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CN English-American literature test paper (April, 2001) 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. 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.
1. The Industrial Revolution
2. The expansion of international markets;
3. Values/virtues/moral standards/...different from those of the feudal aristocratic class -courageous, full of energy, hard working, practical, resourceful, self-reliant, etc; thus
4. 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 virtue of the middle class people.
1. Crusoe as an adventurous/courageous man full of energy and courage: (example from the text):
2. Crusoe as a practical man: (example from the text);
3. Crusoe as a resourceful/self-reliant man: (example from the text);
4. Crusoe as a patient/persistent man: (example from the text);
5. And others.

50. Mark Twain presented the 19th century America in his own unique way. Discuss Twain’s art of fiction: the setting, the language, and the characters, etc., based on his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

A. Mark Twain shaped the world's view of America and made an extensive combination of American folk humor and serious literature.
B. The novel has become a great contribution to the legacy of American literature.
C. The novel is written in language that is totally different from the rhetorical language used by his contemporary writers such as Emerson, Poe and Melville. It is simple, direct, lucid and faithful to the colloquial speech. This style of colloquialism is best described as "vernacular".
D. He successfully used local color and historical settings to illustrate and shed light on the contemporary society. That's why he is known as a local colorist.
E. Mark Twain's humor is remarkable, too. Most of his works tend to be funny, containing some practical jokes, comic details, witty remarks, etc. Some of them are typical of tall tales. And a great deal of his humor is characterized by puns, straight-faced exaggeration, repetition, and anti-climax. He uses his humor to criticize the social injustice and satirize the decayed romanticism.

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