ENGLISH III – SPRING SEMESTER FINAL EXAM
For this final exam you are writing three essay-style responses. You must choose and respond to
one essay prompt in each category. Each response should be written on a separate piece of
notebook paper. You may use your novels in order to provide text evidence and specifics from each
work to support your ideas. PROOFREAD your work before turning it in.
CATEGORY ONE: THE GREAT GATSBY BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD – Choose one of the
following prompts and respond to it in a well-developed essay.
1. Discuss the title of the novel, The Great Gatsby. In what ways is Gatsby “great”? Do you agree or
disagree with qualifying him this way? Why?
2. Corruption of people and society is one of the themes in The Great Gatsby. What character(s) may be
said to be corrupt and why? How is corruption related to the setting and Gatsby’s dream (Daisy)?
3. What makes The Great Gatsby a classic novel? Why has it maintained its place in American literature?
CATEGORY TWO: CHOICE NOVELS – Choose one of the prompts related to the novel your
read with your literature circle during the last weeks and respond to it in a well-developed essay.
From The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
1. The Catcher in the Rye is frequently subject to censorship efforts in public schools and libraries.
Why do you think this is the case? How might you defend the book against efforts to remove it from
schools? One teacher in favor of teaching the novel stated, “These people are being just like Holden.
They are trying to be catchers in the rye.” What does this teacher mean?
2. In The Catcher in the Rye, it seems as if Holden is searching for something throughout the course of
the novel. Some might argue that he is trying to find comfort and love from others. Using examples
from the text and your life experiences, state and defend your view of what Holden was searching
for and what you think might have given him true peace and comfort.
From The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
1. In The Bell Jar there are several recurring images in the novel, such as the bell jar, the dead baby,
and the fig tree. Select one of these images and trace its occurrence from the beginning of the novel
to the end, describing how its meaning evolves.
2. In The Bell Jar, when Esther tells Dr. Nolan that she hates her mother, Dr. Nolan interprets this
statement as a breakthrough in Esther’s recovery. What role does Esther’s mother play in her
insanity? What does Esther’s attitude toward her mother tell us about Esther herself?
From Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
1. Critics have often called Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five is one of the greatest anti-war
novels ever written. How does Vonnegut develop the anti-war theme throughout the novel? Is
Vonnegut successful in communicating his purpose?
2. In Slaughterhouse Five, is the character of Billy Pilgrim sane or insane? Discuss Billy’s psychology
and how the Tralfamadorians fit into his sane or insane view of the world. Is Billy’s sanity integral
to interpreting the meaning of the novel?
From In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
1. Discuss the significance of the title In Cold Blood. To what is Capote referring with the title and
where does he refer to the title in the novel? How does it relate to the novel’s characters and plot?
Do you think there is a better title embedded in the piece? If so, what and why? If not, why is In
Cold Blood the best title for the book?
2. In the novel, In Cold Blood, Perry finally apologizes for the crime just before he is hanged; however,
critical accounts suggest that Capote embellished this part of the novel for dramatic effect; they
claim the real Perry said nothing of the sort. What do you make of this apology? Discuss why
Capote might have invented it. Is it faithful to the representation of Perry that the book has crafted
up to this point? Does the fact that Capote embellished Perry's character in this way cast doubt on
the story as a whole?
From I know Why the Caged Bid Sings by Maya Angelou
1. In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is Angelou a reliable narrator? To what extent does her own
memory seem to distort her narrative? How would the significance of the work be different if it were
2. In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which characters serve as positive role models for Maya
Angelou? Why are these relationships positive and what effect did they have on her growing up?
Furthermore, how does Maya come to her conclusions about the strength of black women?
CATEGORY THREE – END OF THE YEAR REFLECTION – Respond to the following prompt
in a well-developed essay
1. Reflect on your experience in your junior year of high school. Overall, was it a successful year in
your academic career? Why or why not? What did you learn about yourself as a student and a person
outside of the classroom? What goals did you accomplish this year? What obstacles or failures did
you have to overcome? What are you looking forward to about your senior year? Do you think you
are ready and prepared to graduate from high school in one more year?
*When you’re done writing all three essays, please PROOFREAD before turning them in. Make sure
your name and class period are on each essay.*
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!