Sample Questions for Midterm

Part I: Multiple Choice

_____ 1. Which of the following best describes the relationship of words and things as we will study it: (a) words represent things; (b) words allow us to incorporate events into our experience by understanding them, establishing an attitude toward them, and locating a response to them; (c) we know when we have used the correct term because those with whom we are communicating nod their understanding; (d) words don't mean, people do.

Part II: Fill in the Blank

What are the modes of communication through which we construct social order (for example, the use of symbolic names to give identity to the community):

2. ______________________________________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________________________________

4. ______________________________________________________________________________

5. ______________________________________________________________________________

Part III: Definitions

6. Briefly define "symbolic motive"

Part IV: Short Answer

7. Write a short paragraph in which you use the metaphor "healthy" to describe your attitude toward this course. Then, go back and underline the words that are drawn from the health metaphor.

8. Briefly contrast the referential and the constuctivist theories for explaining the relationship of word and thing.

9. John Dewey wrote, "A motive does not exist prior to an act and produce it. It is an act plus a judgment upon some element of it, the judgment being made in the light of the consequences of the act.” What is the reorientation to act that Dewey is encouraging us to make? How does this change relate to our understanding of symbolic motive?

Part V: Analyzing Symbolic Motives

10. Analyze the symbolic motive in the following piece of rhetoric. Is it clear who the rhetoric is attempting to motivate? What community is the rhetoric's motive to? What words or symbols in the rhetoric are keys in constituting the motive? How do they function to describe, evaluate, and motivate? What action is entailed in this motive?

"This week, I asked Congress to schedule a final vote on reform that will give families and businesses more control over their health care by holding insurance companies more accountable. . . The insurance companies aren’t starting over. I just met with some of them on Thursday and they couldn’t give me a straight answer as to why they keep arbitrarily and massively raising premiums – by as much as 60% in states like Illinois. If we do not act, they will continue to do this. They will continue to drop people’s coverage when they need it. They will continue to refuse coverage based on pre-existing conditions. These practices will continue." Barack Obama, March 6, 2010.

Return to the COMM 453 Home Page