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Southern Literature
I.                   Heritage
American southern literature can date back to Edgar Allen Poe, and reach its summit with the appearance of the two “giants” – Faulkner and Wolfe. There are southern women writers – Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, and Flannery O’Connor.
 
II.                Southern Myths – guilt, failure, poverty
1.         Chevalier heritage
2.         Agrarian virtue
3.         Plantation aristocracy
4.         Lost cause
5.         White supremacy
6.         Purity of womanhood
Southern literature: twisted, pessimistic, violent, distorted
Gothic novel: Poe
III.             William Faulkner
1.         life
2.         literary career: three stages
(1)      1924~1929: training as a writer
l The Marble Faun
l Soldier’s Pay
l Mosquitoes
(2)      1929~1936: most productive and prolific period
l Sartoris
l The Sound and the Fury
l As I Lay Dying
l Light in August
l Absalom, Absalom
(3)      1940~end: won recognition in America
l Go Down, Moses
3.         point of view
He generally shows a grim picture of human society where violence and cruelty are frequently included, but his later works showed more optimism. His intention was to show the evil, harsh events in contrast to such eternal virtues as love, honour, pity, compassion, self-sacrifice, and thereby expose the faults of society. He felt that it was a writer’s duty to remind his readers constantly of true values and virtues. (来源:英语麦当劳 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
4.         themes
(1)      history and race
He explains the present by examining the past, by telling the stories of several generations of family to show how history changes life. He was interested in the relationship between blacks and whites, especially concerned about the problems of the people who were of the mixed race of black and white, unacceptable to both races.
(2)      Deterioration
(3)      Conflicts between generations, classes, races, man and environment
(4)      Horror, violence and the abnormal
5.         style/features of his works
(1)      complex plot
(2)      stream of consciousness
(3)      multiple point of view, circular form
(4)      violation of chronology
(5)      courtroom rhetoric: formal language
(6)      characterization: he was able to probe into the psychology of characters
(7)      “anti-hero”: weak, fable, vulnerable (true people in modern society)
He has a group of women writers following him, including O’Connor and Eudora Welty
Section 2 The 1930s
Radical 1930s
I.                   Background
Great Depression (1929 “Black Thursday”)
II.                Literature
1.         Writers of the 1920s were still writing, but they didn’t produce good works.
2.         The main stream is left-oriented.
III.             Writers of 1930s
1.         social concern and social involvement
2.         revival of naturalistic tradition of Dreiser and Norris
IV.              John Steinbeck
1.         life
2.         works
(1)      Cup of Gold
(2)      Tortilla Flat
(3)      In Dubious Battle
(4)      Of Mice and Men
(5)      The Grapes of Wrath
(6)      Travels with Charley
(7)      Short stories: The Red Pony, The Pearl
3.         point of view
(1)      His best writing was produced out of outrage at the injustices of the societies, and by the admirations for the strong spirit of the poor.
(2)      His theme was usually simple human virtues, such as kindness and fair treatment, which were far superior to the dehumanizing cruelty of exploiters.
4.         style
(1)      poetic prose
(2)      regional dialect
(3)      characterization: many types of characters rather than individuals
(4)      dramatic factors
(5)      social protect: spokesman for the poverty-stricken people
5.         The Grapes of Wrath
 
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