Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Mythology Last Exam Fall 2019

Fall 2019 — Delahoyde
Washington State University

MYTHOLOGY
END-OF-SEMESTER EXAM

 

Your last significant obligation to this course will be an exam,
questions and answers for which will concern only the works covered
from after the midterm exam through the end of the semester: that’s
the Greek plays and Metamorphoses, through Lucrece
and the other mythological materials such as love, lycanthropy, and
kids’ toys during these last several weeks. Here is the plan for
the last exam, the in-class portion of which will take place on
Wednesday, November 20th.


I. SHORT ANSWER / IDENTIFICATIONS. [Total 26 points.]

On the designated day for this second exam, you will rely on the breadth
and depth of your absorption of the class materials in order to answer
an assortment of questions, primarily identification based. This portion
of the exam will be inflicted on you individually at the beginning of the
class period on November 20th.


II. QUOTATIONS / GROUP WORK. [Total 50 points; 5 points each.]

For the remainder of that designated day’s class time, you may work
individually or with a partner or two in order to answer mostly (but
not all) quotation-based questions: combinations of identification
and, more importantly, significance questions based on literary
quotations, images, or any other class materials. Guard yourself
and your mind: you do not need to accept any sniveling latecomer,
whom you don’t think you’ve ever seen before, asking, “Can I be
in yer group, dude?” To Hell, is your mythological answer.


III. TAKE-HOME ESSAY. [Total 24 points.]

Do this part before you take the other portions on the last day! (I
call it Part 3 because it’s the last portion I read and the culmination
of your performance in the class, not because it’s an afterthought for
you.) The essay should be an original and virtuoso piece of brilliance,
with a unified perspective and fine critical thinking, manifested in
impressive eloquence, with facile reference to specifics from the
class materials (character names, literary moments, even quotations),
and amounting to a minimum of three (3) pages, double-spaced.

One of mythology’s purposes is to provide wisdom and guidance for our
lives, inclusive of our inevitable crises and triumphs. Thus myths can
prompt important self-exploration and serve as compasses for our own
human adventures, heroic or subtle. Whether or not “we are our stories,”
each of us at least has a personal mythology that explains to ourselves
and perhaps to others who we really are. In some cultures, you may have
a birth name — the name you were given — and a mythological name —
the name you have earned, that captures your true identity.

If only for the purposes of this essay, decide upon and announce your chosen mythological name. (Some past students I came to know as The Wheel, Princess Dancing Feet, Eats-Like-A-Snake, Double-Down, Blue Iguana, Wayward Son, The Time Guy, and Q. I occasionally run into some of these students and know them only by their mythological names, and they still call me Chief Crazy Dog, as it should be.)

Next, create a short myth in story form, literal or metaphoric, that
serves to explain your name and identity: your attributes, pursuits,
and/or challenges. Be inspired by either Homer, in which case you are
probably involved in “the war” of life, or Ovid, in which case your
“story” may involve a certain primal energy or deity: love, depression,
gender, rage, etc. Or maybe you will find inspiration in some other of
our class material.

Finally, most importantly, explain. Analyze your own story to make clear
to readers the significance of the events or the implications of the
narrative: thus, the real reason for the adoption of your mythological
name. The best essays will here rise from the merely personal and
subjective, and will find ways of contextualizing your own stories amid
the goddesses, gods, and heroes; the inevitable human trials and concerns;
and the recurring themes of the semester’s materials — displaying an
authentic understanding of how mythology is truly about you.



BIG DAY: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20th.

 


SAMPLE QUESTIONS


IDENTIFICATIONS

He was Emperor during Ovid’s time.

He was the first to say that animal food should not be eaten.”

“From the moment I put them on,
I knew I had done something wrong.”

I have no instinct for power, no hunger for it either.
It isn’t royal power I want, but its advantages.”


QUOTATIONS

“a Maeonian girl, / Who, she had heard, was boasting of her talent, /
Calling it better even than Minerva’s / In spinning and weaving wool.”

Identify the author.

Who is this girl, and what happens to her?

“Often previously / Though being considered clever I have suffered
much. / A person of sense ought never to have his children / Brought
up to be more clever than the average.”

Name the character speaking and the author.

How has this character’s cleverness brought about his or her
own suffering?