English 207: World
Folktales and Literature
Study Guide for Final Exam: Spring 2006
Dr. Tina L. Hanlon
Associate Professor of English
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 email@example.com.
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:
Realistic contemporary novel with fairy tale themes and images
Magic realism in film
Narrative and nonsense poems
Fairy tale satires
Other themes and folk/literary traditions in works we've studied at the end of the semester:
magical, malicious and monstrous opponents and helpers of main characters
domestic life (e.g., family history and relations in Like Water for Chocolate or Briar Rose, Prospero's and Miranda's on island)
relationship between home and quests that take characters away from home (do they return or not?)
intertextuality in literary works that refer to folk literature and other previous literature
humor in tall tales and humorous scenes in other works
exaggeration in tall tales and challenges in American history represented in tall tales
use of folk motifs in literary works such as plays, films, novels (e.g., The Tempest, Like Water for Chocolate, Briar Rose)
roles of women in folktales and other works of literature
relations between individual and society, or effects of political conflict on individuals in literary works
comparing roles of mothers (dead or alive), fathers, and grandmothers or stepmothers in different stories (e.g., Tita's mother and Miranda's father as controlling, authoritarian figures)
methods of satirizing the traditions of folk literature
comparing magic help provided for main characters or magic spells that cause problems for characters
how fairy tale motifs represent symbolically the challenges and horrors of personal life or history
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.
Stories about storytelling and verbal tricks or riddles
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:
Shakespeare play The Tempest
Victorian nonsense poetry: "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll
American tall tales (not exactly literary works--you don't have to know an author's name--but arose out of settlement of American West and industrial revolution)
Film adaptation of Laura Esquivel novel Like Water for Chocolate
Scieska and Smith picture book satires, The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of A. Wolf
Poems distributed on handouts on last day of class
General Guidelines for preparing for the exam and its format:
You should be familiar with the tales we have discussed and all the other required readings that are not in the anthology.
Review all readings and the introductions in anthologies, putting emphasis on being most familiar with stories and terms that have received the most attention in class discussions since the second test. Terri Windlings introduction in Briar Rose provides another good review of fairy tale traditions and the glossary in Lechner may be useful.
Be sure all your answers make reference to one or more specific folktales (or fables) or works of literature.
You do not need to remember in detail every story we have studied, but you should know well the title, characters and plot of one or two examples to fit each type of folk literature we have discussed, and you should know the authors and titles of the literary works we have studied.
Write all answers in complete sentences and standard English. Test answers arent 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 uses typical characteristics of folk literature.
Matching Section (20% of test grade)
You should be familiar with all the literary works by individual authors, the types of tales we have discussed (so that you could match up an obvious example or description), and the other terms and concepts listed below.
Essay Question (40% of test grade):
There will be two essay questions requiring you to write about at two or three different works in each essay, including both folktales and literature with individual authors. The questions will focus on typical themes and motifs of folk literature that we have discussed in class (see lists above for review).
You will have a choice of essay questions. You choose which work(s) you will discuss to answer the questions you have chosen. Focus on works we discussed in class, but you may also mention other works in the folktale anthology that we did not focus on in class discussion, if they help prove your point. 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.
See Pointers for Taking Essay Tests. Many writing and literature textbooks also give advice about responding to essay questions.
Short Answer Section (5 points each; 40% of text grade):
Some of the questions in this section will ask you to identify types of folk literature or answer other questions in which you supply a specific example. For each one, give a specific example of a story we have studied that represents this type and discuss briefly (in one paragraph) how it represents this type of folk literature or written literature.
You must give the author of each literary work you discuss, or you will lose one point.
You may be given a copy of one or more of the poems that were distributed in class on the last day in order to respond in this section, but you should review those poems before the final exam. They are for your independent synthesis of knowledge you have gained about fairy tale traditions in this course.
There may be a question in this section or for extra credit involving oral reports given by members of the class..
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 tricksters behavior. We laugh as Vera gathers information about Mr. Nuttels 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 Veras 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 wont
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,
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.
Last update: 05/03/2006 08:26 PM