Study guide: Cultural Literacy 101 Final Exam

Study guide: Cultural Literacy 101 Final Exam/English Literature Quiz
Classical mythology (this takes the place of the Hamilton handout)
a. Know the names and basic descriptions of the 12 Olympians, as follows:
1. Zeus – son of Cronus (he freed his brothers and sisters from
Cronus’s stomach); the ruler of the gods
2. Poseidon – Zeus’s brother; the ruler of the sea.
3. Hades – Zeus’ brother; the ruler of the underworld (NOT Hell)
4. Hera – Zeus’s sister, and later his long-suffering wife
5. Hestia – Zeus’s sister; the ruler of hearth and home
6. Athena – Zeus’s daughter (she sprang from his forehead); the
goddess of science + invention
7. Ares – Zeus and Hera’s son; the god of war
8. Hephaestus – Zeus and Hera’s son; the god of the forge (and the
“ugly Olympian”)
9. Aphrodite – Zeus’s daughter (at least we think so; she came
walking out of the sea); the goddess of love
10. Apollo – Zeus’s son and Artemis’s twin; the god of the sun,
music and medicine
11. Artemis – Zeus’s daughter and Apollo’s twin; the goddess of the
12. Hermes – Zeus’s son; the messenger of the gods and the god of
b. Know the three Os:
1. Orpheus – the first rock star
2. Oedipus – the first tragic hero
3. Odysseus – the first action hero
c. Know which came first: Greek or Roman mythology (the Greeks came
first, and the Romans adapted Greek myth)
d. Know what made Greek mythology different than anything that came
before it (Greek gods were depicted in human form, and were flawed just
like humans)
American history
a. Know the different presidential eras we discussed, and why we called
them what we did:
1. The Magnificent Seven
2. The Epic Fail Eight
3. Abraham Lincoln
4. The Reconstructors
5. The World Warriors
6. The Cold Warriors
7. The New World Orderers (don’t worry too much about these
b. Know the four basic questions of American history, and how three of them
changed over time:
1. Which should have the power: states or the federal
2. What should we do about slavery? (Later this question
became, What should we do about civil rights?)
3. How should we act toward Britain and France? (Later, as we
became a world power, this became, How should we act toward
everyone? Especially countries with which we were at war –
Germany, Japan – and countries which were communist – the
U.S.S.R., Korea, Cuba,Vietnam, etc.)
4. How should we expand? (At first this was just a question of
physical expansion as we moved west. Later, after we’d reached
the West Coast, it became two separate questions:
a. imports (How should we handle immigration?)
b. exports (How should we spread American values,
democracy, etc.?)
c. Know the following terms and their relevance to the four questions:
1. Nullification (specifically, the nullification crisis of 1828)
2. The Missouri Compromise
3. Compromise of 1850 (including the Fugitive Slave Act)
4. Containment/”The enemy of my enemy is my friend”
English Literature
a. Know the eras we discussed, the author we chose to represent each one,
the representative work of each author, and any other important details:
1. Old English/Beowulf/anonymous
(Remember: no one knows who wrote Beowulf. And it’s written in
Old English, which is almost impossible for us to read without a
2. Middle Ages/The Canterbury Tales/Geoffrey Chaucer
(Remember: Chaucer is thought of as the father of English
literature. The Canterbury tales were a collection of stories framed
by the device of a group of pilgrims sharing stories while on a
journey. And some of them, like “The Miller’s Tale,” were pretty
3. The Renaissance/Romeo and Juliet/William Shakespeare
(Remember: Shakespeare really existed, and in all likelihood, wrote
was he’s credited with writing. He was a playwright and poet, and
took the former very seriously, helping found the first theater
designed from an actor’s point of view. His best-known work is
arguably Romeo and Juliet, from which we get sayings as “What’s in
a name?” and “parting is such sweet sorrow,” but his big four
tragedies are Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth.)
4. The 18th century/The Life of Samuel Johnson/ Samuel
(Remember: the work for which Johnson is best known is probably
his biography, written by his young Scottish protégé, James Boswell.
Boswell was the first celebrity biographer, and that included making
his subject look good when possible. Otherwise, Dr. Johnson is
remembered for his Dictionary, his literary criticism, and his many
famous aphorisms (like “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”)
5. The Romantics/”The World Is Too Much With Us”/William
(Remember: As England became more industrialized, the Romantics,
which also included Byron, Shelley and Coleridge, were nostalgic
for the importance of the individual, and man’s connection to nature.
Their arch-enemies were the Utilitarians, who believed in the power
of the state.)
6. The Victorian Era/A Christmas Carol/Charles Dickens
(Remember: this is where much of what we think of as modern
literature begins. The novel takes off, and poetry dies out,
commercially at least. Serialized novels become popular and let the
public play a bigger role in how literature is written – Dickens
noticed. He created almost 1,000 characters, including some, like
Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Jacob Marley, Oliver Twist and David
Copperfield, that have taken on lives of their own.
7. The Americans/Leaves of Grass/Walt Whitman
(Remember: during the era of the Reconstructors – roughly 1865 to
1913 -- American literature finally comes into its own. And no one is
more American than Whitman, who pioneers the use of free verse;
celebrates the common man and his own individuality; and keeps
revising the same single book of poems throughout his life.)
8. The Modernists/”The Waste Land”/T.S. Eliot
(Remember: Darwinism is on the rise. Queen Victoria is dead.
Tradition is being discarded right and left. The Modernists follow
three main rules: Make it new. Make it difficult. Make it global. T.S.
Eliot uses all three in creating “The Waste Land,” a long, dense
poem about the new freedom and its discontents.
9. The Post-Modernists/The Catcher in the Rye/J.D. Salinger
(Remember: Well, all that freedom the modernists enjoyed didn’t
work out too well. It turned out that maybe history wasn’t the story
of progress after all: people were promised absolute freedom from
all the old traditions, and what they got instead were two world wars
that were devastating and brutal on a scale never seen in human
history. People are confused, feeling betrayed and alienated, and that
comes through in characters like Holden Caulfield, who’s as neurotic
and mixed-up as they come.)