American Literature I
American Literature to 1700
For this exam you may use your books or any other print or electronic resources at your disposal.
However, DO NOT collaborate with others in the class or get help from anyone else. This exam is to be a
reflection of your thoughts, not those of someone else. For each of the five questions, select ONE of the
options and answer the selection completely. Explain your answer clearly, and support your answers by
providing relevant examples from the works covered. Ensure that you make the connection between your
answers and the works studied as clear as possible, demonstrating that you have achieved mastery of the
material. Please clearly identify which question you are answering.
It is likely that you will use outside sources to formulate your responses, so you must ensure that all
resources cited in your answers are correctly documented, using the appropriate MLA parenthetical
citation form. Failure to cite your references completely and correctly constitutes plagiarism and will be
treated accordingly. If you use outside sources you must provide a Works Cited page at the end of your
exam (not at the end of each question). Only one such page is necessary.
Please take time to ensure that your responses are well written, grammatically correct, and not misspelled.
While I will not deduct points directly for errors in grammar, mechanics, punctuation, or spelling, the
quality of your writing will have an effect on your grade. Good writing is ALWAYS important. If you
don’t take the time and make the effort to produce a thoughtful, well-written document, you are showing
disrespect for yourself and for your audience. I encourage you to avail yourself of the writing resources
available to you as a RSCC student. Make an appointment with a tutor at the Learning Center as you are
formulating your responses. Send a draft of your answers to Smarthinking for evaluation (of your writing,
not your answers). Visit the Roane State OWL (Online Writing Lab) for questions when no other
resources are available.
Your answers should demonstrate an appropriate amount of work. Short, incomplete, and inaccurate
responses will be dealt with harshly. Proofread your answers carefully, ensuring that you have answered
the question being asked. If you don’t understand a question or need further clarification, please contact
me ASAP. The exam is due on Tuesday, October 27.
Your exam must be saved as a Microsoft Word document (i.e., .doc or .docx) and attached to an email
sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by the due date.
I. Historical Overview. Answer one of the following:
A. Discuss the motivations of the earliest explorers of the Americas. How did their
motivations affect their writings?
B. Using illustrations from the explorers we have read, illustrate the European concept of
ethnocentric behavior in regard to Native Americans.
C. Employing any of the Puritan writings, explain why they came to America. Be sure to
include the major religious reasons.
II. Native American Literature. Answer one of the following:
A. Discuss the central themes and purposes of Native American literature through an
examination of at least two representative samples.
B. Using two trickster tales, illustrate their etiological function.
C. Compare/contrast Native American creation myths with the account of creation in
III. Puritans Part 1. Answer one of the following:
A. Illustrate pagan themes developed by Morton in “The Incident at Merry Mount.”
B. Discuss whether or not you believe Wigglesworth’s “The Day of Doom,” is an accurate
portrayal of the Christian apocalypse.
C. Illustrate the conflict in Anne Bradstreet’s “The Flesh and the Spirit.” Be sure to focus
on the concept of an earthly paradise or reward as contrasted with a “heavenly” paradise or
reward in the Judeo-Christian belief system.
IV. Puritans Part 2. Answer one of the following:
A. What was the motivation underlying the writings of Bradford and Winthrop? Were their
texts intended to be viewed by others?
B. What was Calvinism? How is it reflected in any of the works we have read or
C. What were some of the disputes that the Puritans had with the Church of England? Can
you see any of these disputes in the works we have read or discussed?
V. Puritans, cont. Answer one of the following:
A. Compare the poetry of Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor, and argue in favor of one
or the other as the better poet. Be sure to defend your answer.
B. What was the motivation behind Cotton Mather’s The Wonders of the Invisible World?
C. Who do you think was the best of the Puritan writers? Defend your answer.