American Literature
Mid-Year Exam 2011-12

Part One: Grammar: 20%

  • Parts of Speech
  • Parts of the Sentence: (Subjects, Predicates, Direct and Indirect Objects)
  • Phrases: (Prepositional Phrases, Participial Phrases, Gerund Phrases, Infinitive Phrases, Appositives)
  • Clauses: (Independent and Subordinate Clauses, Adverb Clauses, Adjective Clauses, Noun Clauses)
  • Types of Sentences: (Simple, Compound, Complex and Compound-Complex)

Part Two: Analytical Essay: 40%

Essay on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1876-85)

Huckleberry Finn is Twain's story of a child's passage from youth into adulthood, but it is also an allegory about America's passage into maturity. Twain's problem, though, was that he could not devise a happy ending for his hero. Can Huck ever get clear of his culture's racism, greed and perverse romanticism? What psychological obstacles does he face? What feat must he accomplish to make a happy ending possible. Remember that Twain himself did not think he had any answers.

Find a thesis which interprets Twain's novel as both a psychological study and a political allegory.

Part Three: Creative Essay: 40%

Imagine yourself on the raft with Jim and Huck. You have passed through the fog and have not yet realized that Cairo (and freedom) is fast slipping behind you. Huck has taken the canoe to shore and just returned, with the Duke and the Dauphin, and Ben Franklin (!), who have just escaped a mob intent on tarring and feathering them after a performance of Hamlet.

Dramatize the scene which takes place on the raft. (At some point Huck and Jim need to be informed that Cairo is long past.)