English 481: Popular Then/Classic Now: Advanced Study in American Authors, 1865-1940

Study Guide for Exam 2

Note: This is intended as a guide, but it may not cover everything. Material not listed here might appear on the exam. The notes you took in class should be your best guide.

Check the American Author pages at http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/aufram.html for other resources. Page numbers are available on the syllabus.

I. Format.  Exam 2 will consist of three parts: one section of short answer or multiple-choice questions; one section of identification questions consisting of short passages for identification and close reading; and one essay question from a choice of two or three questions.  See the exercise on answering identification questions for more help.

II. Works Covered (You should know title, author, main characters, and the significance of scenes and events)

London, "The Mexican," "The House of Pride," "Mauki" (1067-1104),"The Law of Life," "To Build a Fire" (1052-1067)
Stephen Crane, poems (handout)
Robert Frost, "Design," "Desert Places," "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," "Fire and Ice," and other poems (handout)
Wallace Stevens, "The Snow Man," "Anecdote of the Jar," "The Death of a Soldier," "The Plain Sense of Things" (handout)
Edith Wharton. "Roman Fever" (843-852),"The Other Two" (829-843), Summer, Ethan Frome
F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," "The Ice Palace," "Babylon Revisited"

III. Terms and Concepts

  • Modernism
  • Realism
  • Naturalism
  • Poetry terms: enjambment, end-stopped, alliteration, sonnet, etc.
  • Basic career trajectories for Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Background information from reports and group presentations
  • The myth of the Old South
  • IV. Sample Essay Questions (Note: These are just to give you an idea; they will not necessarily be on the exam.)

    1. What is the role of the past in these two works?

    2. In what way do these two works embody the principles of modernism?

    3. Closely analyze this passage from this work.

    4. Compare the naturalism in "A Man Adrift on a Slim Spar" with that of "To Build a Fire."

    5. Choosing any two works, write a thesis and an essay in which you explore how the authors use winter and cold as a symbol.

    6. Analyze the structure of a story by Fitzgerald or Wharton. What elements keep the story moving forward? What do you learn in each of the story's segments? How does the author use elements such as tension, contrast, parallelism of plot events, and other features to establish character?

    7. How does a certain theme (race or racism, revenge, justice, etc.) play an integral part in stories such as "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," "Mauki," or "The Mexican"?

    8. Compare two female characters in terms of the ways in which they solved an important personal problem, such as an unwanted pregnancy.