Writing 121: Final Exam

Critique at least six of the readings assigned during this advanced creative nonfiction course, explaining in detail which you liked best and why, and which you liked least and why. You may choose to focus on Chuck Palahniuk: discuss in depth six different readings by him, with an eye toward exploring what you like and/or dislike in his work (and perhaps, by extension, contemporary minimalist writing generally). Alternatively, you may choose pieces by six different writers, such as Palahniuk, Lamott, Iyer, McPhee, and so forth, comparing and contrasting the qualities you find positive and not-so-positive in each. Also, feel free to discuss any pieces that were included in the reader but not assigned as journal readings.

In addition to the analysis suggested above, you should explain how any or all of these readings contributed to your growth as a writer of creative nonfiction specifically, and as a writer generally. Additionally, feel free to submit a creative nonfictional reading that isn't in the current course reader, one that you've run across in your literary pursuits. Explain why you like it, discuss the themes it raises, point out any flaws you think it has, and convince me that it should be included in future generations of the Writing 121 reader, in place of your least favorite readings in the current reader/text. This is not required as part of the final and won't necessarily raise your grade, but it's always much appreciated by me!

Finally, a note about form: since this is a creative nonfiction course, this exam should take a creative nonfictional form, with personal essay-like features, perhaps including segments, memoir-like asides, prose-poetic ramblings, and so forth, while still addressing the topic(s) in a rigorous and focused way ... a challenging but ultimately satisfying literary dance.

You will have the whole class period to complete the exam, which is open-book, open-note; if you use any preparatory materials, please fold them inside the Blue Book.


Revised 8/15/05 MP