English 207: World
Folktales and Literature
Study Guide for Tests: Spring 2006
Dr. Tina L. Hanlon
Associate Professor of English
Folktales and Literature Course Home Page
TEST 2 IS POSTPONED UNTIL THURSDAY, APRIL 6
April 4, 2006
This study guide has been checked on Monday, 4/3. It will not be changed again unless errors are discovered before Tuesday. If you see errors or have questions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review the general guidelines for Test 1 below. The same information on the format for the three parts of the test and tips for succeeding on the test will apply, except that Test 2 covers all literary works and folk literature studied since Test 1. If you did not do well on Test 1, read the section below called Tips on avoiding common pitfalls on tests of this type with paragraph and essay questions, think about which of these tips applies to you, and be sure to avoid the pitfalls this time.
THERE WILL BE A POSSIBLE EXTRA-CREDIT QUESTION INVOLVING ILLUSTRATIONS/PAINTINGS OF STORIES WE HAVE STUDIED OR JACK TALE PLAYER PERFORMANCES. You would need to review paintings/illustrations available online or on reserve, or picture books in order to answer the former.
Types of folklore and literature we have studied for Test 2 (both genres and thematic categories listed below)
(Note: "Wicked John and the Devil" is sometimes "Wicked Jack" but the Jack Tale Players and Richard Chase call the blacksmith John.)
Transformation tales (including loathly lady)
Beauty and the Beast/animal bridegroom tales or animal brides
"Cinderella" variants and other tales with strong heroines
Story theatre dramatizations by R. Rex Stephenson and the Jack
Satires of traditional tales/fractured fairy tales
Remember that many stories we have studied can fit into more than one category; e.g., Jack tales are often quest tales and/or trickster tales, some quest tales contain transformations and/or strong heroines
Literary works we have studied for Test 2:
Chaucer's transformation tale in "The Wife of Bath's Tale"
Boccaccio's legend “Isabella and the Pot of Basil." from The Decameron
English Romanticism: S. T. Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (in ballad form)
French Realism: Guy de Maupassant, "The Necklace"
Victorian: Tennyson's poem using medieval Arthurian legends: "The Lady of Shalott"
L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Franz Kafka's novella The Metamorphosis
Anne Sexton's poem "Cinderella"
Late 20th-century picture books with magical transformations
Other terms and concepts to be familiar with
Use of folk motifs in literary works such as novels (e.g., The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) and short stories—e.g., "The Necklace"
Compare stories with happy endings and stories with unhappy endings
Compare roles of female characters (and the males in their lives), and different interpretations of characters such as Cinderella, Beauty, etc.
Compare quests that end up with a return home and quests that take the main characters away from home to find.......?
Compare the roles of mothers (dead or alive), fathers (or grandfathers), and stepmothers in different stories
Compare magic help provided for main characters or magic spells that cause problems for characters
Compare loathly lady tale(s) or legend(s) with animal bridgeroom folktales
Surreal effects in The Metamorphosis (and Louis the Fish if you read that picture book)
Related motifs that occur in different tales, such as ....
Don't forget that Study Questions on The Metamorphosis and various study questions on schedule and journal guidelines can help you review for this test.
The guidelines below have been revised on 2/9/06. They will not be changed again unless someone alerts me to an error or you send suggestions that would enhance the study guide, not change the basic requirements of the test. If you have suggestions for review questions or ideas to add to the study guide, send them to email@example.com.
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.
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 ot 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.
Short Answer Section (5 points each; 60% of text grade):
Some of the questions in this section will ask you to identify types of folk literature. 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.
So far we have discussed various types of folk literature (see list below). From literature (works with individual authors), we have studied a medieval beast fable and a medieval fabliau. We have also studied poems and modern short stories that use some of the same elements as the folk literature. Remember that the different types of folk literature often overlap and some stories fit into more than one category. Try not to use the same story in more than one answer in this section.
You must give the author of the literary works you discuss, or you will lose one point.
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, for example.)
Essays Question (30% of test grade):
There will be one essay question requiring you to write about at least three different works, 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.
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.
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 hour.
Types of tales we have studied (Remember that these are overlapping categories.):
stories about storytelling and verbal tricks or riddles
Literary works we have studied:
Chaucer's elaboration of a beast fable in "The Nun's Priest's Tale"
Boccaccio's fabliau in The Decameron
Victorian (19th century)
Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussy-cat"
Robert Browning's "The Pied Piper"
Modern (20th century):
T. S. Eliot's "Macavity the Mystery Cat"
Saki's short stories "The Open Window" and "The Story-teller"
Other terms and concepts to be familiar with
General differences between oral traditions and written literature
Motifs in folk literature or written literature
Culture heroes or cycles of tales with the same hero recurring: Brer Rabbit and other Rabbit heroes, Anansi, Jack (also Coyote, Reynard the fox)
Think about tales that have explicit morals, tales that dramatize moral values implicitly, and tales that are amoral.
Think about how humor is used in both folk literature and some of the written literature. Where do you see storytellers or writers mocking or satirizing human behavior or satirizing literary traditions?
Last update: 04/04/2006 10:27 AM