English 350: Appalachian Literature  

Midterm Study Guide

This page is complete now for Fall 2010.

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Ferrum College, English Department

Please note: If you have questions or see mistakes in this study guide, contact the professor as soon as possible.

General Guidelines:

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):

Tips on avoiding common pitfalls on tests of this type with paragraph and essay questions:

Assignments from beginning of semester to Oct. 12:

Fiction, Poetry and Nonfiction

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)

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