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American Literature: Time Periods and Themes Early American Fiction (1492 -1789): • Native American Lit: oral tradition, creation myths, reverence for nature. • Explorers: journal entries, nonfiction, an accounting to the king/patron financing the expedition. Christopher Columbus, Captain John Smith • Early Colonial Period: ⋅ Puritan Lit (1600’s): New England, religious in nature, emphasis on work ethic, sermons, ask God to solve your problems, life is a test between good and evil. Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards ⋅ Slave Lit (1700’s): narratives describing slave experiences. Olaudah Equiano, Phyllis Wheatley Revolutionary Period (1776- 1820): political writing on justice and freedom, almanacs, satire, mock epics. Themes related to: Age of Reason/Enlightenment, common sense, scientific investigation rather than religious doctrine, democracy instead of monarchy. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry Romanticism (1820- 1860): reaction to the Age of Reason, novels, poems, short stories, heroic characters. Themes related to: intuition ruled over fact, imagination dominated, emphasis on individualism and the common man, nature or the natural world. Nathaniel Hawthorn, Edgar Allen Poe, Herman Melville, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, James Fennimore Cooper • Transcendentalism (1840 -1855): stressed individualism, and mature and selfreliance. Themes: God is in nature, Nature and man are basically good, death is just a part of life, go to nature to heal and become rejuvenated. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau • Anti-Transcendentalism (1840-1855): (Dark Romantics): Man is basically evil (Original Sin), Nature (woods) are full of sin/Satan; intense guilt; insanity and hallucinations. Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne Realism & Naturalism (1860-1914): began with the Civil War (1861 -1865) and ended with the beginning of WWI (1914 -1918); reaction to Romanticism. • Realism: realistic writings, humor, social problems, a look at America as it really is -–dirt and all. Mark Twain, Henry James •Naturalism: an extreme of Realism, Nature is beautiful but savage, characters lives are shaped by forces they cannot control. Stephen Crane, Jack London Modernism & Experimentation (1914 - 1945): highly experimental, rejecting the traditional, authors seek a unique style of writing, loss of the American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, John Steinbeck • Harlem Renaissance (1920’s): celebration of arts in the Harlem community, blues/jazz infusion. Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Richard Wright
Always read the questions first.Realism & Innovation (1945-present): Contemporary period. This is one of the most important strategies for a reading test -–knowing what information you need and rereading until you find it. Toni Morrison. Skim the paragraphs until you find the ones that discuss the time and the place. Once you have read the passage all the way through. affluence.. it can be an important strategy. etc. Never choose an answer that is not supported by something in the selection or your own background knowledge. If you don’t know the correct answer. . go back and skip through the paragraphs that discuss other ideas or events. Different types of writing: sci-fi. which together would make up the setting. Stephen King. Sometimes it helps to put the question in your own words or circle key words in the passage. Skimming means to glance quickly at a reading passage to get a 6. Make sure you understand exactly what each question is asking. effect. Here’s an example: A test question asks about the setting of a story. This will help you to focus your attention and direct you to the parts of the reading passage that are most important for you to understand. J. use the process of elimination to narrow choices. fantasy. cause. read this part of the passage carefully. 3. 5. Good test takers learn how to go back into the passage again and again to find specific information. However. and changing values. 2. Don’t expect to always know the answers to most questions after only one reading.D. such as not. If the question says According to the passage… or Presented in the passage…. sense of the topics and important ideas. which you can use throughout the test. etc. first. (Use your skimming skills here) 7. It should never be used a substitute for careful reading of the passage. anti-war protests. 4. STOP and take a moment to think about what you will need to look for in the reading passage. Salinger TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES FOR READING PASSAGES 1. Now. last. Themes related to changes of the era: technology. least. This can also be a trick for students who think they can get by without doing the necessary reading. make sure that the answer you choose is based on information you read in the passage.
For time and sequence questions. finally. 11. 14. then. (Underline the words football and soccer in your test booklet as you skim. it is helpful to read the following: sentence that the word is in The . before. a good test taker is also demonstrating understanding or reading comprehension. 13. Never choose an answer that contains any wrong information.” The correct order is -first. Also. Remember to use your clue words for time and sequence: first. pass up your homework. Something like this can fool you on a test. when you have to choose the correct meaning of a word. 15. the writer only mentions football two times. For vocabulary questions. try to sum up everything in one sentence. etc. When you finish a reading passage. so you skim through the passage and learn that soccer is mentioned four times. Remember that a supporting detail just explains or gives more information about the topic.) 12. Don’t confuse a supporting detail with the main idea. you know you have made the correct choice. (This is to test your comprehension. sit down.8. Be aware that the answer to a question is often stated in words that are a little bit different from the exact words used in the reading passage. (Be sure to include the pronouns in your count. always reread the first and last sentences. do not choose this answer.) However. not just word recognition skills. Here’s an example: You are trying to decide whether the main idea is about soccer or football. Think about the paragraphs you have written in class when your teachers have told you to be sure to write about 8 or 10 sentences that explain about your topic sentence or main idea. For main idea questions. but the answer choice uses the word fatalities. skim through the reading passage to see how many times each of the answer choices is discussed. You can be pretty confident that the main idea is about soccer. but may not be complete enough to be the best answer. 10. This should be very close to the main idea. don’t always expect to find all of the events given to you in correct order in the passage. Understand that part of an incorrect answer is often correct. 9. If any part of an answer choice is wrong. Here’s an example: A passage about the Civil War discusses the casualties of war. This way. and second. By choosing the answer choice that contains the word fatalities. last. These directions are not in order: “Pass up your homework after you sit down.
and sentences that surround the word you do not know.The sentence right after This area of the passage surrounding the word is called the context. phrases. .The sentence right before . Context clues are the words..
Almanac American Dream Poor Richard’s Almanack by Ben Franklin American Individualism Analogy Left: right::up: down Antagonist Luke Skywalker vs. he looks great in a football uniform. but I understand he can’t throw the ball more than 10 feet. Individual achievement and ambition helped them survive. and characters are symbols for ideas or qualities. many man and women who came to America were seeking a new life. This is the reference to a person. Word parts that when added to words change their meaning or part of speech This is a story with two or more levels of meaning—a literal level and a symbolic level—in which events. Darth Vader . Yeah. or event from history.GHSGT Terms—A to Z (okay. okay A-W) Term Aesthetic Definition The beauty of something rather than its usefulness. Un+believe+able=unbelievable “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne Affixes Allegory Alliteration Allusion The soft rain soothed my soul. literature. perseverance. and determination of each generation A common theme in American literature. The character or force that opposes the protagonist In Action Gosh. The repetition of initial consoant sounds at the beginning of words. setting. This is a comparison based on a similarity between things that are otherwise dissimilar. or religion with which a reader is likely to be familiar A reference text that has collections of facts from year to year A common theme in American Literature. the chance for the good life that motivates the hard work. place.
This is the original model for a person. or idea appearing later in history. “Everyone is using ProActiv!” A “works cited” page at the end of a research paper. The bad guy is in the black cowboy hat. By authority—using authority figures. a student might have a bias (because he wishes to attend that college) toward the best college football team. By logic—using reasoning and evidence to persuade the reading that a certain opinion or position makes sense week-seed Autobiography of Ben Franklin Assonance Autobiography Ballad Bias Bandwagon Bibliography Biography Blank verse Not really a full rhyme. or myth. It is a symbol. experts. literature. but similar vowel sounds Story of a person’s life told by that person A narrative poem. or theme that has universal meaning. place. an opinion A persuasive technique that tries to make the consumer want to be part of a group A list of resources used by the author found at the end of a report that cites or gives credit to any book you consulted. This involves one or more reasons presented by a speaker or writer to lead the audience or reader to a logical conclusion.Archetypal Character Archetype Argument This is a character in a work that is very typical of a certain type of person. intended to be sung This is a prejudice that is leaning toward a positive or negative judgment on something. Beauty. thing. etc. or famous people who recommend something By emotion—using appeals made to feelings or reactions to love. really works to clean teeth whiter” (we forgot to tell you. Story of a person’s life told by another person. folklore. character. often of folk origin. hate. truth. Unrhymed iambic pentameter For example. happiness. . setting. goodness. “Birches” by Robert Frost WHEN I see birches bend to left and right Across the line of straighter darker trees Card stacking A persuasive technique where only good information “It really. and sin are all examples of this literary term.
or machine. Hale. Common literary conflicts occur with nature. Tituba. ejects projectile/Whether Jew or gentile I rank top percentile. This blending of various people has allowed a diversity of ideas and practices. and nox Authors: William Bradford—Of Plymouth Plantation Jonathan Edwards—Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Anne Bradstreet—“To My Dear and Loving Husband” Ben Franklin—Autobiography. and political unrest. noche. self. enabling other it causes cavities. A type of slant rhyme. The high point of the conflict when the most action or excitement takes place Words of different languages that share the same root word An American literary period (1620-1750) when the focus was on historical events. nott. society. or through direct description Climax Cognate Colonial Period: Night. nacht. usually found before or after the unknown word. nicht. Poor Richard’s Almanac “Much Ado About Nothing” “Man vs. too—oops!) Abigail. Lighthearted play intended to amuse the audience A struggle that is part of the plot and can trigger action in the plot. Food” tv show Comedy Conflict Consonance Zealots by the Fugees: "Rap rejects my tape deck. daily life. A common literary theme in American literature involving many different cultures coming to American and mixing with both successes and failures. Rev." Context clues Cultural Diversity . and John Proctor from The Crucible Revealed by: the character’s own words. what the character does. words have the same consonant sounds at the beginning or end but vowel sounds are different Words or phrases that help readers to define unknown words. nuit. The people or individuals involved in the story or drama The ways that an author shows readers what a character in a literary selection is like. moral attitudes (Puritanism). notte. what others say or think about the character.Characters Characterizatio n is presented.
advertisement. The narrator relates events Diary of Anne Frank Romeo and Juliet The Crucible Exit: stage left Galileo or SIRS Researcher in our media center The cat sat/on the mat Anecdotes. “I”. databases. and hyperbole are examples. A type of character who changes Statements of fact or opinion found in a newspaper or magazine. The action that follows the climax as the plot winds down. or web page made the point it was trying to establish. newspapers Metaphor. biographies. It can offer opinions. textbooks. Information imparted by characters that helps to explain the situation at the beginning of a play or story. guides. and directors. and concrete manner. DVDs. encyclopedias. scientific books/journals. actors. and thoughts of people from another time. A type of literature that exists both as a written text and as a staged event with actors interpreting the words. or statistics. A judgment made by a reader about evidence that a film. Autobiographical record. clear.Denouement Diary Drama Dramatic conventions Dynamic character Editorial Effectiveness Electronic media End rhyme Evidence Exposition Expository text Falling action Figurative language First person groups to succeed. “me” and “we” are common . simile. atlases. The Internet. directions. personification. or CDs which provide research information electronically Most common form of rhyming where words at the ends of lines rhyme Facts that support main and subordinate ideas. facts. A mode of writing whose purpose is to convey information or to explain and establish the validity of an idea in a logical. Generally agreed upon terms used by playwrights. Part of the story between its climax and resolution Colorful language that adds meaning.
Everyday speech. A type of poetry that has no specific rules of rhyme. science fiction W. Historical context Hyperbole Idiom Imagery Informal language Internal rhyme . drama. smell. There are actually two ongoing stories: one about the narrator and another told by the narrator. taste. meter. fiction. romance. Traditional verse with a rhyme scheme. It usually consists of fairly short sentences and simple vocabulary. “It is raining cats and dogs outside. Poetry. Rhyming words are found clues to this POV.” Meaning: it is raining hard NOT that you’re going to go outside and step in a poodle . A structure where an author interrupts a scene to go back and tell about events that occurred earlier. Zora Neale Hurston. mystery/suspense. and Richard Wright The Crucible—about the Salem Witch Trials. It usually has longer sentences and a greater variety of words than everyday speech. and sight. nonfiction. Countee Cullen. DuBois.E. An American literary period that occurred within the Modern period and featured many African-American writers. Teachers want you to use formal language when writing essays. the smell of the salt air. and the cool breeze from the ocean made my walk on the beach a great escape from the chaos at home. An extreme exaggeration used in a literary work. Langston Hughes.B. A structure where a story is told within a story.) The ooze of the sand between my toes. The setting and circumstances in which a literary work is written or an event occurs. Sonnets William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury mixes scenes from seven major time periods.point of view Fixed form Flashback structure Formal language Frame narrative Free form Genre Harlem Renaissance from a personal perspective using his or her own words. BUT a historical match for McCarthy Era (another “witch hunt”) The rain seemed to last for one hundred years. or length The category or type of literature. Walt Whitman wrote in free verse. horror. A phrase in common use that can not be understood by literal or ordinary meanings. Used by writers of scholarly books. hearing. Every single text you’ve sent since you’ve been in the study session! :D Once upon a midnight dreary. The use of language that appeals to the five sense— touch.
weak and weary. His words are a warm blanket over my heart. and subject matter. A style of writing that explores many of the same subjects and themes that modern literature has treated. and sonnets are often lyric poems. it climbs and chokes native trees and plants. "tapping at my chamber door — Edgar Allan Poe Kudzu . The writer states that one thing is another even if they are different. nearly napping. While I nodded. A comparison of two things directly without using the words like or as.a vine imported to the United States in the 1930s and planted all over the South at the direction of the US Government in order to prevent soil erosion. rapping at my chamber door. Since 1900 or so. odes. Arthur Miller. Irony A situation or a statement that is opposite of what is expected. defined by shared characteristics.within a line of poetry. Literal language Literary periods Lyric poetry Metaphor Modern drama Language that states the meaning of a word as it is commonly defined Time frame or collection of authors grouped by style or theme. As of some one gently rapping. suddenly there came a tapping. Elegies. slice-of-life dramas allow the audience to view contemporary existence through themes of alienation and a sense of being Romanticism and Realism are literary periods. "'Tis some visitor. Romantic or descriptive poems that contain an expression of the poet’s feelings and thoughts. This includes: style of writing." I muttered. while I pondered. Tennessee Williams . Instead of preventing erosion. such as saying one thing and doing another. Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore. the genre chosen. thus causing even more erosion.
Nature was often cruel as humans thought to survive. The sequence of events in fiction. items in a series in a similar form: I came. A statement that at first seems self-contradictory but which upon reflection makes sense. An American literary period (1880-1940) which was an extension of Realism. Much of that tradition was lost with the coming of the Europeans. In a sentence or paragraph. Fears and disillusionment were also part of this period. (all gerunds) The wind whispered through the trees. The earliest literature of the aboriginal population was an oral tradition. and T. I saw. Scott Fitzgerald. as well as the importance of land and place. Eliot are authors.Modern period Mood Narrative poem Narrator Native American Period Naturalism Paradox Parallel structure Personification Plot disconnected. a Great Depression. and skiing are sports she enjoys. “less is more” Skating. I conquered. The focus was on the natural and sacred worlds. running. or actor who is telling a story about other people An American literary period (pre-1620-1840). and increased commercialism which caused writers to explore themes of alienation and change. F. An American literary period (1900-1950) featuring World Wars. . Writers sought to explore how human nature controlled other people’s lives. “Earth on Turtle’s Back” and “When Grizzlies Walked Upright” are examples from the Native American period Jack London’s Call of the Wild and White Fang are examples of Naturalism.S. A speaker. Ernest Hemingway. author. A form of figurative language that gives human characteristics to something that is not human. The affect that the story has upon the reader A poetic structure that tells a story and describes the purpose behind the writing.
public records and documents. An American literary period (1950-present) featuring irony. and Thomas Paine are all writers from this time period. third person omniscient “The Crucible” Kurt Vonnegut’s Fahrenheit 451 Memoirs. First person. or series of lines that is repeated. A record of events by someone who participated in or witnessed the events directly. An Asian restaurant named “Wok and Roll” Mark Twain’s Huck Finn Realism Refrain Resolution Revolutionary Period and Nationalism An American literary period (1850-1900) when rural life gave way to industrialization and larger cites. third person limited. absurdity.Point of view (POV) Political drama Postmodern Period/ Contemporary Period Primary source Protagonist Pun The perspective of a piece of writing. The main character of a story A term for a play on words that have a similar meaning. personal interviews Abigail Williams in The Crucible. . A word. A refrain tends to make a poem easier to memorize. Local color was apart as the writing portrayed different regions (South and West) accurately. Usually these are about current topics or political events. recite. The completion of the plot. diaries. phrase. and the most related to a topic or incident in time. Authors focused on the often cruel realities of this new world. and cynical attitudes. and recall. how the author presents the world A play with a political aspect to it. These sources are called primary because they would be the first recorded. Tom Walker in “The Devil and Tom Walker” Seafood diet: I see food and I eat it. newspaper stories. An American literary period (1750-1815) when political writing dominated during and after the American Thomas Jefferson. adding rhythm and emphasis to a song or poem. Ben Franklin. journals. The playwright uses drama to advocate a certain political point of view. second person.
A record of events by someone w ho did not participate directly in the subject matter. Nationalism and patriotism were explored. Where and when the actions in a story or drama take place. Again…grain or stain Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets . nature. imagination. Rising action Romanticism and Transcendenta lism Secondary source Second person point of view Setting Simile Slant rhyme Sonnet Part of a literary work that introduces characters and the first events in the plot that lead into the major conflicts. Of course. Your mother says. These sources are usually collected after an event has occurred. used as a persuasive technique. The writers uses the words like or as to make a connection between the meanings. A lyric poem with 14 rhymed Individualism. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick Edgar Allan Poe—everything Textbooks. A viewpoint where the author or the narrator addresses the reader directly. “do you think I’m just talking to hear myself talk?”. Many books or magazine articles appear to be taken from eyewitnesses.you’ve been ignoring her all day. The final words of lines in a poem have sounds that are similar but the vowel sounds are different.. MA in 1692 The balloon rose like a moon.Rhetorical questions Revolution. Obviously you think she is. particularly if an event occurred long ago. encyclopedias. and other nonfiction books are often secondary sources. “you” or “your” is a clue to this POV The Crucible—Salem. and emotions are features of this period. An American literary period (1800-1855) when philosophical attitudes of writers of this period were formed in reaction to the earlier periods in which reason and rational thought dominated. creativity.” Questions with obvious answers. A direct comparison between two things. but often they rely on secondary sources. as well as what it means to be “American.. it is best that you don’t confirm her suspicions.
authors develop a signature way of looking at the world. The narrator is outside the action and refers to characters as “he”. A style of writing in which the narrator tells the story from the perspective of one character. The characteristics of a given writer’s body of work.Stereotyping Stream of consciousness Style Suffix Symbolism Theme Thesis Third person limited POV Third person omniscient POV Tolerance lines. or object in a way that adds significance beyond its surface meaning. A common literary theme in American Literature. “her” To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel that explores this theme. The narrator is godlike and knows all the character’s thoughts and feelings as well as information about all events. A controlling idea for a paragraph or set of paragraphs or a whole work that is supported by providing evidence from a variety of sources. Slow +ly = slowly The importance of forgiveness “they” . “she”. that features unconnected thoughts of a character. Universal truths about life an author brings out in his or her work. A thing stands for something else. . Over time and various works. A style of writing introduced in the Modern period. An affix added to the end of a word that may change a word from a verb to a noun. a noun to an adjective or an adjective to an adverb A style of writing that uses a person. or “them”. knowing only that character’s thoughts and feelings. place. Unlike All tall people are good basketball players. It usually expresses a universal view on life and society. A persuasive technique that simplifies a complex group. “him”.
Critical. angry. pathetic. it’s warm today. The reader’s emotion is controlled by the author’s use of language. reverent. The common trials and joys that most humans share. Birth. playful. cynical. The emotions or mood conveyed by the language an author uses. Love. Freedom of religion and the rights of each human are cornerstones of the American outlook on the world. A rhetorical technique that minimizes or lessens the importance of what was meant for effect. malicious. condescending.” This is the opposite of hyperbole.Tone Tragedy Understateme nt Universal life experiences older European and Asian societies where class rules and religion did not allow any differences. A serious play that ends in disaster and sorrow. joyful. “My. serious Romeo and Juliet In the middle of the dessert heat. cheerful. Weddings. which make up the plot of fictional stories. Death. a character says. . American society embraced them.
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