Study Questions: FYS section
7, Mid-term Exam
NOTE: Two or three actual exam questions
will be chosen from these (possibly slightly modified). If you
can answer these clearly, accurately, and reasonably fully, you
should be well prepared for the exam. Feel free to study with
others in the course and to discuss possible answers with each
- How is identity and self-concept influenced by family structure
and family relationships? Use examples from at least three films
and/or readings to support your answer.
- The poem "Curiosity" describes two different approaches
to risk-taking - the "cat" and "dog" approaches.
How can willingness or reluctance to take risks affect one's identity?
Use three different films and/or readings to support your answer.
- "Tom Wolfe was right. You can never go home again, because
home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory."
-John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley. Do you agree with
Steinbeck and Wolfe? Why or why not? Explain your answer in a
carefully reasoned and organized essay that draws upon the arguments
and perspectives of at least three of the authors we've read so
- What as you see it are the most important identity issues
that first year students face? Give 35 examples from the
films and/or readings, and interpret these examples using one
of the identity development schemes we have discussed (such as
, Erikson, Perry, Marcia).
- Drawing on films and readings from the text, discuss the relationship
between education and identity. (For example: "Everyday Use"
(Walker), "The Cave, (Plato), Erikson and Marcia (discussed
in McMartin and Forisha-Kovach, "Dust Angels" (Stoller))
- Write a careful, thorough summary of one of these identity
development schemes: Erikson or Perry.
- Virginia Stoller writes in "Dust Angels" that "traveling
back and forth from one community to another can be dangerous"
(198). Such a tension is one that many college students face.
Discuss the difficulties of maintaining ties both with home/family
and with a community away from home. Draw on three of the following
essays, stories or films: A River Runs Through It, Walker's
"Everyday Use," Stoller's "Dust Angels," Plato's
"The Cave," Joyce Carol Oates' "Theft."
- Explain Marcia's four identity statuses. Use at least three
of the following characters as illustrations: (a) the "cat"
and "dog" type of personalities described in Alastair
Reed's Curiosity, (b) the residents of Plato's The Cave,
(c) Peter in Swing Kids, (d) Marya in Theft,
(e) the narrator of Amy Tan's Two Kinds.
- Imagine a college student who (unlike you!) is not willing
to take any unnecessary risks in college. You want to give that
student some advice. What would you tell her? What kinds of risks
should he take? Which kinds should she avoid? What might this
student miss if he or she takes no risks? (Hint: since you have
only been at college for four weeks, your imaginary student may
ask why you think you are in a position to give advice! To be
convincing you must provide evidence from at least three examples
of the poetry, films, stories, and articles you have encountered
- Some people seem to develop their identities
mainly by "differentiating" themselves from their parents,
home community, church, etc., while others seem to develop their
identities mainly by "identification" with these --
and still others clearly do some of both. Show how this works
by choosing one character from a film we have seen, another character
from a work of poetry or fiction, and still another from a non-fiction
work (three in all!). Compare the ways that these characters formed
their identities through some combination of differentiation and
identification. Can you relate to any of these people in a special
- The students in Joyce Carol Oates' story
Theft engaged in various kinds of unhealthy behavior. Identify
three to five of these behaviors and explain why you think they
developed, what the consequences are, and how students engaged
in such behaviors might break out of these behavioral patterns
to develop new ones.
- Thomas and Peter in Swing Kids attempt to be "HJ's
by day, Swing Kids by night." Using them and authors or characters
from at least two other works we have studied as examples, discuss
the challenges and results of trying to live out conflicting roles
or identities. Other suggestions: Marya and Imogene in "Theft,"
Paul in A River Runs Through It, Virginia Stoller in Dust