Part I: Short Passage Identification (10 points)

You will identify 5 out of 8 passages (or sets of passages) drawn from Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, Mrs. Dalloway, “Modern Fiction,” “Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Brown,” and Atonement. In order to receive full credit, full titles and full names be spelled correctly.

Part II: Short Writing Tasks (45 points)

For this section you will respond to a few short writing prompts about THREE of your identified passages.  For this section, you will need a blue or green book. 

  • You must write on three different texts/authors (i.e. either Mrs. Dalloway or “Modern Fiction,” for example).
  • Please clearly identify the passage and prompts in your exam booklet.

Part III: Term Identification (30 points)

This section of the exam is comprehensive, although not everything from the first half of the semester will be covered. See the list of terms and concepts below.

You will identify and discuss 5 (out of 10) concepts and terms drawn from the literary criticism and theory that we’ve read. You may also be asked to discuss the significance of objects, characters, and settings from the novels.

You will use your blue or green book for this section of the exam.

  • You must fully define and/or describe the concept, term, and writer and then relate your description to at least one of the novels read this semester.
  • When identifying and discussing the significance of objects, characters or settings, you must discuss its significance to the text and/or critical approaches to that text. If the object, character or setting applies to more than one text, you should discuss those other texts.
  • Your response should be no less than 5 sentences long and no more than 2 paragraphs. Every sentence should say something significant and thoughtful about the concept, term or figure under consideration.
  • AVOID repeating material from the first part of this exam

Part IV: Essay on Brooklyn (15 points)

This section of the essay is modeled on Parts I and II. You will be given a choice of two different passages from Brooklyn, as well as a set of essay prompts.

Summary of concepts and terms, literary figures from the secondary source material 

Various accounts of the novel as a genre: McKeon, Robert , Frye, Culler, Banfield, Moretti

Accounts of realism: Belsey, Barthes, Levine

Accounts of Free Indirect Discourse: Cohn, Chatman, Hite 

Accounts of Modernism: Woolf, Emery, Hite 

Accounts of Poststructuralism: Barthes, Hutcheon 

Accounts of the Postcolonial: Spivak, Emery, Bhabha 

Accounts of Implied Authors and Readers: Booth and Iser

Summary list of critics and theorists with key terms and concepts noted

1750: Samuel Johnson, [On Fiction], duty of novel to reflect truth but in its most moral form

1921 and 1924: Virginia Woolf’s essays on “Modern Fiction” and “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,” important for its evocation of modernism’s aims and difference from Victorian literature, as well as description of stream-of-consciousness

1969: Roland Barthes, “The Reality Effect,” important terms include structuralism vs. poststructuralism, “death of the author” and “insignificant notation”

1972: Wolfgang Iser, “The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach,” important concepts include “the implied reader”

1978: Dorrit Cohn, from Transparent Minds, important terms include figural consciousness, quoted monologue, and narrated monologue (which is the same as free indirect discourse), and psychonarration

1978: Seymour Chatman, from Story and Discourse, important concepts here include distinctions between the narrator’s voice and that of a character within the text, description of “neutralized” indirect free style (which attempts to get to more specificity when considering “distance” between the narrator’s voice and those of individual characters)

1980: Catherine Belsey, “Critical Practice,” important terms include ideology, interpellation, classic realism, hierarchy of voices, and closure

1983: Wayne Booth, from The Rhetoric of Fiction: critique of New Critics; coins the term “implied author”=authorial presence; defines three types of literary interest (intellectual/cognitive; qualitative/aesthetic; practical/human)

1983: George Levine, from The Realistic Imagination, important concepts include an insistence upon the intentionality of the author; defines realism throughout the piece but see passages on pg. 617 and pg. 620

1983: Ann Banfield, from Unspeakable Sentences, important distinction between oral and literate culture as an explanation for the rise of the novel

1985: Gayatri Spivak, from “Wide Sargasso Sea and a Critique of Imperialism,” important concepts include her notion of “worldling” and the “other”

1987: Franco Moretti, from The Way of the World, important concepts include bildungsroman, classification principle, and transformation principle

1988: Linda Hutcheon, from Historiographic Metafiction, definition of historiographic metafiction, distinction between event and fact

1990: Mary Lou Emery, see “Modernist Crosscurrents” for definitions of modernism, as well as the concept of intersectionality (i.e. intersections of multiple identities, including those of race, class, and gender)

1994: Homi Bhabha, from The Location of Culture, concepts of “writing the nation,” “people-as-one” and “living perplexity”

2010: Molly Hite, “Tonal Cues and Uncertain Values,” important concepts include her use of the formalist notion of defamiliarization to understand experimental modernist narratives and their deployment of the third-person

Additional terms

 literary theory
definition(s) of the novel
terms associated with narratology (8/29 and 9/5)
free indirect discourse
the bildungsroman
direct address
public and private narration