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美国文学 练习

四、练习(Exercises) 练习( ) A、选择题 (Multiple choice questions): 、 1. Which of the following statements is NOT a famous concept of Transcendentalism? [A] Nature is ennobling. [B] The individual is divine and self –reliant. [C] Man is capable of knowing truth by intuition. [D] Man is corrupted in nature. 2. Which of the following works began to make Irving internationally known? [A] The Sketch Book [B] A History of New York to the End of the Dutch Dynasty [C] Bracebridge Hall [D] Tales of Traveler 3. Which of the following is NOT true concerning Washington Irving? [A] He is the father of the American short stories. [B] He is the American Goldsmith. [C] He is the first American writer to win international fame. [D] He is the first writer to declare the independence of American literature. 4. The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne is mainly concerned with_______. [A] the corruption of the society [B] the consequence of sin and guilt [C] the wrong doing of one generation that lives into the successive ones [D] “overreaching intellect” 5. Rip Van Winkle has its source material taken from _______. [A] Spanish stories [B] German legends [C] English tales [D] Italian folktales 6. “But it would have been worth any statesman's money to have heard the profound discussions that sometimes took place, when by chance an old newspaper fell into their hands, from some passing traveler.” What is the rhetorical device used in this sentence? [A] Hyperbole. [B] Metaphor. [C] Irony. [D] Paradox. 7. Which of the following statements about Emerson is NOT true? [A] He was generally known as an essayist. [B] He was the chief spokesman of Transcendentalism. [C] He practiced the theory by living a simple life. [D] For him, nature is symbolic. 8. For Emerson, nature could symbolize the following except______. [A] God [B] Spirit [C] Oversoul [D] The whole universe 9. What is Hawthorne’s attitude toward Puritanism? [A] Negative [B] Affirmative [C] Indifferent [D] Mixed 10. One typical feature of Irving’s writing is ______. [A] always preaching [B] his best classic style [C] short and difficult to understand [D] symbolic 11. “I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” Who could have written these lines? [A] Edgar Allen Poe [B] Walt Whitman [C] Ralph Waldo Emerson [D] Henry David Thoreau 12. Which of the following is NOT true with Transcendentalism? [A] It inherited much from American Puritanism and European realism [B] It focused on the intuitive knowledge. [C] Nature is its unofficial manifesto. [D] It is related in some way with the German idealism. 13. What kind of narrative point of view is adopted in Moby Dick? [A] The first person [B] The second person [C] The third person limited [D] The third person omniscient 14. Which of the following has influenced Melville’s writing EXCEPT______. [A] Shakespearean tragic vision [B] Emersonian Transcendentalism [C] Hawthorne’s black vision of life [D] Irving’s writing 15. Which of the following writers is not optimistic about the human nature? [A] Ralph Waldo Emerson. [B] Nathaniel Hawthorne. [C] Walt Whitman. [D] Henry David Thoreau. 16. Which of the following cannot be used to describe Whitman’s poetry? [A] Elegant and gentle. [B] Simple and open. [C] Unconventional. [D] Colloquial. 17. When Emerson states in the introduction to his Nature: “Our age is retrospective.” Which of the following is closest to its understanding? [A] We are conservative. [B] We see this world through our ancestors’ eyes. [C] We usually look back upon the good old days. [D] We write a lot of books about the past. 18. Which of the following novels does not represent the theme of return to nature? [A] Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [B] Thoreau’s Walden [C] Cooper’s Leather-Stocking Tales [D] Melville’s Moby Dick

19. Which of the following is NOT a typical feature of the American Romantic writings? [A] Expression of the artist’s imaginations, emotions, impressions, or beliefs. [B] Emphasis on rules of order, reason, logic, restrained emotion, good taste and decorum [C] Love for the remote, supernatural, mysterious, exotic and illogical quality of things. [D] To see nature as a source of mental cleanness and spiritual understanding. 20. The statement that a man’s journey to the dark forest and his encounter with the devil are symbolic of man's life journey from innocence to knowledge, from good to evil may well sum up one of the major themes of _______. [A] Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” [B] Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” [C] Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” [D] O. Henry’s “The Cop and the Anthem” 21. Here is a short passage from a story: “He recognized on the sign, however, the ruby face of King George, under which he had smoked so many a peaceful pipe, ...and underneath was painted in large characters, GENERAL WASHINGTON” The story must be ______. [A] Cooper’s “Leatherstocking Tales” [B] Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” [C] Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” [D] Hemingway’s “Indian Camp” 22. “The universe is composed of Nature and the soul … Spirit is present everywhere.” This is the voice of the book_______, which pushed American Romanticism into a new phase, the phase of New England Transcendentalism. [A] Walden by Thoreau [B] The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne [C] Moby Dick by Melville [D] Nature written by Emerson 23. In Whitman’s giant work, Leaves of Grass, openness, freedom and, above all, _____ are all that concerned him. [A] individualism [B] divine love [C] sympathy [D] the power of blackness 24. Which of the following is NOT a typical feature of Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”? [A] Allegory. [B] Ambiguity. [C] Interior monologue. [D] Symbolism. 25. In Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” all the drastic changes in the lapsed 20 years displeased Rip EXCEPT that ______. [A] he has got his neck out of the yoke of matrimony [B] the country has finally got its independence from the yoke of the British colonial rule [C] there comes now the scramble for powers between parties [D] past glories and a tranquil life of the small village are gone; B、阅读理解题 (Reading comprehension): 、 1. “In like manner, nature is already, in its forms and tendencies, describing its own design. Let us interrogate the great apparition, that shines so peacefully around us. Let us inquire, to what end is nature? Questions: A. Identify the work and the author. B. What is the great apparition? C. What is the writing style? 2. “… Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of witch-meeting? Be it so, if you will. But, alas! It was a dream of evil omen for young Goodman Brown. A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man, did he become, from the night of that fearful dream.” Questions: A. Identity the work and the author. B. What is the general idea of this passage? C. Did the author tell for sure whether it was only a dream or not? 3. “ I loafe and invite my soul, I learn and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.” Questions: A. Identify the poem and the poet. B. What is the meaning of the phrase “a spear of summer grass”? C. What is the implied meaning of the two lines? 4. “Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled 5,000 years ago.” Questions: A. Identify the work and the author. B. What is the basic tone of this passage? C. What is the meaning of the underlined part? 5. “God knows, ... I’m not myself— I’m somebody else— ... and I’m changed, and I can’t tell what’s my name, or who I am.” Questions: A. Identify the work and the author. B. The speaker says he is changed. Do you think he is changed, or the social environment changed? C. What idea does the quoted sentence express? 6. “Standing on the bare ground, —my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.” Questions: A. Identify the work and the author. B. What does the word “blithe” mean here? C. What idea does the quoted passage express? C、问答题 (Questions and answers): 、 1. Nature is a philosophic work, in which Emerson gives an explicit discussion on his idea of the Oversoul. What is your understanding of Emersonian “Oversoul” and its relationship with “a transparent eyeball”? 2. One of the most distinctive features of Hawthorne’s writing is his art of ambiguity. Exemplify it with his story, “Young Goodman Brown”. 3. Like Hawthorne, Melville is fond of symbolism in his writings. The white whale, Moby-Dick, is the most important symbol in the novel. What symbolic meaning does Moby Dick stand for? 4. Whitman is one of the most important figures in American poetic history. He has carried on a sort of experiment on the form of poetry by choosing free

verse as his medium of expression. What are the characteristics of Whitman’s free verse? 5. Literary critics have seen Rip Van Winkle as a symbol of several aspects of America. What are the aspects that the story and its hero symbolize? D、论述题 (Topic Discussion): 、 1. Melville’s Moby Dick is more than a great whale story that reflects the American whale industry in 19th century; it is capable of multiple interpretations. Discuss the themes you can find in the fiction. 2. In his whole life, Hawthorne is preoccupied with sin and evil in man; and in almost every novel he wrote, Hawthorne discussed sin and evil. Then what makes Hawthorne obsessed with all this sin and evil? V、参考答案 (Key to the Exercises) 、 Multiple choice questions 1- 25 DADBB





Reading comprehension 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson: Nature. The great apparition here refers to nature, which is silent and contains truth. C. The sentences are short and compact but rich in meaning. The last two imperative sentences render the passage a speech like tone. 2. Nathaniel Hawthorne: Young Goodman Brown Maybe the terrible experience was only a dream that Goodman Brown made when he slept in the forest. It is all right if you think that way. But after that Brown became a sad and distrustful man. The author did not allow himself to decide whether the events of that night happened in a dream or in reality. This ambiguity is central to understand the theme of the story. This kind of writing is typical of Hawthorne, who tends to put everything ambiguous in his work and leave the reader in doubts. 3. Walt Whitman: Song of Myself A spear of summer grass just means a leaf of grass, because a grass leaf looks like a spear. The author emphasizes summer grass, because grass grows well in summer. So it stands for life and power. It is also the symbol of the poet’s feeling and experience while wandering. The two lines show the relationship between the soul and body, which is passively invited to meet and finally gets unified with the former. 4. Herman Melville: Moby Dick. The basic tone is sad and mournful. The screaming birds, the sullen surf and the shroud of sea all constitute a gloomy and depressed picture. The sea was like a great shroud because many people had died in it. However the sea remained unmoved, rolling indifferently as ever. Melville suggests here that the silent immensity of the sea, unchanged by five thousand years, bespeaks the impossibility of man's attempt to force his will upon the universe and attain the ungraspable phantom of life. 5. A. Washington Irving: “Rip Van Winkle”. B. The social environment is changed. C. When Rip is back home after a period of 20 years, he finds that everything has been changed. All those old values are gone, and he can hardly feel at home in a changed society. One of the functions that Rip serves in the story is to provide a measuring stick for change. It is through him that Irving drives home the theme that a desire for change, improvement, and progress could subvert a stable society. 6. A. Ralph Waldo Emerson: Nature. B. Cheerful and having no worries. C. It is a classic piece in American Transcendental writings. For it first of all contains the most effective pun on "I" (eye) used to demonstrate fully the spirituality of human beings. C. Questions and answers 1. For Emerson, man is divine and has infinite possibility of developing himself. Since he is Devine, he can totally rely on himself. And then self-reliance in turn leads to self-improvement, self-cultivation, and self-perfection. Man is also the center of the social development. Emersonian individualism obviously defies the Calvinistic concept of depraved man and also denounces the dehumanization of the capitalism and industrialization in the end of the 19th century. The remarkable image of a transparent eyeball and a powerful analogy between "I", the individual soul, and a transparent eyeball are used skillfully by Emerson to exemplify his metaphysical idea of the Oversoul. Literally, Emerson is playing on the words “I” and “eye”; symbolically, he refers to a state of being that is paradoxical, in which the individual soul is merged into nature, or the Oversoul, meanwhile he still retains a unique perception of the experience. 2. Hawthorne's ambiguity is a pervasive quality of mind and embodies his deepest insights. Actually, Hawthorne's ambiguity tends to convey in legend or superstition a moral or psychological truth. On one hand, it outlines the form of truth by dissolving irrelevancies, on the other it marks the limit of vision, beyond which is shadow. Shadows, mirror images, masquerades, etc. in his works all produce the effects of light and darkness, which in turn examine the relationships of appearance and reality. This paradoxical nature of ambiguity about the relationships of light and darkness, truth and false can be traced back to Hawthorne's view of human life and human nature as a whole. “Young Goodman Brown” is a good example to show Hawthorne’s ambiguity. The center of the story is whether the events of the night are actual or dreamlike. And the separate instances of the central ambiguity organically combine to reproduce the feeling: the horror of the hero’s doubt of his faith. Whether that Brown is lost to the devil or he is saved by Faith is very hard to tell, for there are confusing factors. Hawthorne withholds his answer as to whether the events of the night are merely a dream or actuality. It seems that at the crucial point when Brown summons the strength to cry to his wife Faith he has successfully resisted the temptation. But he is not saved at the end of the story. On the other hand, Brown is not totally lost, for he is only at intervals estranged from the bosom of Faith. The paradoxical nature of ambiguity can be traced back to Hawthorne’s human life and human nature, which is also paradoxical. 3. Moby Dick, as the most important yet difficult symbol in the novel, can be interpreted in different ways and means different things for different people. To Ahab, the whale is either an evil creature itself or the agent of an evil force that controls the universe, or perhaps both. As to the reader, the whale can be viewed as a symbol of the physical limits that life imposes upon man. It may also be regarded as a symbol of nature, or an instrument of God's vengeance upon evil man. To Ishmael, the whale has multiple implications. It is an astonishing force, an immense power, which defies rational explanation due to a sense of mystery it has. It is beautiful, benign, but malignant as well. It also represents the tremendous organic vitality of the universe, for it has a life force that surges onward irresistibly, impervious to the desires or wills of men.

In general, the multiplicity and ambivalence of the symbolic meaning of the whale is such that it becomes a source of intense speculation, an object of profound curiosity for the reader, as well as for Ishmael. 4. Free verse is a flexible and variable poetic form, adhering no metrical pattern or the conventional rhyming system. The poetic lines of free verse vary in length, and have indeed some form or pattern by repetition or parallel structure. Free verse is simple and prose-like, which allows him to express freely his ideas in colloquial English. Although Walt Whitman did not invent it, he has innovated free verse so much as to break away completely from the principle of meter or rhyme. Whitman also applied oral English in his free verse to make it an effective way to express freely the feelings of common people. 5. Rip, like America, is immature, self-centered, careless, anti-intellectual, imaginative, and jolly as the overgrown child. His wife is another symbol— of puritanical discipline and the work-ethic of Franklin. The town itself is emblematic of America— forever and rapidly changing. Washington Irving has Rip sleep through his own country’s history, through what we might call the birth pangs of America, and return to the “busy, bustling, disputatious” self-consciously adult United States of America. His conflicts and dreams are those of the nation— the conflict of innocence and experience, work and leisure, the old and the new, and the head and the heart. The escapist tradition— of those who choose not to climb the socio-economic ladder of success— conflicts with our self-made, get-ahead concept of hard work and success. At any level, the story is one of a man who has looked toward the onset of civilization in America and made a choice in his analysis of his own life. In many ways, Americans are obsessed with these same agonizing contradictions. In many ways, too, all Americans fantasize about and others actually climb a mountain, like Rip, to gain perspective. D. Topic discussion 1. In one sense, the novel can be regarded as a conflict between an individual self and the hostile world. The fight between Ahab and the whale is the symbol of a lone individual fight against the hostile universe. Moby Dick is powerful and malignant, and represents the hostile world. Ahab looks on the whale as his enemy and seeks to revenge on him. In another sense, the novel reveals the alienation existing in life on different levels, between man and man, man and the society, and man and nature. Captain Ahab is the best illustration of it all. He cuts himself off from his wife and kids and stays away most of the time from his crew, and he hates Moby Dick, which is an embodiment of nature. He is angry because his pride is wounded. After the loss of his leg in his encounter with the white whale, he holds God responsible for the presence of evil in the universe and is bent on avenging himself. He hears of no objection, being totally lost in his own impulse and his selfish desire. He is egocentric to such an extent that he starts to lose humanity, and become disconnected with other people. Moby Dick can also be regarded as novel dealing with Ishmael's transformation or mental growth. Ishmael enters the story as a social outcast. During the voyage, Ishmael gets to know all kinds of people and builds up a friendship with Queequeg. In the end he is saved by Queequeg's coffin, symbolizing a restoration to humanity. He walks out of the novel a new man who knows that there is more than oneself to care of. In this spiritual exploration into the unfathomable truth of human reality and the universe, Ishmael has transformed from a pessimistic man with a dark view of life into someone who, capable of love and sympathy, accepts life for what it is and makes the most of it. Moby-Dick is aimed to be a symbolic voyage of the mind in quest of the truth and knowledge of the universe, containing some deep philosophical speculation about God and nature. What Ahab seeks is not the actual whale but a symbolic one, a whale that stands for the ultimate mystery of the universe. He wants to find out where the evil comes from, the mystery of nature, the truth about God, and all those forces that are controlling nature. Moby Dick is like a wall, hiding some unknown malicious things behind. Ahab hates the inscrutable malice hidden behind the wall. For him, all the visible objects are pasteboards, or masks; Ahab wants to pierce the wall, strike through the masks so as to know the mystery, the forbidden knowledge, and the divine truth. 2. Firstly, Hawthorne is obsessed, or haunted, by the Calvinistic concept of the original sin. He cannot look upon any aspect of reality, either human or natural, without finding the germ that corrupts and destroys. For him human beings are evil-natured and sinful and this sin and evil is ever present in human heart and will pass on from one generation to another. His writings are to show how we are all wronged and wrongers, and avenge one another. He symbolizes moral or spiritual disease by the disease of the body and accordingly when a person commits any sin, it might appear in some form on the body. Secondly, Hawthorne believes that human beings continuously sin and sin will get punished one way or another. As a matter of fact he was said to be often troubled by the thought that the decline of his family fortunes had a lot to do with the sins of his ancestors. He believes that "the wrong doing of one generation lives into the successive ones." Thirdly, according to Hawthorne, human beings are predestined. They are born sinners and will continuously sin. It is commonsensical that man takes the responsibility for something he chooses to do and deserves the punishment if he does it wrong. But in his fictional world, it is vice versa. The Calvinistic doctrine implies that no matter how hard man tries to redeem from his sin, he can never free himself from the depravity that is inherited in him because of Adam's transgression and disobedience. Consequently, man can do nothing but bear Adam's guilt.

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