Quizzes

INTRODUCTION

Take-home quizzes on thematic and cinematic trends will be due after each of our four primary units. Past experience suggests that these quizzes are preferable to in-class exams, which encourage short-term cramming versus longer-term deep thinking.

Quizzes must be completed and submitted by the specified date via email. Please follow the formatting guidelines.


CONTENT & GOALS

Quizzes will require you to re-read or review key written and screen texts as well as your notes, in order to respond to short questions. The questions themselves will address such topics as

  • The film and television industry.
  • Cinematic genres and techniques.
  • Modes of presenting classical myth.
  • Themes of a particular unit.

Quizzes are open-everything: screen texts, primary and secondary readings, the textbook, supplemental research, your notes, and our archived class sessions.

The preceding is simply a definition of “open-everything”; it does NOT mean that you will need to consult all of these resources in order to complete the quizzes. That said, you should cite whatever you consult. (See below, under Formatting.)

The quizzes will emphasize fluency and competency in our various approaches to mythological screen texts. Most answers to the questions will require no more than one or two paragraphs of solid writing. “Solid” here means thoughtful and organized, the result of more than one draft, but not necessarily polished-to-perfection. And “paragraph” means 6–10 sentences, most of which ought to contain more than one clause.

The overall goal of the quizzes is to provide an opportunity to check in with the course material — that is, to say something definitive about it before moving on to the next unit. Furthermore, writing about screen texts is good practice for the Semester Project.


FORMATTING

Although it might seem the most trifling aspect of the quizzes, proper formatting is very important. For one thing, it signals an organized approach to all of the media this class brings together. For another, it provides additional preparation for the Semester Project, which requires similar formatting and organization.

Be sure to give yourself enough time to format the body of your quiz, your citations, and your filmography, and your bibliography. The last two require attention to detail, so best not to rush.


General. Please be sure that your quizzes have

  • Standard 12-point fonts, such as Times or Calibri.
  • Double-spacing.
  • 1.25-inch margins.
  • Numbered pages.
  • PDF formatting — no Word documents or other file formats.
  • Your name and date on the first page.
  • Properly cited primary or secondary sources.
  • A filmography and bibliography.

Citations. In-line (that is, parenthetical) citations of primary and secondary sources are preferred. Here are some examples (ask your instructor if they don’t make sense or if you think you have an unusual case).

  • Film
    (Name of Film, hh:mm:ss)
    (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, 01:35:23)
  • TV show
    (Name of Show, Episode series-number.episode-number, “Title of Episode,” hh:mm:ss)
    (Troy: Fall of a City, Episode 1.1, “Black Blood,” 00:23:45)
  • Ancient poet
    (Name, Work book-number.line-number)
    (Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.35)
  • Ancient historian
    (Name, Work [book-number.]chapter-number) (sometimes the book number is optional)
    (Plutarch, Life of Theseus 23)
  • Essay, Article or Book
    (Author last name YYYY, page-number)
    (Rankine 2013, 54)
  • Web content
    (Author last name YYYY)
    (Haley 2020)

NOTE: Some parenthetical information, such as the title of a film, can be omitted to suit the context. For example, if you’re clearly talking about Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, there’s no need to include the film title in parentheses; just the timestamp will do.

NOTE: The above examples indicate the starting point of a sequence, but not necessarily the endpoint of one. If what you’re citing needs an endpoint, then provide an additional timestamp, line number, chapter number or page number as appropriate. Use an “en-dash” (–) rather than a hyphen (-) if you want to come fully correct.


Filmography & Bibliography. Place these at the end of your quiz as separate lists. Study and follow these examples.

  • Feature film
    300 (2007). Directed by Zack Snyder. Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
  • TV Series
    Troy: Fall of A City (2018). Created by David Farr. BBC One/Netflix.
  • Translated ancient source
    Ovid (2005). Metamorphoses. Translated by Charles Martin. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Single-authored book
    Cyrino, Monica S. (2005). Big Screen Rome. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Edited book
    Winkler, Martin M. ed. (2004). Gladiator: Film and History. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Journal article
    Winkler, Martin M. (1995). “Cinema and the Fall of Rome.” Transactions of the American Philological Association 125: 135–54.
  • Chapter in an edited volume
    Cyrino, Monica S. (2004). “Gladiator and Contemporary American Society,” in Martin M. Winkler (ed.), Gladiator: Film and History. Oxford: Blackwell, 124–49.
  • Online article
    Bianco, R. (2007). “Rome Goes into Decline.” USA Today, 11 January, www.usatoday.com.
    (NOTE: Use the shortest version of the web address that will take you to the site. Include a period after the URL.)

QUIZ 1 — Perseus & Medusa

Due: Sunday, 09.20, noon (EST), via email.


A. Describe how a small change to the traditional Perseus myth leads to larger changes in either Clash of the Titans 1981 or its remake.

B. How, generally, are Greek gods depicted in our Perseus films?

C. Why is animation a viable solution for presenting Medusa and other mythical creatures?

D. Compare and contrast any 2 Medusas from Mythopolis (2014), Clash of the Titans (1981, 2010) or Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), especially in light of ancient sources.

Please remember to follow the formatting requirements.


QUIZ 2 — Heracles/Hercules

Due: Sunday, 10.11, noon (EST), via email.


A. List and describe some key elements of the peplum aesthetic.

B. What is meant by the term “embodied classicism?” How does it manifest in popular culture?

C. How do narrative works about Heracles/Hercules (e.g., plays and screen media) handle the challenge of addressing his labors?

D. Compare and contrast the “Mighty Sons of Hercules” theme song with any song from the (Disney’s) Hercules soundtrack. What does each song say about masculinity and/or heroism? Lyrics will be important here, as well as (to a degree) musicality.

Please remember to follow the formatting requirements.


QUIZ 3 — Medea & Jason

Due: Sunday, 10.25, noon (EST), via email.


A. Given the overall richness of the Medea and Jason myth in ancient texts, what are some trends for presenting it in screen texts?

B. What are some specific strategies for portraying Medea as the Other on screen?

C. How do screen texts juxtapose Jason’s brand of heroism with that of Hercules? Be specific.

Please remember to follow the formatting requirements.


QUIZ 4 — The Trojan Saga

Due: Friday, 11.27, noon (EST) via email.

A. What are some features of screen epic? Couch your answer in terms of not only content, but also production values and modes of presentation.

B. Our extant epic on Trojan war, Homer’s Iliad, covers only several weeks late in the Trojan War, with no coverage of its cause or its immediate aftermath. Given this, how do you explain the disproportionate emphasis on events like the Rape of Helen or the Sack of Troy in screen epics?

C. Summarize the controversies surrounding color-blind casting in Troy: Fall of a City. How do you, a student of classical myth on screen, begin to offer a counter-narrative to such controversies?

Please remember to follow the formatting requirements.