Suggestions in Preparing for the First Exam

  • Part I: Matching. I will be asking you to match a quotation from a speech with the speaker who voiced it.
  • To study: Obviously you cannot memorize all speeches. But no need to. There are a number of cues available to you including subject matter, style of speaking, motivational quality, attitude toward authority and so on. Know these for each of the speakers. I should also tell you that I will not be picking obscure passages either, but typical passages. So as you go through the speeches, ask yourself which characteristics seem typical to you.

  • Part II: Identification of Speaking Tradition. I will provide you some characteristics and you will need to indicate whether they were characteristic of Puritan discourse, discourse of frontier Virginia, discourse of the revolution, or the early national community.
  • To study: I recommend you make charts comparing and contrasting the characteristics of the discourse of the various communities. This chart should include things we have talked about in class but also your own observations from your reading. You have a list of characteristics that we are asking about each community. Use it and ask those questions about each community.

  • Part III: Multiple Choice. Information seeking questions. One further note: during lectures and discussion about each community I tried to place you into that community. This course is not about the community itself, but about the public life and the speaking in the community. My questions will be about these things and characteristics of their lives that impact on those. I will not ask you about general questions about characteristics that do not relate to their speaking, for example, their diet.
  • To study: Read the commentaries and the speeches in the book. Go over your class notes. Understand the characteristics of speaking in the communities. Also review the material on our objectives and methods in the course.

    To study: Added to the strategies on Part III is the need to talk about the speeches you have read using the knowledge that you have learned. Go over your abstracts. If you have done them well they do what these type questions ask you to do. If you are studying with others, ask each other questions about how particular speeches do or do not succeed in meeting their objectives.

  • Part V: Generate Discourse. I will give you some situations and ask you to generate discourse you might have heard in those situations. These will evaluate your mastery of the motivational quality of discourse as well as the typical style.
  • To study: No substitute for giving speeches to another student from the class and let them tell you how you sound. Create situations from those that were typical in each culture. As you read the discourse of speakers, study it with an eye toward using its style and motivational quality in new situations.

  • Part VI: Extra Credit. I will be giving you a section of a speech to reproduce for me. Although I will specify the section to reproduce, I will give you a memorable section from a memorable speech.
  • To study: Begin by selecting the possibilities from the discourse you have read. What passages are memorable as great examples of American speaking. When you isolate these sections, memorize them.

    Overall: My objective is to have you know the discourse of each community thoroughly enough that you can identify it with that community, hear it as if you were a member of the community, and reproduce it so it would fit into the general flow of discourse is that community. If you can do so, you will do well on the exam.

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