midterm exam prep guide

The midterm exam (worth 10% of your grade for the course) will be on Thursday, Feb 23 during class time. You will have 75 minutes to complete and submit the exam. I anticipate that you will have sufficient time to think, write, revise, and edit during that window. Because the exam is taken in OAKS, you may take the exam wherever suits you—including our classroom—though you will need to have internet access (and a computer) for the entire 75 minutes.

You will respond to 4 of 6 prompts on the exam. Each will require a response of 300-500 words, in the form of a 2-3 paragraph response, akin to your weekly blog posts but more formal and perhaps more carefully planned and proofread than blogposts sometimes are. They will, of course, also be more carefully directed (thanks to the prompts) than are your weekly blogposts. Each will be worth 25% of the exam grade.

The purpose of the exam is two-fold:

1. To give you the opportunity/incentive to review the readings and discussions of the first half of the semester and make connections among them before we move in a slightly different direction in the second half.

2. To allow you the chance to demonstrate, in a written setting rather than the usual oral setting of classroom discussion, your facility with the materials we have been engaging with. You are doing with your mid-term paper, but that focuses on a single extended argument perhaps on just one text. In the midterm, you’ll be working not with one extended argument but instead will be calling on different elements of the critical and literary texts we’ve been discussing as you address a range of issues in the 4 prompts.

Following are the texts that will be covered in the exam:

Literary texts:

Marie de France, Guigemar, Bisclavret, Yönec, Laüstic, Eliduc

Anglo-Norman Voyage of St. Brendan

Chaucer, Book of the Duchess

Chaucer, Parliament of Fowles

Henryson, “Prologue,” “The Lion and the Mouse,” “The Preaching of the Swallow,” “The Fox, the Wolf and the Carter,” “The Fox, the Wolf and the Farmer,” “The Toad and the Mouse”

Marie de France, Fables “Prologue,” fables 1-5, 9, 11A, 11B, 13, 14, 21

Contemporary criticism:

Garrard 1: “Beginnings: Pollution”
Garrard 2: “Positions”
Garrard 7: “Animals”
Cohen, “Inventing with Animals in the Middle Ages”
Stanbury, “Ecochaucer”

Among the 6 prompts from which you will choose 4 to respond to, in the first 2 you will perform some analysis of a passage I provide you; in the second 2, prompts will encourage you to put 2 particular texts in conversation.

You can imagine that you might be asked to consider how genre seems to influence representations and considerations of “nature,” perhaps putting Marie’s lais alongside her fables. You might be encouraged to apply one of Stanbury’s or Cohen’s claims to a different literary text than the ones each of them discussed. I encourage you to return to blog questions and comments from your classmates, reconsidering ideas expressed there.