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文学导论复习题

Fill the blanks:

1. Literature can be classified into these genres: drama, fiction, essays, poetry and biography.

2. Fiction is a narrative told in prose, namely, the novel and the short story.

3. Plot is the arrangement of events that make up a story.

4. The plot of a typical realistic story usually moves through five stages: exposition, complication, crisis, falling action and resolution.

5. The most frequently used device for a writer to interrupt the chronology of the plot is flashback (or retrospect), through which a writer can bring in the past whenever it is most relevant to the present.

6. Foreshadowing is a device whereby a writer presenting some details which hint at the direction the story will take.

7. In some longer works of fiction we may discern a subplot: a sequence of events distinct from the main plot. In most cases, the subplot is closely related to the main plot.

8. The conflict between the protagonist and antagonist forms the central tension of a story.

9. The term character applies to any individual in a literary work.

10. The major, or central character of the plot is the protagonist.

11. The protagonist’s opponent is called antagonist.

12. If a minor character is created to make contrast with the major character, the minor character is called a foil.

13. Characterization is the means by which an author presents and reveals characters.

14. An author uses two methods or techniques to present characters. One method is telling (or expository); the other is showing (or dramatic).

15. The method of telling relies on exposition and direct commentary by the author, while “showing” makes the character reveal themselves directly through their words and actions.

16. Theme is the central or dominating idea in a literary work.

17. Point of view refers to the vantage point from which the author presents the actions of the story, or, to put it in another way, who tells us the story and how it is told.

18. Third-person narrator does not appear as a character in a story.

19. If a narrator knows everything about all the characters, he is “omniscient” (all-knowing).

20. The knowledge of a limited omniscient narrator is restricted to one character.

21. The objective or dramatic point of view does not take us into the mind of any character. The story is presented dramatically through action and dialogue.

22. The stories with narrator who participate in the action are presented from a first-person point of view.

23. Style refers to the distinctive manner in which a writer arranges words to achieve particular effects.

24. Style is composed of two basic elements: diction and syntax.

25. Diction refers to a writer’s choice of words that comprise an author’s basic vocabulary.

26. Tone is the author’s implicit attitude toward the people, places, and events in fiction.

27. Verbal irony occurs when a person says one thing, but he/she actually means the opposite.

28. Situational irony is established when there is an incongruity between what is expected to happen and what actually happens.

29 Dramatic irony involves the contrast between what a character believes or says and what the reader understands to be true.

30. Symbols in fiction are images, objects, settings, events, and characters that convey meaning beyond their literal significance.

31. Symbols are classified as two broad types: traditional and original.

Explaining the following terms:

1. Literature

Since the 19th century, literature is exclusively defined as “a body of written works, which have imaginative, creative or artistic value.”

2. Prose/Essay

Prose is a literary term or medium which is posed against poetry. Prose is not patterned by rhyme or meters. Prose is written sentence by sentence instead of line by line. We can safely say that if a written or spoken work is not poetry, then it must be prose, that is, prose includes novels, short stories, dramas, etc.

Essay is any short composition in prose that either formally or informally, undertakes to discuss a matter, express a point of view, persuade us to accept a thesis on any subject, or simply entertain. It is often written from an author’s personal point of view.

3. Fiction

A narrative told in prose, namely, the novel and the short story.

4.Plot / Story

Plot is the arrangement of events that make up a story. E. M. Forster in his Aspects of the Novel discusses the difference between the two. He defines story as a narrative of events arranged in their time sequence. In this sense, “The king died and then the queen died” should be regarded as story. “The king died and then the queen died of grief”promises a plot, since plot emphasizes the significant causal relationship between events.

5. Round characters/ Flat characters

Round characters are complex multi-dimensional characters with the capacity to grow and change. Flat characters are also referred to as type characters, stock characters, or one-dimensional characters. Flat characters tend to stay the same throughout a story. They embody a single characteristic or trait, or at most a very limited number of such qualities.

6. Dynamic/ Static characters

Dynamic characters have the capacity to change as the story progresses.

Static characters remain the same from the beginning of the work to the end.

7. Subject / Theme

Subject is the specific topic or focal point of a literary work. Theme is the central or dominating idea in a literary work. Many stories share identical subject, such as fate, love, war, death, growth, etc. But each story usually makes its own statement about the subject and expresses its distinct view of life.

8. Symbolism/Allegory

Symbolism is the representation of ideas by the use of symbols. Symbols in fiction are images, objects, settings, events, and characters that convey meaning beyond their literal significance. Allegory is a technique for expanding the meaning of a literary work by having the characters, events, and setting represent certain abstract ideas, qualities, or concepts—usually moral, religious in nature.