Fri 13 Mar 2015

The economic depression in the late-nineteenth-century United States contributed significantly to a growing movement in literature toward realism and naturalism. After the 1870' s, a number of important authors began to reject the romanticism that had prevailed immediately following the Civil War of 1861-1865 and turned instead to realism. determined to portray life as it was, with fidelity to real life and accurate representation without idealization, they studied local dialects, wrote stories which focused on life in specific regions of the country, and emphasized the "true" relationships between people. In doing so, they reflected broader trends in the society, such as industrialization, evolutionary theory which emphasized the effect of the environment on humans, and the influence of science.

Realists such as Joel Chandler Harris and Ellen Glasgow depicted life in the South; Hamlin Garland described life on the Great Plains; and Sarah One Jewett wrote about everyday life in rural New England. Another realist, Bret Harte, achieved fame with stories that portrayed local life in the California mining camps.

Samuel Clemens, who adopted the pen name Mark Twain, became the country's most outstanding realist author, observing life around him with a humorous and skeptical eye. In his stories and novels, Twain drew on his own experiences and used dialect and common speech instead of literary language, touching off a major change in American prose style. Other writers became impatient even with realism. Pushing evolutionary theory to its limits, they wrote of a world in which a cruel and merciless environment determined human fate. These writers, called naturalists, often focused on economic hardship, studying people struggling with poverty, and other aspects of urban and industrial life. Naturalists brought to their writing a passion for direct and honest experience.

Theodore Dreiser, the foremost naturalist writer, in novels such as Sister Carrie, grimly portrayed a dark world in which human beings were tossed about by forces beyond their understanding or control. Dreiser thought that writers should tell the truth about human affairs, not fabricate romance, and Sister Carrie, he said, was "not intended as a piece of literary craftsmanship, but was a picture of conditions."


1. Which aspect of late-nineteenth-century United States literature does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) The influence of science on literature
(B) The importance of dialects for realist writers
(C) The emergence of realism and naturalism
(D) The effects of industrialization on romanticism

2. The word "prevailed" in line 3 is closest in meaning to
(A) dominated    
(B) transformed    
(C) entered    
(D) generalized

3. The word "they" in line 8 refers to
(A) authors    
(B) dialects    
(C) stories    
(D) relationships

4. According to the passage, a highly significant factor in the development of realist and naturalist literature was
(A) the Civil War
(B) a recognition that romanticism was unpopular
(C) an increased interest in the study of common speech
(D) an economic depression

5. Realist writers took an interest in all of the following EXCEPT
(A) human relationships        
(B) characteristics of different regions
(C) the idealization of life        
(D) social and historical theories

6. The word "depicted" in line 11 is closest in meaning to
(A) emphasized    
(B) described    
(C) criticized    
(D) classified

7. Why does the author mention mining camps in line 14?
(A) To contrast the themes of realist and naturalist writers
(B) To illustrate how Bret Harte differed from other authors
(C) As an example of a topic taken up by realist writers
(D) As an example of how setting can influence literary style

8. Which of the following wrote about life in rural New England?
(A) Ellen Glasgow        
(B) Sarah Orne Jewett
(C) Hamlin Garland        
(D) Mark Twain

9. Mark Twain is considered an important literary figure because he
(A) was the first realist writer in the United States
(B) rejected romanticism as a literary approach
(C) wrote humorous stories and novels
(D) influenced American prose style through his use of common speech

10. The word "foremost" in line 24 is closest in meaning to
(A) most difficult    
(B) interesting    
(C) most focused    
(D) leading

11. Which of the following statements about Theodore Dreiser is supported by the passage?
(A) He mainly wrote about historical subjects such as the Civil War.
(B) His novels often contained elements of humor.
(C) He viewed himself more as a social commentator than as a literary artist.
(D) He believed writers should emphasize the positive aspects of life.


1)C 2)A 3)A 4)D 5)C 6)B 7)C 8)B 9)D 10)D 11)C

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