Sports in Film and Literature, Final Exam,

You must answer #1 and #2. Then choose one other question (3 questions in all).

When you reference films or articles, they should be central ones from the course, not ones covered independently in papers. Also, be sure to be specific when referencing the texts (cite key moments, lines, scenes, etc.). You may not use a smart phone or computer of any kind. Finally, try not to double up on using a story, poem, or film, meaning that have each answer use different texts, unless you are directed otherwise. (For example, #2 and 5 allow you to address the same film).

  1. An underlying theme in The Art of Fielding is the relationship between innocence and experience (sometimes, but not always through age and youth, or even ignorance and wisdom). Identify some key moments in the book that relate to that idea. Also, include one other poem, story, or film that we have covered, as you reflect on this theme of innocence vs. experience. REQUIRED QUESTION2
  2. Many of our sports stories deal with the idea of redemption, of coming back from difficulty to make things right, or to start over in a positive direction. Perhaps it is someone who was once a tragic hero who has turned his or her life around. Through the lens of the theme of redemption, analyze the film Field of Dreams and one other sports story we have read or film we have viewed in class. REQUIRED QUESTION3
  3. Seneca, in his Epistle 7, bemoans those who seek “the majority’s approval.” So many view success in sports to be measured by wins and losses and the popular opinion of fans and/or the media. This becomes a struggle for any athlete, as he or she measures success by what others say. At the same time, without the fan and the media, popular sports would not thrive, as they do today. Explore this idea, citing the benefits and drawbacks of the “crowd,” using at least two sports stories we have analyzed this term.
  4. We have discussed Aristotle’s definition of an ideal citizen, even before we specifically used the term in class. This notion from Greek philosophy continues to be relevant, as we discuss morals and ethics in all aspects of life. As we examine sports stories, whether in the page or on the screen, how are athletes depicted, in terms of them being viewed as ideal? For instance, do we still honor, as the Greeks did, the balance of mind and body? Do we still hold up the ideal in terms of private and public behavior? Explore these questions in relation to the story “Special Team” (p.180) and one other story we have read or viewed. Compare and contrast the two stories in terms of how the character(s) fulfill or fall short of these ideals.
  5. We have discussed differences between a realistic and romantic approach to sports stories. The film 8 Men Out takes a realistic approach to sports. Field of Dreams offers a romantic view of sports. Discuss how these different approaches impact the story of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Remember that you are focusing on romanticism vs. realism in storytelling.

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