51 terms

American Literature Final Exam Review

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close reading
analyzing text for discerning patterns, characterizations, symbolism, philosophy, etc.
romanticism
involved "larger than life" characters in exotic settings; symbolic, allegorical, and subjective
realism
sought to portray life objectively and accurately, "slice of life" technique
pragmatism
truth is tested by its usefulness or practical consequences
local color
literature that focuses on the characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features particular to a specific region
naturalism
literature that depicts social problems and views humans as victims of larger biological, psychological, and social and economic forces
social Darwinism
the misapplication of Darwin's theory of "survival of the fittest" to human politics and society
Walt Whitman
generally considered the greatest American poet; the father of free verse
free verse
a form of poetry that doesn't use rhyme or meter
Song of Myself
an epic poem that depicts the breadth of American experience in the post civil war era
Emily Dickinson
"the woman in white"; proto-feminist
Jack London
"Law of Life"
Determinism
characters do not have free will; external and internal forces control their behavior
Stephen Crane
wrote of nature's indifference to man and of man's insignificance in the universe
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
wrote of a woman who finds meaning and madness behind yellow wallpaper
feminism
collected movements and ideologies intent on establishing equal rights for women
Mark Twain
call the 'Lincoln' of our literature
modernism
literary form prevalent after the first world war; focused on a subjective and confusing state of the human condition
Lost Generation
label applied by Gertrude Stein to American Modernist writers living in Paris
Ezra Pound
told the Modernists to "make it new"
archetype
a character, action, or situation that represents the universal
Robert Frost
explored nature versus civilization; "Mending Wall"
Wallace Stevens
explored perceived reality as an act of imagination; "The Snowman"
William Carlos Williams
Imagist poet; "The Red Wheelbarrow"
H.D.
explored a revisionist view of Greek mythology
blank verse
rhymed iambic pentameter
iambic pentameter
the most common American verse; consists of ten syllable lines with the accent on every second syllable
e. e. cummings
poet known for unconventional syntax and grammatical playfulness
Sigmund Freud
wrote of the id, ego, and superego
stream of consciousness
interior monologue; a literary technique used to depict the inner workings of a character's mind
Countee Cullen
wrote of a racial experience that negatively colored trip to Boston
William Faulkner
wrote of the implications of modernization on Southern identity
unreliable narrator
a narrator that is lying, confused, dysfunctional, under the influence, etc.
southern gothic
literary form addressing the underbelly of Southern U.S. culture and life
Ernest Hemingway
wrote of existential angst and "grace under pressure"
Existentialism
the belief that existence precedes essence
The Harlem Renaissance
a rebirth of African American arts in the 1920s
Zora Neale Hurston
"How it Feels to be Colored Me"
Postmodernism
a parody/rejection of the Modernist attempt to find meaning in the confusing modern world, ultimately suggesting that no such meaning can be found
Theodore Roethke
poetry influenced by growing up in a greenhouse
pastiche
pasting together previous artistic ideas and styles to create something new
Flannery O'Connor
continued the gothic narrative tradition in which the devil comes to town
Metafiction
fiction in which the author self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or literariness of a work by parodying or departing from novelistic conventions
intertextuality
the interrelationships between texts, especially works of literature; the way that related texts influence, reflect, or differ from each other
Jack Kerouac
Wrote of life On the Road
Beat Generation
post WWII authors who explored: non-traditional narrative, spontaneous composition, jazz rhythms, the spiritual quest, religion, anti-materialist values, unpolished portrayals of human experience and life, alcohol, psychedelic drugs, and sexual liberation
Deconstruction
The critical perspective that suggests that all language functions by degrees of comparison (and all comparisons rely on the reader's experience, intelligence, prior knowledge, etc.), thereby eliminating the possibility for a single objective reading
Minimalism
using unexceptional characters, events, and settings to emphasize the pointless or mundane
Varied direction
using a mixture of intellectual ideas, figures, and terms with slang. Lacking a differentiation between "high" and "low" culture
Toni Morrison
explored reader culpability and cultural influence on friendship
Langston Hughes
central figure of the Harlem Renaissance