No Fancy Name
Friday, November 10, 2006
so...there's another exam tomorrow
I've not written about this one, really, because I've been terrified of it. "Why on earth?" you may ask, since it is, after all, the stuff I am supposed to be well-versed in: the last 206 years of literature in English. I think I'm terrified precisely because of that. But hey, terror and the sublime and all that. It'll probably end up fine.

One of the reasons we (my study group) are so messed up about this exam is that the sample exam questions from years past are purposefully difficult to unpack and then once they're unpacked you have this matrix of period/geography/gender into which you have to fit your answers. For instance, once you figure out the question and the themes in poetry the question asks you to talk about, you have to pluck half your answers from the Brits, half from the Americans, a couple in the 19th C, a couple in the 20th C, and oh hey, a couple must be by women. On Monday, when our group go together to give the sample questions a shot, we couldn't fill up the matrix. For those of us who don't have the ability to memorize poetry and regurgitate it at will, these are difficult questions. If the questions are about fiction or theory, I'm cool.

So yeah, I guess I'm saying I'm still afraid of poetry. But in my defense, I feel a hell of a lot better about it than I did just three months ago. [whatever] bless Dr. Pollock's poetry seminar. Also, Mel talked me off the ledge yesterday and basically said lookit, focus. Make index cards and get those in your head for the next two days and you'll be ok. I think that's true. I think the distillation of All of Poetry into these 35 particular notecards will be enough to help jumpstart my brain once I get in the exam and have nothing but my bluebooks and a pen.

Of course, I could continue my streak of good luck and the exam could be all about American fiction from 1865-1940. I'd be cool with that...much like the GRE subject test which presented me with no less than 6 questions on Walden, 4 on Emerson, 6 on Melville, 6 on Dickinson, 6 on Paul Laurence Dunbar, and so on...

But no matter to all this stress, as I'm going to a show with my friends tonight in the city. I heartily believe it will be better for my mental health than staring at my notecards all night long. Plus, the band is appropriately literary. I think I can work "Money Made You Mean" into any discussion of economy and commodity in the 19th C. Heh.



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