Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Mythology Final Exam — Summer 2020

Summer 2020 — Delahoyde
Washington State University



BIG DAY: THURSDAY, JULY 30th, 10:30-11:45am.

Your last significant obligations to this course will be an exam and an essay, similar to the midterm. Exam questions and answers will concern only the works covered from after the midterm exam through the end of the semester: remind yourself by reviewing the syllabus, but that means the Greek plays and Metamorphoses, through Lucrece and the other mythological materials such as love, lycanthropy, red shoes, the Shakespeare authorship, and monsters during these last several weeks. (For streamlined studying, my web pages on Ovid highlight with asterisks the stories and characters you should recognize; do not worry about the others.) Here is the plan for the last exam.

I. IDENTIFICATIONS. [Total 20 points = 10 questions, 2 points each.]

On the designated day for this second exam — Thursday, July 30th, by 10:30am — you will receive from me an e-mail containing identification questions similar to those on the midterm exam. Attached will be a Word document with the same questions, so that you can type the answers in whichever mode is safest and preferable to you.

II. QUOTATIONS. [Total 40 points = 8 questions, 5 points each.]

The same e-mail/document will contain bigger questions, mostly (but not all) quotation-based: combinations of identification and, more importantly, significance questions based on literary quotations, images, or any other class materials. You should plan to e-mail your completed
exam back to me by 11:45am. You may work in coordinated cooperation with another member of the class, in which case only one of you should e-mail back to me with other name designated.

III. ESSAY. [Total 40 points.]

Plan to submit this essay on Friday, July 31st, by 12:00 noon, as a separate Word document to a designated space on Blackboard. The essay should be an original and virtuoso piece of original brilliance manifested in impressive eloquence, perhaps with facile reference to concepts or even specifics from the class materials (themes, character names, literary moments, even quotations or paraphrases), 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 one of these students and know him or her only by the mythological name, and they all 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. This story does not have to be an archetypal hero’s journey, but the mythological you, or an aspect of you, should be the main character; and the episode, even if fictional or fantastical, should have an authentic center: it should have something to do with an aspect of your life that matters. Any gods, goddesses, characters, obstacles, etc. are welcome as metaphorical representations.

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 above 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.

EXAM DAY: THURSDAY, JULY 30th, 10:30-11:45am.
ESSAY DUE: FRIDAY, JULY 31st, 12:00 noon.