English 4160/5160
Midterm prep. sheet.

Be prepared to respond to the following.  Actual questions on the exam may be narrower, but they will be taken from the material below.

1.  The following bulleted list is taken from the definition of modernism in Harmon and Holman's A Handbook to Literature.  Discuss how each is revealed in multiple works of literature:

    Modern literature is marked by

2.  To what extent does the literature we have read bear out Gertrude Stein's observation to Ernest Hemingway:  "You are all a lost generation"?  Using the literature as evidence, what are the possible meanings of lost in her statement?

3.  Discuss the recurrence of certain themes:  the waste land, the wounded (ineffectual) hero, the promiscuous woman, dissipation (through drink, sex, wandering).

4.  Discuss McKay's sonnets as propaganda that imitates conventional poetry even as it extends or reinterprets it.  Discuss Hughes technical innovations and explain his pedagogical purpose in writing the kinds of poems he writes.  Be prepared to discuss the theme of racial heritage and identity in each.

5.  Discuss the pecularities of style in Stein as a way to break up ordinary perceptions of reality.  What are the common elements in the "three lives" she creates in her novel?

6.  Be prepared to discuss technical innovations in structure and style in Eliot, Faulkner, and Hughes and compare/contrast them with the simpler styles of Frost, McKay, and Hemingway?    How does the relative complexity or simplicity of each reflect an attitude toward the purpose of literature and the relation between author and reader?