TAKE-HOME EXAM INSTRUCTIONS … AND QUESTION
The take-home exam is an opportunity for you to show how well you have understood the concepts and issues of the course materials and how well you can combine and extend their discussions into a variety of different contexts. This ability is an essential aspect of what in John B. Biggs’s and Kevin Collis’s famous SOLO-taxonomy is called the “relational” and “extended abstract” levels of learning. In this document, you can learn more about the SOLO taxonomy and its usefulness to make higher education assignments. For this exam, I will focus my grading of your papers on what is labeled the “relational” and “extended abstract” levels of learning.
Your description, explanation, and reflective discussion of the affordances of form do not necessarily have to be “right,” in a strict, scholarly sense. However, your comments need to be carefully argued and supplied with textual evidence, and, very importantly, your relational reasoning needs to be YOUR RELATION TO THE TEXTS THAT YOU DISCUSS. So, do not write things you do not understand yourself. Be in charge of your argument, even if it is not “correct” in the strict sense of that word.
Conceptual requirements for the take-home exam:
The exam must advance arguments; it must try to make a case for a particular way of reading and understanding the material in question.
Here is some general advice:
• Do not summarize the novel; no retelling of the action!
• Make your take-home exam into an answer to the specific question raised by the exam.
• Avoid jargon and make sure to make explicit the authors’ use of the terms you are discussing. Such clarity will take up space in your text. You will be surprised how quickly you will have a lot of text.
• Avoid summary comparison. Show differences as well as similarities in any comparisons you make.
• Do not be afraid to make qualifications, even when they seemingly weaken your argument (they never do).
• Avoid merely repeating what I said in lectures and at seminars. Do not quote my classes as sources, i.e., do not reference me as a source for your exam—use the course literature to make your points.
• Always support your arguments with specific details from the relevant texts you are discussing.
• Keep a copy of your take-home exam just in case.
REFERENCE YOUR SOURCES CAREFULLY AND PROPERLY. Those of you who are uncertain about referencing are urged to check MLA, for example, at the Online writing lab at Purdue University. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ (Links to an external site.) for MLA. Remember that regular rules of plagiarism apply and that we use URKUND in our grading of the take-home exam. See more about this at https://www.urkund.com/student/ (Links to an external site.).
Take-home exams must be uploaded in Canvas and will be automatically emailed to URKUND. Since this is an automated process, there is no additional intervention need from you.
The following file formats are recognized by URKUND and can be used for this paper: .doc .docx .pdf
Take-Home exam length: 1500 to 2000 words (in double-spaced, 12 points, New Times Roman, it amounts to 6 – 8 pages.
TAKE HOME EXAM QUESTION:
Firstly, pick what you consider to be essential passages—one or two key moments—in Richard Powers’s The Overstory, and begin to untangle the scenes/passages through the discussion of form available in Levine’s Forms. Limit your discussion to two different forms. After selecting the passage and form, start describing the passage you’ve chosen. Introduce the form by quoting Levine’s argument , and make it a point of departure for your analysis of the selected passage/scene. Work out how the form you’ve chosen affords meaning in the key passage(s) you have selected.
You do not have to limit yourself to one key passage, but it is perfectly fine to stay with only one passage for your analysis. However, you do need to process your analysis through two forms (two out of the four: whole, rhythm, hierarchy, network).
This part of the exam is worth 20 points.
Secondly, in your discussion, reference at least one of the articles and excerpts we have read alongside Forms. Make sure that you quote the text correctly and that you explain its relevance for your argument.
This part of the exam is worth 10 points.
Thirdly, try to move to the extended abstract level of the SOLO taxonomy mentioned above. Do this by referencing what Levine calls a “political reading.” Here is how Levine expresses it:
“Is this what critics do? Do we spin out implied stories in which new forms take shape beyond a narrative’s end? This probably does not sound like our usual account of literary reading, but I want to suggest, in closing, that most politically minded critics do precisely this. They attend to the political forms within the text in order to generalize them beyond the text’s own example, extending the political ordering principles that are at work in the text to understand its implied rules for ordering the extra-textual world. It is the portability of political form that permits these readings to happen at all, and it is our own ideas about how these forms operate in the world that guide or govern our assessment of the politics of literary texts. This means that acts of political reading routinely rely on implicit models of the plausible unfolding of forms” (110).
Here you have a chance to provide your own informed opinion about the political, social, or cultural relevance of the passage you have been working on.
This part of the exam is worth 10 points.
Good luck to you all, and remember: