Study Questions for the Final Exam

  1. Discuss some specific strategies Blake uses in his critique of society in “London” and at least two other poems.
  2. Analyze in detail at least one passage in Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” explaining how he believes he can know transcendental reality, and then compare that with at least one passage in The Prelude.
  3. Explain Coleridge’s distinctions regarding imagination and fancy, and then apply them in detail to at least one romantic poem.
  4. Explain the moral and spiritual lesson the Ancient Mariner learns in Coleridge’s Rime, and then explain why you do or do not agree with him that his presentation of that lesson at the end is a defect in the poem.
  5. According to Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria, he and Wordsworth sought to write different kinds of poems for their collaborative work, Lyrical Ballads. With specific references to a poem by each of them, explain how each poet carried out his task.
  6. Define the “Byronic hero,” and then explain what appears to be Byron’s attitude toward Napoleon as a representative of that concept in Childe Harold.
  7. Explain at least one sense in which Keats uses the term “negative capability,” and then apply it to one poem by Shelley and one by Keats.
  8. Analyze specific passages in Tennyson’s and Arnold’s poetry to show how each understood and responded to the Victorian “crisis of faith.”
  9. In Hard Times, how does Dickens use the characters of Gradgrind, Bounderby, and Blackpool in his critique of 19th-century society? Be sure to make very specific references to the novel.
  10. What are the functions of the principal women characters in Hard Times–Sissy, Louisa, Rachel, and Mrs. Sparsit?
  11. What is the function of the descriptions of Coketown in Hard Times? Be sure to make very specific references to the text.
  12. Explain in detail how Ruskin uses ancient, medieval, and Victorian architectural forms in his cultural criticism in Stones of Venice.
  13. Compare Browning’s use(s) of speakers in at least two of his poems.
  14. Compare some of the attitudes of the Aesthetes of the 1890’s with those of at least two World War I poets, making specific reference to at least one work by each writer you discuss.
  15. Explain in detail how Pater and Hopkins anticipate many of the features of modernism.
  16. In Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, how does Kurtz figure in the critique of Western civilization? Be sure to make very specific references to the text.
  17. Compare Darwin’s and Conrad’s (or Marlow’s) ambivalence toward recognizing their kinship with non-Western peoples. Be sure to make specific references to works by each author.
  18. What is the function of Conrad’s descriptions of Europe and Africa in Heart of Darkness? Be sure to make very specific references to the text.
  19. Compare at least one poem by Yeats and at least one by Eliot as modernist experiments.
  20. Compare the views of educational and career opportunities for women in one work by Ellis and one by Woolf. Be sure to make very specific references to their works.
  21. In what specific ways does Woolf in Mrs. Dalloway carry out her critique of the pressures toward conformity in modern society?
  22. Explain what is meant by “stream of consciousness” as a narrative device, and then analyze how Woolf employs it in at least one extended passage of Mrs. Dalloway.
  23. What is the function of the descriptions of London in Mrs. Dalloway? Be sure to make very specific references to the text.
  24. Discuss in detail how Larkin, Hughes, and Heaney respond to a continuing sense of a “crisis of faith.”
  25. How does Heaney view his role as poet in relation to the traditional society from which he comes? Be sure to make very specific references to his poems.

Page Last Updated: 29 December 2012