Sample Final Exam Questions

Here are some examples of the kinds of questions I might ask on the Final Exam. While these specific questions will not be on the Exam, questions very much like them will be.


  • Compare how the adversaries they face help to define the different kinds of heroism of Beowulf and of Sir Gawain in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Consider what these heroes’ encounters with their supernatural opponents tell us about the values each hero represents.
  • Select ONE sonnet from Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella and write a brief analysis of it, paying particular attention to the conventions of sonnet form and to how Sidney uses those conventions to dramatize his complex and conflicting emotions. (Make sure you clearly identify which sonnet your are analyzing.)
  • Analyze how The Garden of Adonis (in Book 3, canto 6 of The Faerie Queene) serves as a kind of critique or criticism of The Bower of Bliss (in Book 2, canto 12). Consider what each place represents and how the details of their descriptions function symbolically. Discuss how the Garden provides a more positive version of the elements from the Bower.
  • Compare how the narrators in the “General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales and in Gulliver’s Travels each establish a particular tone for the work. Think about the relationship between the authors (Geoffrey Chaucer and Jonathan Swift) and their narrators (the pilgrim Chaucer character and Lemuel Gulliver). How do the authors use their narrators to create satiric and comic effects that would not be possible without them?

Page Last Updated: 8 December 2016