Senior Exercise for English Majors
In order to meet the college-wide requirement of a senior exercise, the English Department requires its majors both to take an examination based on a set reading list and to write either a nine- to twelve-page critical essay or a creative project of similar length and scope.
The English Department regards the examination and critical essay or creative project as equally important. Students will PASS the senior exercise only if they pass both parts. Students will be awarded DISTINCTION on the senior exercise only if the letter grades that would have been awarded to the examination and critical essay or creative project would average to at least an A-.
PART I: THE EXAMINATION
Every English major will take an examination based, in 2013, on the following reading list.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice.
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine.
Gay, John. Beggar's Opera.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter.
Joyce, James. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Milton, John. "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity," "On Shakespeare," "L'Allegro," "Il Penseroso," "Lycidas," "How Soon Hath Time," "On The New Forcers of Conscience Under the Long Parliament," "To The Lord General Cromwell, May 1652," "When I Consider How My Light Is Spent," "On the Late Massacre in Piedmont," and "Methought I Saw My Late Espouséd Saint."
Prince, Mary. The History of Mary Prince.
Rich, Adrienne. "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers," "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law," "Orion," "Planetarium," "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning," "Diving into the Wreck," "Grandmothers," "Yom Kippur 1984," "Twenty-One Love Poems," "XIII (Dedications)" (from the longer poem "An Atlas").
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth.
Spenser, Edmund. "Epithalamion" and Sonnets from "Amoretti": 1, 23, 28, 29, 30, 34, 37, 43, 54, 67, 71, 74, 75 and 89.
Wharton, Edith. The House of Mirth.
Williams, William Carlos. "Spring and All" ("By the road to the contagious hospital"), "The Rose" ("The rose is obsolete"), "The Right of Way" ("In passing with my mind"), "To Elsie" ("The pure products of America go crazy"), "The Red Wheelbarrow" ("So much depends upon"), "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus," "The Dance," "The Great Figure," "Smell," "To A Poor Old Woman," "A Sort of a Song."
**Since this reading list is short, students can expect that the examination will test their knowledge of each and every work, including the lyric poems.
Examination Date: TBA
9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Short-answer, identifications, short essay
1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Extended essay on a lyric poem
The examination will be given on Saturday, March 26, 2011, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The two-hour morning examination will consist of short-answer questions, and will additionally ask for identifications of and brief commentary on passages reproduced from works on the reading list. At the beginning of the afternoon examination (at 1:30 p.m.), you will be given several lyric poems from the reading list, and you will be asked to write an essay analyzing one of them. You must pass both parts of the examination in order to pass the senior exercise in English. Students who fail either part of the exam will need to retake that part (with different short-answer questions and passages to identify, or with different lyric poems).
PART II: THE CRITICAL ESSAY OR CREATIVE PROJECT
In addition to taking the examination, every English major must also submit a 9- to 12-page critical essay or a creative project of comparable length and scope. Only those students who have met the requirements for the Emphasis in Creative Writing will be permitted to submit creative work in partial fulfillment of the senior exercise in English. Those who submit creative projects may include, in addition to the creative work, a brief introduction or afterword providing a critical framework for the project. The creative project should exhibit thematic coherence and formal deliberateness and control. For the critical essay, the student must devise a clearly defined and well-focused project--appropriately limited to a 9-12 page scope--which may explore a particular critical perspective, theoretical approach, research problem, or interpretive question; it may focus on a single text or on two or three texts. Student work on the critical essay or project should be undertaken and completed independently.
Essay/Creative Project proposal due: TBA, 4 p.m.
102 Lentz House
Each student must submit to the Chair of the English Department, by Friday, September 24, 2010, before 4 p.m., a one-page proposal which, for the critical essay, describes the author(s), work(s), and critical, theoretical, or interpretive questions to be discussed or, for the creative project, describes the nature of the creative work to be undertaken. Students proposing a creative project must include with the proposal a list of creative writing courses they have taken, including names of professors and dates of courses. The opportunity to submit a creative project is open only to those completing a Creative Writing Emphasis and, indeed, is a requirement for the Emphasis. A Department committee will evaluate the proposals to ensure that they are appropriate for a culminating exercise in the English major at Kenyon.
Essay/Creative Project due: TBA, 4:00 p.m.
102 Lentz House
Two error-free copies of the final essay or creative project are due before 4 p.m. on Monday, January 31, 2011. Along with the completed 9-12 page essay or the creative project, the student should submit a brief account of the genesis of the essay/project, explaining why this piece of work is an appropriate culmination to his or her English major. In most cases, a substantial paragraph will provide sufficient explanation. For guidance or gender-inclusive language, grammar, punctuation, and the proper citation of sources, as well as stylistic suggestions, students should consult MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, ed. Joseph Gibaldi, 5th ed. Any and all late submissions will be penalized by the equivalent of a full letter-grade deduction for each 4 p.m. deadline that passes until the work is submitted. If the department believes that it would be useful to arrange an oral examination to clarify the evaluation of the essay, it reserves the right to do so.
A failure to produce a satisfactory essay (provided that an essay of the required length has been submitted), will necessitate a make-up examination based on the topic of the student's essay, to be scheduled individually. A student who fails to complete a creative project satisfactorily will have the entire responsibility of proposing some way of remedying this failure, pending the department's approval; in turn, the student must meet the demands of the remedy she or he has proposed, to the department's satisfaction.