midtermreview updated November 2013

What you need to know for your Midterm:
American Literary History through 1914
Terminology used in discussing literature
How to find rhyme, rhythm and meter
How to do basic literary analysis
Review your reading and make sure you are
comfortable with the major themes in
American Literature through 1865.
This section will be multiple choice.
Native American Oral Traditions
Discovery Literature
Pilgrims and Puritans
American Literature in 1700
oVast Expansion in Land and Population
oEnlightenment Ideals
oThe Great Awakening
oBritish Imperialism
oRights and the Pursuit of Happiness
oConflict with Native Americans
oSlavery and division
oThe American Renaissance
oAmerican Literary Nationalism
oEconomics of American Writing
oContinued Conflict with Native
oSlavery and Division Strengthen
Transcendentalist like Emerson and Thoreau -- individual relationship
to universe and duty to disobey unjust laws
Transcendentalism grew out of European romanticism with an
American focus on the individual rights
Great Novelists like Hawthorne and Melville -- The Scarlett Letter and
Moby Dick
Great poets like Emily Dickinson, though few works published in her
Edgar Allan Poe the father of the modern short story and mystery
Also the period where Modern Journalism really takes off and helps
create the next set of authors
oU.S. Transformation
into a modern nation with
improved communication and industrial revolution
Literary Marketplace now able to support many
regional journals and authors
and Naturalism – stress the impact of social
and environmental forces on the individual live
Use this review, the notes from “Young
Goodman Brown,” and the class discussion.
This section will be matching.
Conflict: A struggle between opposing forces in a story or play,
usually resolved by the end of the work. The conflict may occur
within a character as well as between characters.
Protagonist: The main character of a literary work--Hamlet and
Othello in the plays named after them ; not the same as a hero
Antagonist: A character or force against which another character
Climax: The turning point of the action in the plot of a play or story. The
climax represents the point of greatest tension in the work.
Complication: An intensification of the conflict in a story or play.
Complication builds up, accumulates, and develops the primary or central
conflict in a literary work.
Denouement: The resolution of the plot of a literary work.
Exposition: The first stage of a fictional or dramatic plot, in which necessary
background information is provided.
Falling action: In the plot of a story or play, the action following the climax
of the work that moves it towards its denouement or resolution.
Rising action: A set of conflicts and crises that constitute the part of a play's
or story's plot leading up to the climax.
Reversal: The point at which the action of the plot turns in an unexpected
direction for the protagonist.
Inciting Incident: Where the action begins; the part that grabs the reader’s
Types of Characters and Characterization:
Characterization: the narrator or a character in the story tells us
what we need to know about a character or we find out about
characters indirectly through thoughts, comments, or actions of
the characters
Flat: character with few personality traits (few details given)
Round: character with many personality traits (many details given)
Static: a character that does not change personality, beliefs, ideas,
etc. throughout the work
Dynamic: a character that experiences some type of change during
the course of the story due to events
Stock: a a fictional character based on a common literary or social
Types of Narrators and Points of View:
Point of view: the angle from which we see things (through whose
First-person: the narrator is a character in the story and refers to
himself using first-person pronouns ( I, me, my, mine, we, our,
ours, us)
Second-person: uses the word "you"
Third-person: (two kinds)
1. Limited-third: narrator relates the innermost thoughts and
feelings of only one character and tells the story as seen through
the eyes of that character (who may be biased)
2. Omniscient: (all knowing) the narrator tells the thoughts,
feelings, and actions of all the characters
Time/temporal setting
o Historical fiction
o Science fiction
o Location/spatial setting
o Fantasy
o Magical Realism
o Traditional expectations of time and place
o Archetypal setting
o Situation
Types of Symbols
Conventional symbol: a symbol that has an understood or widely
accepted interpretation
Literary: a symbol that has a specific interpretation in a fictional
Allegory: a figurative mode of representation conveying meaning
other than the literal through symbolism
Myth : a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some
being or hero or event often through the use of symbolism
alliteration: Series of words that begin with the
same consonant or sound alike: "on scrolls of silver
snowy sentences"
 assonance: Repetition of vowel sounds, most
commonly within a short passage of verse: “the
silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain”
 consonance: Repetition of consonant sounds, most
commonly within a short passage of verse: “few
flocked to the fight"
pun: When a word or phrase is used in two different senses: "I
think so, Brain, but if we give peas a chance, won't the lima beans
feel left out?"
internal rhyme: Using two or more rhyming words in the same
sentence: “While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —”
cacophony: Juxtaposition of words producing a harsh sound: a
cacophony of hoots, cackles, and wails.
imagery: appeals to one or more of your
five senses (hearing, taste, touch, smell,
• irony: Use of word in a way that conveys a
meaning opposite to its usual meaning
• metaphor: Stating one entity is another for the
purpose of comparing them in quality: “A mighty
fortress is our god.”
• simile: Comparison between two things using like or
as: “Suzie is as quiet as a mouse and as tall as a
oxymoron: Using two terms together, that normally contradict
each other: “Organized chaos”
personification: Attributing or applying human qualities to
inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena: “The sun
opened its sleepy eyes and smiled down on the Earth as a new day
metonymy: Substitution of a word to suggest what is really meant:
"lend me your ear"
synecdoche: Form of metonymy, in which a part stands for the
whole: (Calling workers "hands", e.g. Many hands make light work;
All hands on deck!)
According to the Norton Anthology of
Literature, theme is “a general idea or
insight conveyed by a work in its
o Theme reflects an idea larger than the
text itself; it should be in some way
universal – reflecting on the human
o Theme is not the same as purpose or a
Poetry -- Ideas about Love, Mortality,
Nature, and Spirituality are common.
Fiction – themes can vary widely,
though certain time periods tend to
often have repeated themes. You may
be tested on these in the American
Literary History section.
You will also have a choice of writing
prompts to respond to based upon our
readings. This section will be open book.
Please see the PowerPoint on literary
analysis for further information about
writing about literature:
 Please
let me know if you have any
 Remember
the midterm does not cover
any material from 1914 on. Modernism
and the associated authors will be on the