Exam 1 will be a combination of passage identification questions and several short essay questions. The exam will cover the readings we have done so far, including the shorter pieces by Standing Bear, Owens, Chavez, and the eco-criticism essays, as well as the longer texts by Galvin and Wright, and the film Into the Wild. The One Book selection and Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge will not be on the exam.
The passage identification portion will ask you to identify important passages from the readings (that is, identify the author and text), and then briefly explain the quote’s significance. Here’s an example of passage identification:
“There is about them no awareness, no acuteness, and it is this dullness that gives ugly mannerisms full play.”
Answer: Standing Bear, “Nature.” He is discussing how white youth are raised, in contrast to native youth, who are alert to their surroundings. One result is that white boys hang out on street corners and jostle one another, instead of developing a sense of awareness for the natural world.
The essay questions will ask you to synthesize the material, to compare and contrast similarities between texts, and to use your skills as eco-critics. If you have kept up with the reading and paid attention in class, the exam should not be too taxing. During the exam, you may use your books, which will allow you to use specific examples from the texts to support your major claims in your answers. You will have the entire period to complete the exam. Your exams will be graded according to the quality and thoroughness of your answers, including the complexity of your main claims and the use of text to support them with specific examples. It is worth 70 points (nearly 20% of your final grade).
To study, I would suggest the following:
- If you haven’t read everything, complete the readings. And re-read as necessary.
- Think about the role of interconnectedness in each of the texts: in what ways are the characters, the environment, the eco-systems, and the communities connected to one another?
- Go back through the texts and consider how nature and human nature are represented in each of the texts.
- Examine similarities and differences between the longer texts, particularly from an eco-critical perspective.