Final Exam Study Guide

The ideas/themes (which have discussed in class) below are intended to help you think about the works we've read and studied this semester. Use these ideas with your notes and own ideas to think about the poems, prose, fiction, and drama we have read. Don't forget the Intro. to the Victorian Age discusses many of these ideas, along with the author bios. Also, the Queen Victoria's Empire video.  (See link on Course Notes.) This is not an all-inclusive list and does not cover every idea or work that may be on the final exam.

Focus on your notes and the texts. Write out practice responses to previous quiz questions and questions you make up. Also, review your midterm responses. Remember the quiz and midterm examples we went over in class throughout the semester. The cards/in-class group work contain your good notes. Course Notes page (website) also has info. to help you study.

**For large works, be able to discuss specific characters and specific scenes and examples.  You want to be able to go beyond general ideas.

Question types:

  1. Identifications: You will identify a passage (title of the piece) and explain its significance as well as its larger context within the work as a whole. (I will not give you obscure passages.)*
  2. Multiple choice or fill in the blank*
  3. Short Answer*
  4. **New: Longer essay question focusing on a single work or on comparing/contrasting works. Also, you will have some choices.

*1-3 are like quiz questions.

The final exam will focus on readings since the midterm, but there are carry-over works you will be responsible for.  Three Carry-Over Works: In Memoriam, On Liberty, The Strange Case . . . Mr. Hyde.

Time for midterm: approx. 1 1/4 - 1/2 hrs for thinking, planning, writing, and reviewing. You will have two hours for the exam if you wish.

Key Concepts:  Theory of the Sketch (Dickens); Separate Spheres Doctrine; Commodity Fetishism; Homosocial, Homoerotic, and Homosexual; Intertextuality; Humor and Nonsense

Below are some issues we have considered this semester. Expand on these issues and add works not listed here. Also, works might fit in more than one category.

  1. Gender:  As we discussed, women in the Victorian period often did not make equality arguments.  Rather, they asked what was the position of women in Victorian England, and what are the differences between men and women?  What issues were important for women--domesticity, education, work, independence? How was marriage viewed?  Separate spheres doctrine? And what about men?  How is masculinity defined? And are men caught up in gender definitions as women are?  Also, what attitudes reflected but also shaped ideas about gender and particularly sexuality--heterosexual and homosexual relationships? For example, are homosocial (and even homoerotic) relationships a viable alternative to the competitive marriage market (see "Work and Play" theme) and confining gender conventions (with their expecttions) for men and women?  Is homosexuality used to confirm "normal" gender roles and also to critique them?  Consider works we read this semester: e.g., the movie Wuthering Heights, "Goblin Market," "The Lady of Shalott," even Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
  2. Individualism, Society, and Democracy: Begin with Mill's (On Liberty) notion of individualism. What defines individualism in the Victorian period? Do democracies foster individualism?  What struggles and conflicts do individuals face? How does one remain an individual and belong to society? Connected to this idea are notions of liberty and freedom, defined in numerous ways. Consider, for example, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde but also Past and Present and Wilde's IBE.  Does In Memoriam fit here?
  3. What is the role of art? And the artist? Does the artist have a social responsibility or should he or she be concerned with only the art object itself?  Wilde, for example, was a proponent of the art for art's sake movement--art as an end in itself.  (See the NA, "Late Victorians," pg 1668, par 2.)  Consider "The Lady of Shalott" and Wilde's IBE.
  4. Work and Play: These two concepts are central to an understanding of the Victorian Age.  Many works we've read this semester discuss the effects of industrialization (e.g., Industrial Revolution). What is the Victorian Gospel of work?  How is work conceived of in works we've read? What are the physical demands of work as well as the mental state it produces?  Connected to this concept is social criticism of urban life and social/economic conditions of workers/Victorian citizens. How does work support the Victorian marketplace--economically (e.g., social class divisions)?  Socially (e.g., marriage)?  And what is the Victorian Gospel of Play?  What is play (as a noun)? Consider that play is the raw material of games  Is play defined by/against work?  An end in itself?  Significance of competition?  Consider "Goblin Market," "The Lady of Shalott," from The Great Towns, and "The Lotos-Eaters." Also, the Ford Madox Brown painting (NA, pg C4), Carroll's Alice, and Wilde's IBE.
  5. Poetry and poetic form/style.(**I will not ask you the scan lines of poems.**)  Consider how form and meter reinforce themes in works we have discussed. For example, "The Lady of Shalott," "Goblin Market, "The Lotos-Eaters," and even "The Jumblies."
  6. Laughing at/with the Victorians.  What is the difference between laughing at the Victorians and laughing with them?  Why are the Victorians a source of humor?  What is the role/function of humor in the nineteenth century?  Of nonsense?  (See Course Notes.) Think about Wilde's IBE, The Jumblies," and even The Pickwick Papers and Alice.  (Humor and play?)