English 640 (Fall 2016)
Day, time, location: Wednesday, December 7th, 6:30 p.m., Owens 101
Fall 2016 examination schedule: http://www.winthrop.edu/uploadedFiles/acadschedule/Exams-Fall.pdf
Directions: Respond to ONE of the following questions in a polished essay of at least 6-8 single-spaced pages in a large bluebook.
What to bring: TWO large blue books (available at the WU bookstore), a timepiece, two blue or black ballpoint pens.
You MAY use books and notes. In fact, you should plan your essay ahead of time. But you still have to show up and write your answer in a blank blue book during the exam period.
Format: Write on ONLY one side of each page in your large blue book. Underline the titles of plays to signal italics. Put the titles of articles in "quotation marks." Write between the red lines, leaving one-inch margins on the left and right. Do not write below the last line on the page. If your handwriting is huge, skip every other line.
If the bookstore does not have large blue books, bring two small ones and plan to write on each side of the page, following the previous guidelines about margins.
You do NOT need to have a works cited list at the end of your essay; however, parenthetical citations would be helpful in case I want to check something.
You may begin at 6:25, and all blue books are due not later than 9:05. You have 2 hours and 40 minutes.
If you turn in your bluebook(s) with a large stamped and self-addressed mailer, I would be happy to drop your exam in the mail for you. Grades, of course, will be posted on Blackboard. You may pick up your term project at the end of the exam period.
Of the two questions, the first offers greater flexibility and therefore greater potential for creativity on your part. You may be familiar with the term "lectionary readings," which means selections from the Old and New Testaments, plus a Pauline epistle and perhaps a Psalm, all of which a preacher weaves together into a sermon. I'm looking for something very similar here: a synthesis of something from at least four plays representing all four "modes" that we have studied, something from The Bedford Companion, and substantive connections to at least two of the critical articles that we have read this semester. Your objective is not merely to discuss a bunch of things in the same place. You must also use your sources to support a strong thesis. It may be helpful to center your essay on a key concept or passage from The Bedford Companion, but the choice of how to proceed is entirely up to you. If you prefer narrower parameters, select question two.
The alternative is the following preformulated question, which offers an opportunity to write about the plays--to put them together--in a way that we did not thoroughly discuss. This semester we have seen numerous examples of art-within-art. All of them say something about the theme of human sexuality, but some do so more strongly and directly than others. Discuss this claim and argue about the relationships among A-E in terms of sexuality. In other words, make an argument that centers on degrees of relevance. Note, however, that answers may differ depending on the criterion on which you base your analysis. In any case, follow an outline that makes logical sense; you do not have to trudge through A-E in order, but be certain that you discuss all five examples in your essay. Then use what you know about Shakespeare’s life from The Bedford Companion to argue that he most strongly supports the portrayal of human sexuality in one of the choices below. Be sure to discuss all of the examples. Sharp distinctions between and among the characters will substantially enhance your response. Somewhere in your essay, make a substantive connection to at least two of the critical articles that we have read this semester (tie in a quotation). Finally, do not just discuss a bunch of stuff in the same place; each segment is a piece in a developing argument.Summary of plots will be unsatisfactory.
A. Pyramus and Thisbe in A Midsummer Night's Dream
B. Hal's playing the father with Falstaff in King Henry IV, Part One
C. The fall of Troy, The Murder of Gonzago, Ophelia’s Saint Valentine’s Day song--in Hamlet
D. Desdemona's handkerchief in Othello
E. Prospero’s masque in The Tempest
Do not answer both questions.