Short Summaries of the Books

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Short Summaries of the Books

You Have to Read in the course of
the English Literature by Stulov

Thursday, April 3 2002

Contents
1.AN OVERVIEW OF THE DEVELOPMENT FROM THE 17TH TO THE 20TH CENTURIES2 2.ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN5
3.ALL THE KING’S MEN13
4.CATCH-2222
5.CATCHER IN THE RYE31
6.FAREWELL TO ARMS35
7.GRAPES OF WRATH41
8.GREAT GATSBY46
9.LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO THE NIGHT49
10.MOBY DICK53
11.SCARLET LETTER63
12.SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE67
13.SOUND AND THE FURY73
14.STREETCAR NAMED ”DESIRE”87

AN OVERVIEW OF THE DEVELOPMENT FROM THE 17TH TO THE 20TH CENTURIES

Like other national literatures, American literature was shaped by the history of the country that produced it. For almost a century and a half, America was merely a group of colonies scattered along the eastern seaboard of the North American continent--colonies from which a few hardy souls tentatively ventured westward. After a successful rebellion against the motherland, America became the United States, a nation. By the end of the 19th century this nation extended southward to the Gulf of Mexico, northward to the 49th parallel, and westward to the Pacific. By the end of the 19th century, too, it had taken its place among the powers of the world--its fortunes so interrelated with those of other nations that inevitably it became involved in two world wars and, following these conflicts, with the problems of Europe and East Asia. Meanwhile, the rise of science and industry, as well as changes in ways of think-ing and feeling, wrought many modifications in people's lives. All these factors in the development of the United States molded the literature of the country. The 17th century

American literature at first was naturally a colonial literature, by authors who were Englishmen and who thought and wrote as such. John Smith, a soldier of fortune, is credited with initiating American literature. His chief books included A True Relation of . . . Virginia . . . (1608) and The generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624). Although these volumes often glorified their author, they were avowedly written to explain colonizing opportunities to Englishmen. In time, each colony was similarly described: Daniel Denton's Brief Description of New York (1670), William Penn's Brief Account of the Province of Pennsylvania (1682), and Thomas Ashe's Carolina (1682) were only a few of many works praising America as a land of economic promise.Such writers acknowledged British allegiance, but others stressed the differences of opinion that spurred the colonists to leave their homeland. More important, they argued questions of government involving the relationship between church and state. The attitude that most authors attacked was jauntily set forth by Nathaniel Ward of Massachusetts Bay in The Simple Cobler of Aggawam in America (1647). Ward amusingly defended the status quo and railed at colonists who sponsored newfangled notions. A variety of counterarguments to such a conservative view were published. John Winthrop's Journal (written 1630-49) told sympathetically of the attempt of Massachusetts Bay Colony to form a theocracy--a state with God at its head and with its laws based upon the Bible. Later defenders of the theocratic ideal were Increase Mather and his son Cotton. William Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation (through 1646) showed how his pilgrim Separatists broke completely with Anglicanism. Even more radical than Bradford was Roger Williams, who, in a series of controversial pamphlets, advocated not only the separation of church and state but also the vesting of power in the people and the tolerance of different religious beliefs.The utilitarian writings of the 17th century included biographies, treatises, accounts of voyages, and sermons. There were few achievements in drama or fiction, since there was a widespread prejudice against these forms. Bad...
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