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Novels in the 1920s
I.                   F. Scott Fitzgerald
1.         life – participant in 1920s
2.         works
(1)      This Side of Paradise
(2)      Flappers and Philosophers
(3)      The Beautiful and the Damned
(4)      The Great Gatsby
(5)      Tender is the Night
(6)      All the Sad Young Man
(7)      The Last Tycoon
3.         point of view
(1)      He expressed what the young people believed in the 1920s, the so-called “American Dream” is false in nature.
(2)      He had always been critical of the rich and tried to show the integrating effects of money on the emotional make-up of his character. He found that wealth altered people’s characters, making them mean and distrusted. He thinks money brought only tragedy and remorse.
(3)      His novels follow a pattern: dream – lack of attraction – failure and despair.
4.         His ideas of “American Dream”
It is false to most young people. Only those who were dishonest could become rich.
5.         Style
Fitzgerald was one of the great stylists in American literature. His prose is smooth, sensitive, and completely original in its diction and metaphors. Its simplicity and gracefulness, its skill in manipulating the relation between the general and the specific reveal his consummate artistry. (来源:www.EnglishCN.com)
6.         The Great Gatsby
Narrative point of view – Nick
He is related to everyone in the novel and is calm and detected observer who is never quick to make judgements.
Selected omniscient point of view
II.                Ernest Hemingway
1.         life
2.         point of view (influenced by experience in war)
(1)      He felt that WWI had broken America’s culture and traditions, and separated from its roots. He wrote about men and women who were isolated from tradition, frightened, sometimes ridiculous, trying to find their own way.
(2)      He condemned war as purposeless slaughter, but the attitude changed when he took part in Spanish Civil War when he found that fascism was a cause worth fighting for.
(3)      He wrote about courage and cowardice in battlefield. He defined courage as “an instinctive movement towards or away from the centre of violence with self-preservation and self-respect, the mixed motive”. He also talked about the courage with which to face tragedies of life that can never be remedied.
(4)      Hemingway is essentially a negative writer. It is very difficult for him to say “yes”. He holds a black, naturalistic view of the world and sees it as “all a nothing” and “all nada”.
3.         works
(1)      In Our Time
(2)      Men Without Women
(3)      Winner Take Nothing
(4)      The Torrents of Spring
(5)      The Sun Also Rises
(6)      A Farewell to Arms
(7)      Death in the Afternoon
(8)      To Have and Have Not
(9)      Green Hills of Africa
(10)  The Fifth Column
(11)  For Whom the Bell Tolls
(12)  Across the River and into the Trees
(13)  The Old Man and the Sea
4.         themes – “grace under pressure”
(1)      war and influence of war on people, with scenes connected with hunting, bull fighting which demand stamina and courage, and with the question “how to live with pain”, “how human being live gracefully under pressure”.
(2)      “code hero”
The Hemingway hero is an average man of decidedly masculine tastes, sensitive and intelligent, a man of action, and one of few words. That is an individualist keeping emotions under control, stoic and self-disciplined in a dreadful place. These people are usually spiritual strong, people of certain skills, and most of them encounter death many times.
5.         style
(1)      simple and natural
(2)      direct, clear and fresh
(3)      lean and economical
(4)      simple, conversational, common found, fundamental words
(5)      simple sentences
(6)      Iceberg principle: understatement, implied things
(7)      Symbolism
III.             Sinclair Lewis – “the worst important writer in American literature”
1.         life
2.         works
(1)      Main Street
(2)      Babbitt
(3)      Arrowsmith
(4)      Dodsworth
(5)      Elmer Gantry
3.         point of view – satirical critic of American middle class
(1)      Lewis showed the villagers to be narrow-minded, greedy, pretentious and corrupt.
(2)      He attacked middle class for its indifference to art and culture, and its assumption that economic success made it superior.
4.         style
(1)      photographic, verisimilitude
(2)      colloquialism
(3)      characterization: he often created a type of character rather than an individual
(4)      old fashioned in theme
(5)      lack in psychological exploration
IV.              Willa Cather
1.         life
2.         works
(1)      Alexander’s Bridge
(2)      O Pioneers
(3)      The Song of the Lark
(4)      My Antonia
3.         features of her works
(1)      She was one of the few “uneasy survivors of the nineteenth century”. Hanging onto the traditional values, she was never able to come to terms with modernity.
(2)      Old west becomes in most of her novels the centre of moral reference against which modern existence is measured.
(3)      She withdraws in her later fiction into the historical past.
(4)      She often uses women protagonists in her novels.
 
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