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CN English-American literature test paper (April, 2010) IV

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IV. Topic Discussion(20 points in all, 10 for each)
Write no less than 150 words on each of the following topics in English in the corresponding space  on the answer sheet.

49. Why is Hardy regarded as a naturalistic writer in English literature? Discuss in relation to his novels you know.

A. He read Darwin's The Origin of Species and accepted the idea of "survival of the fittest." He was also  influenced  by  Spencer's  The  First  Principle,  which  led  him  to  the  belief  that  man's fate is
predeterminedly tragic,driven by a combined forces of "nature," both inside and outside.

In his works, man is shown inevitably bound by his won inherent nature and hereditary traits which prompt him to go and search for some specific happiness or success and set him in conflict with the environment. Man proves impotent before Fate, however he tries, and he seldom escapes his ordained destiny.This pessimistic view of life predominates most of Hardy's later works and earns him a reputation as a naturalistic writer.

B. His best local-colored works are his later ones, such as The Return of the Native (1878),  The Trumpet Major (1880), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), Tess  of  the D'Urbervilles and Jude  the  Obscure.  These  works,  known  as  "novels  of  character   and  environment,"  are  the  most representative of him as both a naturalistic and a critical realist writer.

50. Please discuss Henry James’ contribution to American literature  in  regard  to  his  representative
works, themes, writing techniques and language.

A. International themes
In almost all the stories and novels he wrote during this period, James treated with great care the
clashes between two different cultures and the emotional and moral problems of Americans in Europe,
or Europeans in America. Nearly every work is important in its own way in terms of James's cultivation
of the theme.

B. Representative works
Daisy Miller (1878), a novella about a young American girl who gets "killed" by the winter in Rome, brought James international fame for the first time. The Portrait of A Lady (1881) is generally considered to be his masterpiece, which incarnates the clash between the Old World and the New in the life journey of an American girl in a European cultural environment.

C. Language
As to his language, James is not so easy to understand. He is often highly refined and insightful. With a large vocabulary, he is always accurate in word selection, trying to find the best expression for his
literary imagination.

D. Style
Moreover, James's realism is characterized by his psychological approach to his subject matter. One of
James's literary techniques innovated to cater for this psychological emphasis is his narrative
"point of view."

E. Summary
That  is  why  James  is  generally  regarded  as  the  forerunner  of  the  20th-century  "stream-of consciousness" novels and the founder of psychological realism.

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