Exercises for American Literature (I) - Chapter 1
The Romantic Period
A. Each of the statements below is followed by four alternative answers. Choose the one that would best complete the statement and put the letter in the bracket. 1. The Romantic Period of American literature started with the publication of Washington Irving's ______ and ended with Whitman's Leaves of Grass. A. C. The Sketch Book The Alhambra B. D. Tales of a Traveler A History of New York
2. Washington Irving's social conservation and literary preference for the past is revealed, to some extent, in his famous story, _______. A. B. C. D. "The Legend of Sleepy Hallow" "Rip Van Winkle" "The Custom-House" "The Birthmark"
3. The chief spokesman of New England Transcendentalism is ___________. A. C. Nathaniel Hawthorne Henry David Thoreau B. Ralph Waldo Emerson D. Washington Irving
4. In his essays, _______put forward his philosophy of the over-soul, the importance of the Individual and Nature. A. C. Nathaniel Hawthorne Mark Twain B. Washington Irving D. Ralph Waldo Emerson which has much to
5._______literary world turns out to be a most disturbed, tormented and problematical one, do with his "black" vision of life and human beings. A. C. 6. A. C. Herman Melville's Nathaniel Hawthorne's B. D. Washington Irving's Walt Whitman's
Most of the poems in_______sing of the "en-masse" and the self as well. Leaves of Grass North of Boston B. D. Drum Taps The Cantos
7. In _______, Whitman airs his sorrow at President Lincoln's death. A. B. C. D. 8. "Cavalry Crossing a Ford" "A Pact" "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" "There was a Child Went Forth" In _______, Whitman's own early experience may well be identified with the childhood of a young growing
America. A. B. C. D. 9. A. B. C. "A Pact" ' "Song of Myself" "There was a Child Went Forth" "Cavalry Crossing a Ford" The poem _______reminds its readers of a picture of a scene of the American Civil War. "Song of Myself" "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" "A Pact"
"Cavalry Crossing a Ford"
10. _______is regarded as the first American prose epic. A. C. Nature Walden B. The Scarlet Letter
11. A. C. 12. A. C.
______, the tragic hero of Moby-Dick, burning with a baleful fire, becomes evil himself in his Ahab Moby Dick B. D. Pip Pequod B. "Young Goodman Brown" D. "The Birthmark"
thirst to destroy evil.
In______, Hawthorne sets out to prove that everyone possesses some evil secret. "The Custom-House" "Rappaccini's Daughter"
B. Complete each of the following statements with a proper word or a phrase according to the textbook. 1. In his early works, Herman Melville is more enthusiastic about setting out on a quest for the meaning of the ______, while in the late works, Melville becomes more reconciled with the world of man, in which he admits, one must live by. 2. 3. 4. 5. In "Song of Myself" Whitman sets forth two principal beliefs: the theory of ______ and the belief Usually, the relationship Whitman is dramatizing is a triangular one: "I" the poet, the subject in the In the manner of its concern with ______ and ______, Imbued with an inquiring imagination, an intensely Young Goodman Brown" exemplifies in the ______ and equality of all beings in value. poem, and "you" the __________. what Melville called "the power of blackness" in Hawthorne's works. meditative mind, and unceasing interest in the "______of the heart" of man's being, Nathaniel Hawthorne remains one of the most interesting, yet most ambivalent writer in the American literary history. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. New England Transcendentalism is unanimously agreed to be the ______of the Romantic period "Rip Van Winkle" is not only well-known for Rip's 20-year ______, but also considered a in the history of American literature. ______ of perfect English in American literature and in the English language as well. Washington Irving has always been regarded as a writer who "perfected the best ______that Being a period of the great flowering of American literature, the Romantic period is also called Washington Irving is one of the first American writers to earn an ______reputation, and American literature ever produced.” "the American______.” regarded as an early Romantic writer in the American literary history and ______of the American short stories. 11. 12. 13. 14. By employing ______as a big symbol of the Spirit, or God, or the over-soul, Emerson has Hawthorne's view of man and human history originates, to a great extent, in ______. Whitman's poetic style is marked, first of all, by the use of the poetic "______.” New England Transcendentalism is actually a philosophical school which absorbed some brought the Puritan legacy of symbolism to its perfection.
ideological concerns of American ______and European______.
C. Decide whether the following statements are true or false and write your answers in the brackets.
1. 2. Leaves of Grass established Walt Whitman as the most popular American poet of the 19th century. Washington Irving got ideas from Spanish legends for two of his famous stories "Rip Van Winkle" and
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” 3. 4. The poem "Song of Myself "got this title from the first edition. Besides Hawthorne, Shakespearean tragic vision and Emersonian Transcendentalism also produced some
positive effect on Herman Melville's writing. 5. The purpose of Herman Melville's fictional tales is to penetrate as deeply as possible into the metaphysical,
theological, moral, psychological, and social truths of human existence. 6. 7. 8. Moby-Dick is a mixture of fantasy and realism based upon the South Pacific Whaling industry. Puritanism and Calvinistic doctrine have great effects on Hawthorne's writing. American Romanticists, such as Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Melville, have a lot in common in their
understanding of human nature. 9. 10. 11. 12. According to Emerson, man is divine in nature and therefore forever perfectible. Washington Irving remained a conservative and always exalted a disappearing past. Walt Whitman is granted the honor of being "the American Goldsmith" for his literary craftsmanship. Emersonian Transcendentalism inspired a whole generation of famous authors like Whitman, Dickinson
and Mark Twain. 13. 14. 15. As a Puritan, Hawthorne embraced the Puritanical doctrines and expresses them in his novels. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne intends to tell a love story and a story of sin. Hawthorne is a master of symbolism, which he took from the Puritan tradition and bequeathed to American
literature in a revivified form. 16. 17. Walt Whitman follows only one theme in his Leaves of Grass, that is, the burgeoning life in cities. In Drum Taps, Whitrnan expresses much mourning for the sufferings of the young lives in the battlefield and
shows a determination to carry on the fighting dauntlessly until the final victory. 18. Most of the poems in Leaves of Grass are written in heroic couplet. D. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. E. 1. 2. Name the author of each of the following literary works. The Sketch Book "Rip Van Winkle" "The American Scholar" The Scarlet Letter The Marble Faun "Young Goodman Brown" "Song of Myself" "There was a Child Went Forth" "Cavalry Crossing a Ford" Moby-Dick Define the literary terms listed below. New England Transcendentalism Free verse
F. A) For each of the quotations listed below please give the name of the author and the title of the literary work from which it is taken and then briefly interpret it.
1. "The early lilacs became part of this child, And grass and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird, And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal and the cow's calf, And the noisy brood of the barnyard or by the mire of the pond-side, And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there, and the beautiful curious liquid, And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads, all became part of him. " 2. "A lime in long array where they wind betwixt green islands, They take a serpentine course, their arms flash in the sun — hark to the musical clank, Behold the silvery river, in it the splashing horses loitering stop to drink, Behold the brown-faced men, each group, each person, a picture , the negligent rest on the saddles, Some emerge on the opposite bank, others are just entering the ford—while, Scarlet and blue and snowy white, The guidon flags flutter gayly in the wind. 3. "I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. " B) Read the quoted parts carefully and answer the questions in English. 1. "It was with some difficulty he found the way to his own house, which he approached with silent awe, expecting every moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame Van Winkle. He found the house gone to decay — the roof fallen in, the windows shattered, and the doors off the hinges. A half starved dog, that looked like Wolf, was skulking about it. Rip called him by name, but the cur snarled, showed his teeth, and passed on. This was an unkind cut indeed — 'My very dog,' sighed poor Rip, me! A. B. C. '" Identify the author and the title of the work from which this passage is taken. Whom does Dame Van Winkle refer to? Why was it difficult for him to find his house? 'has forgotten
2. "The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. " A. B. C. Identify the author and the title of the work from which this passage is taken. How do you interpret "daily food"? What does the passage imply? She talks of dreams, too. Methought, as she spoke, there was trouble in her face, as if a
3. "'Poor little Faith] ' thought he, for his heart smote him. 'What a wretch am I, to leave her on such an errand] dream had warned her what work is to be done tonight. But, no, no! 't would kill her to think it. Well; she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven. ' " A. B. C. Identify the author and the title of the work from which this passage is taken. Who is Faith? How do you interpret the speaker's feeling?
"The harpoon was darted; the stricken whale flew forward; with igniting velocity the line ran
through the grooves; — ran foul. Ahab stooped to clear it; he did clear it; but the flying turn caught him round the neck, and voicelessly as Turkish mutes bowstring their victim, he was shot out of the boat, ere the crew knew he was gone. " A. B. C. 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. Identify the author and the title of the work from which this passage is taken. Who is Ahab? What happens to Ahab? Briefly introduce Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendental philosophy. Analyze the effects of Puritanism on Nathaniel Hawthorne. Analyze the symbolic significance of The Scarlet Letter. What does Nathaniel Hawthorne intend to tell the reader in his "Young Goodman Brown"? Write an essay on Walt Whitman. Write an essay on Moby-Dick.
G. Give brief answers to the following questions.
H. Short essay questions.
Answers to Chapter 1
A. l. A 6. A 11. A B. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10 11. 12. 13. C. l. T 6. T 11. F 16. F 2. F 7. T 12. F 17. T 3. F 8. F 13. F 18. F 4. T 9. T 14. F 5. T 10. T 15. T universe, rules universality, singularity reader guilt, evil interior summit sleep, model classic style Renaissance international, Father nature Puritanism I 2.B 7.C 12. B 3.B 8.C 4. D 9.D 5. C 10. D
14. Puritanism, Romanticism
1. 4. 7. 10. E. 1.
Washington Irving Nathaniel Hawthorne Walt Whitman Herman Melville
Washington Irving 5. Walt Whitman
Ralph Waldo Emerson 6. Nathaniel Hawthorne Walt Whitman
New England Transcendentalism
It is the summit of the Romantic Movement in the history of American literature. It was started in New England in the 1830s. Gradually its influence began to spread all over the country. The most important representatives are Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Basically, Transcendentalism has been defined philosophically as "the recognition in man of the capacity of knowing truth intuitively, or of attaining knowledge transcending the reach of the sense.” Transcendentalists place emphasis on the importance of the Over-soul, the individual and Nature. The concepts that accompanied Transcendentalism include the idea that nature in ennobling and the idea that the individual is divine and therefore, self-reliant. New England Transcendentalism is the product of a combination of native American Puritanism and European Romanticism. 2. Free verse means poetry without a fixed beat or regular rhyme scheme. A looser and more open-ended syntactical structure is frequently favored. Lines and sentences of different lengths are left lying side by side just as things are, undisturbed and separate. There are few compound sentences to draw objects and experience into a system of hierarchy. F. A) 1. From Walt Whitman’s “There Was a Child Went Forth.” This poem describes the growth of a child who learns about himself and improves himself accordingly. In the poem Whitman's own early experience may well be identified with the childhood of a young, growing America. The chosen part here is a description of the barnyard where there are many newly-born stocks, etc. The child is still a baby now who is wandering and admiring the scene around him, which to him is something entirely new. 2. From Walt Whitman's "Cavalry Crossing a Ford.” It describes a picture of a scene of the American Civil War. A troop is crossing a shallow river on horseback, their flag fluttering, the water shining in the sun, the soldiers' faces brown. 3. From Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself.” Here the poet is trying to identify his ego with the world, and more specifically with democratic "en-masse" of America. B) 1. A. B. C. 2. A. B. of nature. C. 3. It implies that a lover of nature should always feel himself united with nature, inseparable from nature. A. From Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown.” From Washington Irving's “Rip Van Winkle.” Dame Van Winkle is Rip Van Winkle's wife. Because during Rip's 20-year sleep, a lot of things have taken place and everything, From Ralph Waldo Emerson's Nature. "Daily food" is maybe interpreted to be the most indispensable part of the life of the lover
including his family, the village and his dog, has changed greatly.
B. C. her again. 4. A. B. C. G. 1.
Faith is Goodman Brown's wife. He feels guilty of his evil deed and is determined to return to his wife after it, never leaving From Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. Ahab is the captain, who has been handicapped by the whale, and determined to kill it. Ahab is killed during his fight with the whale.
As the chief spokesman of New England Transcendentalism, Emerson puts forward his philosophy
of the over-soul, the importance of the Individual, and Nature. He bases his religion on an intuitive belief in an ultimate unity, which he calls the "over-soul.” Emerson believes that there should be an e-motional communication between an individual soul and the universal "over-soul," since the over-soul is an all-pervading power from which all things come from and of which all are a part. Emerson's remarkable image of "a transparent eyeball" marks a paradoxical state of being, in which one is merged into nature, the over-soul, while at the same time retaining a unique perception of the experience. man. Emerson is affirmative about man's intuitive knowledge, with which a man can trust The ideal individual should be a self-reliant himself to decide what is right and to act accordingly.
Emerson's nature is emblematic of the spiritual world, alive with God's overwhelming
presence; hence, it exercises a healthy and restorative influence on human mind. 2. Hawthorne's view of man and human history derives, to a great extent, from Puritanism. He was not a Puritan himself, but his Puritan ancestors had done the misdeeds. He believes that "the wrong doing of one generation lives into the successive ones," and he was said to be often troubled by the sins of his ancestors. This intense awareness leads to his understanding of evil being at the very core of human life, which is typical of the Calvinistic doctrine that human beings are basically depraved and corrupted, hence, they should obey God to atone for their sins. In many of Hawthorne’s stories and novels, the Puritan past is shown in an almost totally negative light, especially in his The House of the Seven Gables and The Scarlet letter. Hawthorne is attracted in every way to the Puritan world, even though he condemns its less human manifestations. On the one hand, it provides him with a subject, and on the other hand, with the Puritan world or society as a historical background, he discusses some of the most important issues that concern the moral life of man and human history. 3. Hawthorne is a master of symbolism. The symbol can be found everywhere in his writing, and his masterpiece The Scarlet letter provides the most convincing proof. By using Pearl as a thematic symbol, Hawthorne emphasizes the consequence the sin of adultery has brought to the community and people living in that community. The scarlet letter A is the biggest symbol of all. As a key to the whole novel, the letter A takes on different layers of symbolic meanings as the plot develops. At first it is a token of
shame "Adultery", then it has been changed into "Able", and finally it signifies "Angel". People come up with different interpretations and they do not know which one is definite. The scarlet letter A is ambiguous and the ambiguity is one of the prominent characteristics of Hawthorne's art. 4. "Young Goodman Brown" is one of Hawthorne's most profound tales, in the manner of its concern with guilt Its hero, a naive
and evil, it exemplifies what Melville calls the "power of blackness" in Hawthorne's work. young man who accepts both society in general and his fellow men as
individuals worth his regard, is
confronted with the vision of human evil in one terrible night, and becomes thereafter distrustful and doubtful. Allegorically, our protagonist becomes an Everyman named Brown, a "young" man, who will be aged on one night by an adventure that makes everyone in this world a fallen idol. However, the story is manipulated in such a way that we as readers feel that Hawthorne poses the question of Good and Evil in man but withholds his answer, and
he does not permit himself to determine whether the events of the night of trial are real or the mere figment of a dream. H. 1. Born in a working-class family, Walt Whitman tried at a variety of jobs. His rich experience in life furnishes both material and spirit for his masterpiece Leaves of Grass, of which he devoted all his life to the creation. In this giant work, openness, freedom, and above all, individualism are all that concerned him. His aim is to express
some new poetical feelings and to initiate a poetic tradition in which difference should be recognized. The genuine participation of a poet in a common cultural effort is, according to Whitman, to behave as a supreme individualist; however, the poet's essential purpose is to identify his ego with the world, and more specifically with the democratic "en-masse" of America, which is established in the opening lines of "Song of Myself.” As Whitman saw it, poetry could play a vital part in the process of creating a new nation. It could enable Americans to celebrate their release from the Old World and the colonial, rule. And it could also help them understand their new status and to define themselves in the new world of possibilities. Hence, the abundance of themes in his poetry voices freshness. Most of the poems in Leaves of Grass sing of the "en-masse" and the self as well. Some of Whitman's poems are politically committed. In Drum Taps, Whitman expresses much mourning for the sufferings of the young lives in the battlefield and shows a determination to carry on the fighting dauntlessly until the final victory. To strengthen the nature of these new poetical feelings, Whitman employs brand-new means in his poetry, which is first discerned in his style and language. Whitman's poetic style is marked, first of all, by the use of the poetic "I. " Speaking in the voice of "I," Whitman becomes all those people in his poems, and yet still remains "Walt Whitman," hence a discovery of the self in the other with such an identification. Usually, the relationship Whitman is dramatizing is a triangular one: "I" the poet, the subject in the poem, and "you" the reader. Whitman is also radically innovative in terms of the form of his poetry. What he prefers for his new subject and new poetic
feelings is "free verse," that is, poetry without a fixed beat or regular rhyme scheme. of the pictures he paints with words are honest, undistorted images of different aspects of lish. the day. Whitman's vocabulary is amazing.
Contrary to the Most of America
iambic pentameter of traditional poetry, Whitman's is relatively simple and even rather crude.
Another characteristic in Whitman's language is his strong tendency to use oral Eng-
Walt Whitman has proved an immortal figure in American literature because he embodies a new ideal, a new world and a new life-style, and his influence over the following generations is great. Leaves of Grass has always been considered a monumental work which demands great attention because of its uniquely poetic embodiment of American ideals of democracy and equality. 2. Herman Melville is best-known as the author of his mighty book, Mob -Dick (1851), which is one of the world's great masterpieces. Moby Dick is regarded as the first American prose epic. Although it is presented in the form of a novel, at times it seems like a prose poem. It is difficult to read be cause much of the talk in the novel is sailor's talk and much of the language is purposely old-fashioned and Elizabethan. The story is not complicated, dealing with Ahab, a man with an overwhelming resolution to kill the whale which has sheared off his leg on a previous voyage, on board his ship Pequod in the chase of the big whale. The dramatic description of the hazards of whaling makes the book a very exciting sea narrative and builds a literary monument to an era of whaling industry in the nineteenth century. But Moby Dick is not merely a whaling tale or sea adventure, considering that Melville is a great symbolist. It turns out to be a symbolic voyage of the mind in quest of values and knowledge of the universe, a spiritual exploration into man's deep reality and psychology.
Melville uses symbols in this novel. Different people on board the ship are representations of different ideas and different social and ethnic groups; facts become symbols and incidents acquire universal meanings; the Peuqod is the microcosm of human society and the voyage becomes a search for truth. It is a mixture of mystery and realism based upon the South Pacific whaling industry. Nevertheless, the book has been so often interpreted in so many ways, allegorically and symbolically, that now we can conclude that Moby Dick "means" almost as many things as it has readers who are deeply involved in the conflicts of life and in the spirit of conflicts.