this study guide, contact the professor as soon as possible.
Review all assigned readings, putting emphasis on being most familiar with works that have received the most attention in class discussions.
Be sure all your answers make reference to one or more specific works of literature.
You do not need to remember in detail every work we have studied, but you should know well the title, characters and plot of main works we discussed in class. (Use the background readings only as background, but you won't be asked specific questions about nonfiction.)
Write all answers in complete sentences and standard English. Test answers arenít expected to be as polished stylistically or mechanically as out-of-class papers, but college-level writing skills must be used to make your answers clear to the reader who evaluates them.
In general, you should have a good understanding of how the literature we have studied for this test represents trends in Appalachian literature or particular issues from the List of Themes as we have discussed some of those themes in class.
Short Answer Section: (5 questions, 5 points each, 2/3 of test grade)
If you don't mention the author and title of the work (if there is an author), you could lose a point (if this info. isn't given in the question). Only literary works discussed in class will appear in the short answer section but you may mention other works if that makes sense for the question. The remaining points are given for a brief discussion of the significance of the item or quotation in the question.
This sample comes from American literature that is not Appalachian, but it contains good illustrations of strengths and weaknesses in answers for the short answer portion of the text.
Sample Short Answer Question: Discuss briefly the significance of
the broken unicorn.
One-point answer (too brief; doesnít discuss significance; not a complete sentence; author not identified):
a figurine that breaks in The Glass Menagerie
Two-point answer (brief identification but nothing on significance):
Williams, The Glass Menagerie. This is Laura's favorite figurine
in her collection of glass animals.
Three-point answer (good on significance of item but nothing precise on how the item relates to main characters or plot or period/genre of literature. The key word "broken" has not been explained. Also there is awkward wording in this answer and the play is called a "story.")
The unicorn in Williamsí The Glass Menagerie symbolizes the unique virgin, fragile, and beautiful aspects of the young person in the story. It represents the unreal fantasy in real life circumstances.
Four-point answer (too much plot summary and not precise enough on thematic significance):
The glass unicorn was one of Laura's favorite figurines in her menagerie of
glass animals. She lived with her mother and brother and she was afraid to go
out into the world because she felt self-conscious about her physical
handicap. Her collection at home was very important to her. Laura and Jim were
dancing when they knocked it over and broke it. When that happened she said
the unicorn would now be like the other animals. Since she had liked Jim since
they were in high school together, and he was helping her feel more
self-confident, she gave him the unicorn, but he told her he was engaged to
another girl, so the play ends sadly.
Five-point answer (gets right to the point about the significance of the unicorn):
The unicorn is Laura's favorite glass piece in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. It represents her uniqueness and virginity. However, while she and Jim are dancing, the unicorn falls and loses its horn, making it just one of the other horses. This represents Laura's feeling that she is now like everyone else; she is dancing despite her handicap.
Essay Question (1/3 of test grade):
There will be one essay question requiring you to write about at least three different works of literature we have studied.
You will have a choice of essay questions. You choose which work(s) you will discuss to answer the questions you have chosen. Be sure to use specific examples and details from the works to support the generalizations in your essay.
If questions ask for comparison/contrast, be sure you have included specific, explicit points of comparison and/or contrast in your essay.
for Taking Essay Tests. Many writing
and literature textbooks also give advice about
responding to essay questions.
Tips on avoiding common pitfalls on tests of this type with paragraph and essay questions:
Read the instructions carefully and answer the number of questions required. Don't leave any blank or it will cost you too many points.
Budget your time so that you won't be forced to leave anything blank or run out of time for checking your answers at the end.
Follow any instructions you might find about not duplicating the same examples or writing about a certain number of different authors.
Select examples that you know well and that fit the question especially well.
Don't just summarize plot or rephrase the idea in the question. Be sure you stress the significance of the examples you discuss.
Include specific details as much as possible, without just summarizing plot or using up too much time on any one question.
Write clearly, legibly, and in complete sentences (for your sake as you check your answers as well as the reader of the test).
If you have time, take a mental break from working on the test and then look back over answers you wrote earlier in the test period.
Higgs, vol. 1, chap. 1. Roots, Exploration, Settlers (you can skip Speer, 16-30)
Higgs, vol. 2, chap. 2 on Heroes and Demigods. Know at least a couple selections in that chapter that you could discuss.
Jo Carson, poems in Stories I Ain't Told Nobody Yet
Carson poems in Higgs: "Lightning," 382-83 "Crows," 245 "Storyteller," 622
Gurney Norman: "Fat Monroe" in Higgs, beginning of vol. 2, 351-56
"Snow Day" a very, very short story you can read online.
Harriet Arnow, "The Washerwoman" in Higgs, 383-89
Richard Chase, Grandfather Tales
Ashpet, live action film adaptation by Tom Davenport
Higgs, vol. 2, chapter 3 on Folklore, Mythology, and Superstition (we didn't discuss everything in class)
Ray Hicks storytelling in Higgs, vol. 2, chap. 4, pp. 484-92
"The Ballad of Frankie Silver" in Higgs, vol. 1
"John Henry" (ballad/legend/tall tale/work song) in Higgs, vol. 1, chap. 2, p. 58
Cherokee animal tales on handout (links were provided to other versions of the same tales)
Appalachian Literature Course Home Page