English 207: World Folktales and Literature
Study Guide for Final Exam: Spring 2006   

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Associate Professor of English
Ferrum College

Folktales and Literature Course Home Page

Final Exam: Thursday, May 4, 2006, 10:30 a.m.

This study guide has been checked on Monday, 5/1.  It will not be changed again unless errors are discovered by Tuesday or Wednesday. If you see errors or have questions, send them to thanlon@ferrum.edu.

Be sure to review the general guidelines and instructions on format below the lists of works and themes covered on this test.

Types of folklore and literature we have studied since Test 2:

Other themes and folk/literary traditions in works we've studied at the end of the semester:

It is also advisable to be familiar with the following types of folk literature and literature from earlier in the semester. Although you won't be required to write about these on the final exam, you may need to be able to identify these types of literature, or you might discuss features of these types as they occur in the works we have studied recently.

Remember that many stories we have studied can fit into more than one category; e.g., tall tales may contain some pourquoi tale episodes; some longer works contain quests, transformations,  ghosts and/or strong heroines 

Literary works we have studied for final exam:


Nineteenth Century

Twentieth Century

General Guidelines for preparing for the exam and its format:

Matching Section (20% of test grade)

Essay Question (40% of test grade):

Short Answer Section (5 points each; 40% of text grade):

Sample Short Answer Question: Discuss briefly an example of a trickster tale.

Sample Answer: “The Open Window,” a modern short story by Saki (H. H. Munro), is a kind of trickster tale because Vera plays a trick on a visitor to her home by making him believe he is witnessing a ghost story coming to life. Like many trickster tales in folklore, this story places more emphasis on the humor and the cleverness of the trick than on the morality of the trickster’s behavior. We laugh as Vera gathers information about Mr. Nuttel’s background, convinces him her male relatives died three years earlier, and watches him run in fright when they return home looking very much alive. The story focuses on Vera’s skill as a storyteller who loves to shock people with wild tales she invents. Although some tricksters are tricked in return or learn their lesson, Vera gets away with her trick and the dupe, Mr. Nuttel, does not get revenge.

Notice that this answer connects the character Vera with folklore and oral storytelling traditions in three ways (see underlined phrases). It also shows how this modern short story is similar to trickster tales in folklore, and different from some trickster tales. You do not have to include this much detail in your short answers. You probably won’t have time to write this much for each one, but this sample of an excellent answer illustrates several ways to discuss typical features of folktales. Do not overgeneralize about characteristics of each type of tale. (Many trickster tales do emphasize moral issues, for example.)

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

Last update: 05/03/2006 08:26 PM