I took my modern exam yesterday, and I was really surprised with the exam.
First of all, they changed the format of the exam, something that I wasn't expecting them to do and something that they hadn't done for at least 7 years, from what I can tell from old exams.
In preparing for exams, I prepared myself to answer in the fashioned that I described below: 4 short answers comprising about 1 hour total, betwen 1/2 to 3/4 of a page each, followed up with 2 long answers, each being about 1 hour.
So, they pulled a fast one on me, getting me to read that whole entire huge list because I was really nervous for the short questions (the long questions too, but especially the short questions for some reason), and they got rid of the short questions!
I was left with answering 3 long questions, the first being a pair of two questions and choosing one, and then choosing two out of a group of four.
The choices were, basically (I won't write out the whole questions because I don't think that anyone actually reads this blog and even if they do, I don't want to completely bore you):
A. women or partisan's in Calvino's Sentiero dei nidi di ragno
B. Discuss the malessere of Zeno and his triumphs and/or defeats.
A. Pirandello's use of the play-within-a-play in Sei personaggi...
B. Discuss Ungaretti's L'allegria as "lirica nuova".
C. Discuss Visconti's Ossessione as an anticipation of neorealism.
D. Compare and contrast Croce's idealism to Gramsci's marxism.
The first choices surprised me because I thought that Calvino wouldn't come up on this exam since I'm writing my special topic exam on him (tomorrow--ugh) and we just completed a class on Calvino. And Zeno is such a huge milestone on the list, I thought that it would at least be one of his other works. Needless to say, I was happy to choose option B, because I love Svevo and his malessere for all it is!
The second four choices honestly surprised me even more, because I couldn't believe that Pirandello's Sei personaggi actually came up. I mean, I'm thrilled it did because, well, it's awesome, well-known, and there's plenty to say about it. And Ossessione? Really? Again, plenty to say about it. So those were the two questions I answered, but not just because I had plenty to say, but when you look at the other two options, HELLO! Ungaretti? Poetry? My biggest fear--skip! Croce and Gramsci? The other part of my worst nightmare? Theory? No brainer! Skip!
If my professors are reading this blog, I promise I'm working really hard on finishing up my preparations for Prelim #2 this week, and I'm really looking forward to starting my dissertation even more. I'm pretty sure they aren't reading it, since I'm pretty sure that no one is. But still.
But for now, Thank you. Thank you for throwing all of us a bone.