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CN English-American literature test paper (April, 2008) IV

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IV.Topic Discussion(20 points in all, 10 for each)

49.Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe was a great success partly because the protagonist was a real middle-class hero. Discuss Crusoe, the protagonist of the novel, as an embodiment of the rising middle-class virtues in the mid-eighteenth century England.

A. Social background: The Eighteenth Century England witnessed the growing importance of the bourgeois or middle class.

a. The Industrial Revolution;
b. The expansion of international markets;
c. Values/virtues/moral standards/...different from those of the feudal aristocratic class, courageous, full of energy, hard working, practical, resourceful, self-reliant, etc.
d. Literature should give/provide a realistic presentation of the life of the common people;it should meet the demand/interest of the middle class people.

B. Robinson Crusoe embodies the virtues of the middle class people.

a. Crusoe as an adventurous/courageous man full of energy and courage(example from the text);
b. Crusoe as a practical man(example from the text);
c. Crusoe as a resourceful/self-reliant man(example from the text);
d. Crusoe as a patient/persistent man(example from the text);
e. And others.

50.“ ‘My faith is gone!’ cried he(Goodman Brown),after one stupefied moment. ‘There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil! For to thee is this world given.’ ”(from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”)Make a comment on this passage.

A. Goodman Brown utters this cry when he finds his wife Faith, together with lots of prominent people of the village and the church, attending a witches 's Sabbath in the woods.

B. His cry shows his great surprise and disillusionment. Thereafter, he becomes distrustful and doubtful. He lives a dismal and gloomy life because he is never able to believe in goodness or piety again. Here the author makes a pun of the word "faith". Goodman Brown loses not only his faith in religion and life, but also his faith in his wife, for his wife's name is Faith.

C. From this story, we can also see that Hawthorne is a great allegorist and a master of symbolism.
The story itself is an allegory and is full of symbols such as the forest, the snake, and the pink ribbon.

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