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美国文学期末考试大题集

1. What’s Puritanism?

A religious and political movement which appeals to the right of the individual to political & religious independence. It includes three parts: a code of values, a point of view & a philosophy of life

2. What are the basic Puritan beliefs?

1). Total Depravity 2). Unconditional Election 3). Limited Atonement 4). Irresistible Grace 5). Perseverance of the "saints"

3. What are American Puritan values?

Sobriety thrift, Self-reliance Diligence, Struggle, simple tastes

4. What are the features of American literature in the Colonial Period?

A. Humble origins: diaries, journals, histories, letters. Its various forms, occupy a major position in the literature of the early colonial period.

B. in content: serving either god or colonial expansion or both

C. in form: imitating English literary traditions.

D. in style: tight and logic structure, precise and compact expression, avoidance of rhetorical decoration, adoption of homely imagery and simplicity of diction.

E. Symbolism formed in this period ------To the pious Puritan, the physical, phenomenal world was nothing but a symbol of God.

F. Simple, fresh and direct style

G. the Puritanism formed in this period was one of the most enduring shaping influences in American thought and American literature.

5. What are the features of Washington Irving’s works?

(1) Gentility, urbanity, pleasantness (2) Avoiding moralizing – amusing and entertaining (3) Enveloping stories in an atmosphere (4) Vivid and true characters (5) Humor – smiling while reading (6) Musical language

6. What is theme of “Rip Van Winkle”?

①it reveals conservative attitude of Irving. ②it might be an illustration of Irving’s argument that revolution upset the natural order of things.

A. The story of man who has difficulties facing his advancing age;

B.The contradictory impulses in America toward work-the puritan attitude as opposed to America desire for leisure;

C .The theme of escape from one's responsibilities and even one's history;

D .The loss of identity.

7. What are the author’s attitude changes?

It reveals conservative attitude of Irving and he is Unwilling to accept a modern democratic America and prefers the past & a dream-like world

8. What’s New England Transcendentalism?

Transcendentalism is the summit of the Romantic Movement in the history of American literature in the 19th century. Transcendentalism has been defined philosophically as “the recognition(认知)in man of the capacity of knowing truth intuitively(直觉地)”. Transcendentalists place emphasis on the importance of the Over-soul, the individual and Nature.

9. What are its basic assumptions?

The intuitive faculty, instead of the rational or sensical, became the means for a conscious union of the individual psyche with the world psyche also known as the Over soul, life-force, prime mover and God

10. What are Allan Poe’s poetics theories?

The poetry should appeal only to the sense of beauty, not truth, and sets himself against realistic details in poetry. He makes good use of a number of poetic devices to create a mood appropriate to the theme of his poems.

11. Why was Nathaniel Hawthorne a master of symbolism?

He uses concrete objects as well as characters to serve as his symbols. He likes to uses masks, veils, shadows to give dramatic forms to the universal dilemmas of humanity

12. What is the theme of Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter?

It Condemned the Puritan philosophy of life.

Sin, knowledge and human condition; the nature of evil; identity and society

4. What is the symbolic meaning of the Scarlet Letter “A”?

A.” Adultery", a token of shame

B. a sign of Hester's "ability“

C. "Angel" appearing in the sky

D.”Adamic", since the sin is prehistoric and human E .the rising “America"

13. What story is told in Moby-Dick?

It is a thrilling adventure story which is the realistic about a whaling voyage within which is set a symbolic account of the conflict between man and his fate.

14. What is the symbolic meaning of Moby-Dick?

1) Mystery of the universe, 2) power of grant nature, 3) evil of the world

4) Its whiteness-paradoxical color: death and corruption, purity, innocence and youth.

15. What are the popular themes of Emily Dickinson’s poetry?

Death, love, friendship, nature, immortality.

http://www.wendangku.net/doc/b49ba723af45b307e87197f3.htmlment on the image of Huckleberry Finn?

He is loyal, cheerful, fair-minded boy with “a sound heart and a deformed conscience, with the eventual victory of his moral conscience over his social awareness, Huck grows. Huck is not only a lovely boy in the novel, but also a portrait standing for the young America. Huck is not only a lovely boy in the novel, but also a portrait standing for the young America.

17. What’s the social significance of him?

Huck develops a different view of blacks through the story. It is not an instant change, but a gradual process. Huck himself undergoes a change; he stops accepting the social norms and instead follows his own beliefs. He acquires these beliefs after many adventures with the slave Jim. In this way, Twain encourages people to be like Huck and not to accept the racism just because society accepts it.

18. Why are naturalists inevitably pessimistic in their view?

A. Naturalism was greatly influenced by Darwin's evolutionary theory and French literature

B. Naturalists accepted the more negative implications of Darwin's theory and used it to count for the behavior of those characters in literary works who are conceived as more or less complex combinations of inherited attributes, their habits conditioned by social and economic forces.

C. Naturalism is evolved from realism when the author's tone in writing becomes less serious and less sympathetic but more ironic and more pessimistic.

19.What are the features of Frost’s poetry?

1. Frost’s poetry mainly reflects life in rural New England

2. His poems often shift dramatically from humorous tones to tragic ones

3. Much of his poetry is concerned with how people interact with their environment

4. Frost disliked free verse; He often wrote in the standard meter of blank verse

20. What is the theme of “The Road Not taken” Individualism, Caution, Commitment, Accepting a Challenge And “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”? The poem is primarily oriented towards the pleasures of the scene and the responsibility of life.

21.What are the features of modernist literature?

A. Its strong and conscious break with traditional forms, perceptions and techniques of expression.

B. Its great concern with language and aspects of its medium.

22. What is “Lost generation”?

Literally, it is the generation of people born between 1883 and 1900.They were disillusioned by World War I and displeased with American social values, sexual and aesthetic conventions, and established morality. They first fled to cities such as Chicago & San Francisco; then to Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome. They were full of youthful idealism and pioneered new ways of writing; they were devoid of faith and alienated from civilization. 23. What is a typical Hemingway Code Hero?

The Code Hero believes in “Nada,” meaning nothing. There is also no after life.

?The Code Hero is an individualist and free-willed. He believes in courage and honor and has his own set of morals and principles based on his beliefs in honor, courage and endurance.

? A code hero never shows emotions.

? A code hero does not commit to women.

? A code hero shows qualities such as brav ery, adventure, and love of travel.

? A code hero dislikes darkness. It symbolizes death and is a source of fear. The rite of manhood for the code hero is facing death.

24.What is the theme of the sh ort story “A Clean Well-Lighted Place”?Nothing (or nada) through the old

man's unsuccessful suicide and the middle-aged man's soliloquy.

25.What is the theme of The Great Gatsby?

A sensitive and symbolic treatment of the themes of contemporary life related with irony and pathos to the legend of the "America dream"

What kind of person is Gatsby?

He is a poor youth from the Midwest and at last became a self-made wealthy man. Gatsby is the last romantic heroes and he is a mysterious figure whose intensity of dream partakes of a mind that embodies America itself.

26.What are Faulkner’s famous novels? What are the features of his novels?"The sound and the Fury", "As

I Lay Dying", "Light in the August", "Absalom, Absalom!" 2) On history and the problem of race; on folk human of the south; on horror, violence and abnormal to arouse moral outrage.

1.Discuss Twain’s art of fiction

2.A. Mark Twain uses the Mississippi alley as his fictional kingdom, writing about the landscape and people, the

customs and the dialects of one particular region, and is therefore known as a local colorist.

B. He creates life-like characters, especially the unconventional Huckleberry Finn, who runs away from civilization and stands opposite to conventional village morality.

C. He uses a simple, direct vernacular language, totally different from any precious literary language. It is the kind of colloquial belonging to the lower class, the living local American English.

D. He has created a special humor to satirize and the decayed convention.

2 1). The story takes place along the Mississippi River before the Civil War in the United States, around 1850. Along the river floats a small raft, with two people on it: One is an ignorant, uneducated black slave named Jim and the other is little uneducated outcast white boy, Huck Finn. The novel relates the story of the escape of Jim from slavery and, more important, how Huck Finn, floating along with Jim and helping him as best as he could, changes his mind, his prejudice, about Black people, and comes to accept Jim as a man and as a close friend as well.

2.) (theme)1) The Theme of the novel may be best summed in a word “freedom”: Huck wants to escape from the bond of civilization and Jim wants to escape from the yoke of slavery. 2) The novel is a criticism of social injustice, hypocrisy, conservativeness and narrow-mindedness of the American small town society.

3.Make a brief comment on Mark Twain’s achievements in this novel in 200-250 words.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, first published in 1876, is a child’s adventure story; it is also, however, the story of a young boy’s transition into a young man. In some ways, it is a bildungsroman, a novel whose principle subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a youthful main character. It is not a true bildungsroman, however, because Twain did not take Tom into full

1. The hero of the novel through adventures with lively style to satirize the American hypocrisy of social custom, vulgar hypocrisy of religious rituals and inflexible stale school education

2. "Tom Sawyer--with its strong deep local characteristics of humor and keen observation of the character, had become the greatest of the children's literature works, is a United States rural " golden era "

4. 1)The Pequod-a symbol of doom(death);named after a Native American tribe in Massachusetts, did not survive the arrival of white men (extincted), is painted gloomy black and covered in whale teeth and bones 2) Moby Dick-unknown and unknowable truths, inscrutable, mysterious, mirrors its environment, only the surface of the ocean is available for human observation and interpretation, the depths conceal unknown truths--A metaphor for the human relationship with the Christian God: God is unknown and cannot be pinned down (defined). to the pequod’s crew,Moby Dick is a concept onto which they can display their anxiety about dangerous and frightening jobs, to Ahab Moby Dick is a manifestation of all that is wrong with the world, It is his destiny to get rid of this symbolic evil 3)Queequeg’s Coffin symbolizes life an d death.

5. Try to discuss the theme of “The Minister’s Black Veil”.

A. Sin and Evil

B. History and Antiquity

C. Alienation - a character is in a state of isolation because of self-cause, or societal cause, or a combination of both.

D. Puritan New England - used as a background and setting in many tales.

E. Other themes include individual vs. society, self-fulfillment vs. frustration, hypocrisy vs. integrity, love vs. hate, and fate vs. free will, etc.

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