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English 230

Spring 2014
Final Exam: 100 points
You may respond to two of the following questions. Please do not repeat points at length across the two questions
you answer.
1. In a brief (2 pages max.) but developed and coherent essay, examine critically one or more excerpts from a film
production of Shakespeares The Tempest, Molieres Tartuffe, Ibsens A Dolls House, or Becketts Endgame.
(Choose just one.) By now you should know the drill for this question. Begin by describing the most significant
choices you see being made about how to stage the play in the excerpt(s) youve selected. Analyze the rationale for
those choices in terms of the interpretations of the story they suggest. And evaluate the merits of those choices and
interpretations based on your own understanding of the play. You may use any of the film excerpts weve watched
in class this term, or you may find your own excerpts of the plays on our LitWIKI site or onYouTube. If the latter ,
please include the web address for the video(s) in your response. (50 points)
2. Much of the literature weve read since midterm (i.e., Shakespeare and after) addresses as a central theme the
relationships between appearances and truth (or reality). Of particular interest in these works are the authors
treatments of what happens to characters when forced finally to face reality. In a brief (2 pages max.) but
developed and coherent essay, discuss the varying treatments of this relationship between truth and appearance and
the consequence of shattered illusions in any three of the works weve read since midterm. (50 points)
3. A common theme in modernist literature concerns the paradox of ones growing sense of alienation and perhaps
even dehumanization in the context of an increasingly complex and too often unfeeling social world. In a brief (2
pages max.) but developed and coherent essay, discuss the treatment of this paradox, including its possible
resolution, in any three of the works weve read since midterm. (50 points)
4. In a brief (2 pages max.) but developed and coherent essay, discuss some of the ways we might understand
Becketts Endgame metaphorically as the authors efforts to put an end to the dramatic tradition he follows. Cite
specific evidences from the play that speak to Becketts subversive stance toward foundational dramatic elements
like plot, character, setting, language, and so on. (50 points)
5. In a brief (2 pages max.) but developed and coherent essay, tell me something interesting and worth knowing that
youve learned about the Western literary tradition over the past 2500 years (so the entire term). What Im looking
for here is evidence that you have some grasp of the big picture, and that you can discuss that big-picture
understanding using specific authors and readings as examples. How has literature changed across the centuries
basically, and/or how has it remained the same? How are different world cultures reflected in the differences in the
literary works theyve produced, and/or how do similarities in those works suggest universals that reach across
those cultures? Please focus your response around some particular element of literature (e.g., representations of
character, plot development, audience identification), theme (e.g., the role fate plays in our lives; the nature of
truth or reality), or other specific concern. I will grade one line of focused development in your essay. Random
shifts to new, unrelated topics will not be graded. (50 points)