American Literature Midterm Exam

American Literature Midterm Exam

American Literature Midterm Exam

Ms. Kudish-McManus and Mr. Crand

Academic Level

On the day of your final exam, you will select and write two essays from below. You may bring in a sheet of handwritten notes, but you may not to pre-write your essays. Notes will be collected with your exam.

For each question you are to cite at least two works, and for each work you are to use at least two examples. You may treat short stories in The Martian Chronicles as separate works. Essays are to be three divisional in nature (introduction, body and conclusion). You must refer to at least three different works from this year in the form of quotes using page numbers.


The Martian ChroniclesThe Monsters are Due on Maple Street

(can be treated as a series of short stories)

The Crucible

Of Mice and MenFor a Mouse

1.) Each of our works has been written to explore a social concern. This is to say that each has been written not only for entertainment, but to spread a message to its readers. Select two of the works we have explored and analyze the author’s agenda citing specifically where we see their agenda in each work.

2.) Nominate a character for “Most ____ of the Year” and nominate their opposite for “Least ____ of the Year.” Take these characters from two novels and explain why you think he/she deserves these titles using two examples. Additionally, explore what the two have in common if anything.

3.) Crucible:

1.) a severe test 2.) a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development

A crucible can be considered a test by which people’s characters are tested by their situation; what emerges is either their best or worst selves. What two characters in any of our novels or movies have been exposed to crucibles? What has tested them and how did they fair?

4.) The idea of redemption permeates our literature. Basically, this reflects the belief that forgiveness is possible and that when things look their very worst, a person or culture can rise from its/his own ashes like the proverbial Phoenix. Identify two works in which you have seen this and explain what they can tell us about ourselves as people.

5.) All of our works explore the relationship between the powerful and the powerless, how power shifts, the notion of the majority determining right and wrong in a culture, the price of following your conscience when faced with an unfair or immoral situation, and the importance of moral courage. Using any of these ideas, tie together two works we have explored this year.

6.) In Robert Burns’ poem “For a Mouse”, Burns asks us what our responsibility is to the less powerful in the world; how the world treats the less fortunate; and how the world affects our dreams. Explore how this poem relates to Of Mice and Men or any other work we have read this year.