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CN English-American literature test paper (July, 2006) IV

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IV. Topic Discussion(20 points in sill, I0 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. Under the influence of the leading romantic thinkers like Kant and the Post - Kantians, Romanticists demonstrated a strong reaction against the dominant modes of thinking of the 18th century's Neo-classicists.Discuss,in relation to the works you know, the difference between Romanticism and Neo-classicism.

A. Neo-classicists upheld that artistic ideals should be order, logic, restrained emotion and accuracy, and that literature should be judged in terms of its service to humanity, and thus, literary expressions should be of proportion, unity, harmony and grace. Pope's An Essay on Criticism advocates grace, wit(usually through satire/humor), and simplicity in language(and the poem itself is a demonstration of those ideals, too); Fielding's Tom Jones helped establish the form of novel;Gray's "Elegy written in a Country Churchyard' displays elegance in style, unified structure, serious tone and moral instruction.

B. Romanticists tended to see the individual as the very center of all experience, including art, and thus, literary work should be "spontaneous overflow of strong feelings",and no matter how fragmentary those experiences were(Wordsworth's "I wandered Lonely as a Cloud", or "The Solitary Reaper", or Coleridge's "Kubla Khan"),the value of the work lied in the accuracy of presenting those unique feelings and particular attitudes.

C. In a word, Neo-classicism emphasized rationality and form but Romanticism attached great importance to the individual's mind(emotion,imagination,temporary experience...)

50. Symbolism is an important literary practice in literature and it has been widely used by many American writers. Discuss the way symbolism is used in Melville' s "Moby Dick".

A. To Ahab, the whale is either an evil creature itself or the agent of an evil force that controls the universe, or perhaps both. The chase of the white whale symbolizes Ahab's pursuit of truth and fighting against the evil power.

B.To Ishmael, the whale is an astonishing force, an immense power, which defies rational explanation due to a sense of mystery it carries.

C. It also represents the tremendous organic vitality of the universe.

D. To the readers, the whale can be viewed as a symbol of the physical limits that life imposes upon man.

E. It may also be regarded as symbol of nature. At the end of the chapter, the author says "..the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago." Here the sea symbolizes nature that remains moving but unmoved.

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