Final exam on literature


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FINAL EXAM ON LITERATURE

  1. Write about Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller. Tennessee Williams, Sam Sheppard dramaturgy.

Two post-World War II playwrights established reputations comparable to Eugene O’Neill’sArthur Miller wrote eloquent essays defending his modern, democratic concept of tragedy; despite its abstract, allegorical quality and portentous language, Death of a Salesman (1949) came close to vindicating his views. Miller’s intense family dramas were rooted in the problem dramas of Henrik Ibsen and the works of the socially conscious ethnic dramatists of the 1930s, especially Clifford Odets, but Miller gave them a metaphysical turn. From All My Sons (1947) to The Price (1968), his work was at its strongest when he dealt with father-son relationships, anchored in the harsh realities of the Great Depression. Yet Miller could also be an effective protest writer, as in The Crucible (1953), which used the Salem witch trials to attack the witch-hunting of the McCarthy era.Though his work was uneven, Tennessee Williams at his best was a more powerful and effective playwright than Miller. Creating stellar roles for actors, especially women, Williams brought a passionate lyricism and a tragic Southern vision to such plays as The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), and The Night of the Iguana (1961). He empathized with his characters’ dreams and illusions and with the frustrations and defeats of their lives, and he wrote about his own dreams and disappointments in his beautifully etched short fiction, from which his plays were often adapted.Miller and Williams dominated the post-World War II theatre until the 1960s, and few other playwrights emerged to challenge them. Then, in 1962, Edward Albee’s reputation, based on short plays such as The Zoo Story (1959) and The American Dream (1960), was secured by the stunning power of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A master of absurdist theatre who assimilated the influence of European playwrights such as Samuel Beckett and Eugène Ionesco, Albee established himself as a major figure in American drama. His reputation with critics and audiences, however, began to decline with enigmatic plays such as Tiny Alice (1964) and A Delicate Balance (1966), but, like O’Neill, he eventually returned to favour with a complex autobiographical drama, Three Tall Women (1994).Eugene O’Neil brought gravitas to the American theater. Tennessee Williams allowed it to lyrically sing. Arthur Miller raised its political temperature. And Edward Albee infused it with an absurdist flair.But it took Sam Shepard, the greatest playwright to emerge from the economically strapped, artistically fertile off-off Broadway movement launched in the 1960s, to make the American theater finally seem cool.Shepard, whose death from complications of Lou Gehrig’s disease at age 73 was announced Monday, may be remembered by the entertainment media as the handsomely chiseled film star who was long linked romantically to Jessica Lange. But his enduring legacy exists as the author of such emotionally naked, dreamlike dramas as “The Tooth of Crime, “Curse of the Starving Class,” “Buried Child” (awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979), “True West,” “Fool for Love,” and “A Lie of the Mind.”

  1. What do you know about United States laureate poet Rita Dawning works. Jamaican Kingside, Tony Cathy Bambara, and Walker portray the dreams and failures of people who are close and trustworthy in the work of modern novelists?

Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio, the daughter of one of the first Black chemists in the tire industry. Dove was encouraged to read widely by her parents, and she excelled in school. She was named a Presidential Scholar, one of the top 100 high school graduates in the country, and attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio as a National Merit Scholar. After graduating, Dove received a Fulbright to study at the University of Tübingen in West Germany, and later earned an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she met her husband, the German writer Fred Viebahn. Dove made her formal literary debut in 1980 with the poetry collection The Yellow House on the Corner, which received praise for its sense of history combined with individual detail. The book heralded the start of long and productive career, and it also announced the distinctive style that Dove continues to develop. In works like the verse-novel Thomas and Beulah (1986), which won the Pulitzer Prize, On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Sonata Mulattica (2009), Dove treats historical events with a personal touch, addressing her grandparents’ life and marriage in early 20th-century Ohio, the battles and triumphs of the Civil Rights era, and the forgotten career of Black violinist and friend to Beethoven, George Polgreen Bridgetower. Poet Brenda Shaughnessy noted that “Dove is a master at transforming a public or historic element—re-envisioning a spectacle and unearthing the heartfelt, wildly original private thoughts such historic moments always contain.”

Dove received the 2017 NAACP Image Award and the 2017 Library of Virginia Award for her Collected Poems: 1974-2004 (2016), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her other numerous honors and awards include the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, a Common Wealth Award, and a National Humanities Medal.

Her work is known for its lyricism and beauty as well as its sense of history and political scope. She frequently writes about other art forms, including music in Sonata Mulattica (2009) and dance in the collection American Smooth (2004). Writing in the New York Times, Emily Nussbaum noted how dance and poetry connect for Dove: “For Dove, dance is an implicit parallel to poetry. Each is an expression of grace performed within limits; each an art weighted by history but malleable enough to form something utterly new.” Sonata Mulattica follows the tempestuous life of 18th-century violinist Bridgetower, who took Europe by storm, had a famous sonata composed for him, and died in obscurity. The Los Angeles Times described Dove’s book as an “ambitious effort, using multiple distinctive voices and perspectives to chronicle the complex tale ‘of light and shadow, / what we hear and the silence that follows.’” Poet Mark Doty called the work “richly imagined,” with “the sweep and vivid characters of a novel, but … written with a poet’s economy, an eye for the exact detail.”

In addition to poetry, Dove has published works of fiction, including the short story collection Fifth Sunday (1990) and the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992). Her play The Darker Face of the Earth (1996) was produced at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Dove is also an acclaimed lyricist, and has written lyrics for composers ranging from Tania León to John Williams. Of her forays into other genres, Dove told Black American Literature Forum, “There’s no reason to subscribe authors to particular genres. I’m a writer, and I write in the form that most suits what I want to say.” Dove’s own work, the popular Thomas and Beulah, was staged as an opera by Museum for Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2001.

Dove has had a tremendous impact on American letters, not only through the scope of her poetry, but also through her work as an advocate. She was named US poet laureate in 1993. Just 40 years old at the time of her appointment, she was the youngest poet ever elected to the position. She was also the first African American to hold the title (Gwendolyn Brooks had been named consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985). Dove was also the first poet laureate to see the appointment as a mandate to generate public interest in the literary arts. She traveled widely during her term, giving readings in a variety of venues from schools to hospitals. Dove noted in the Washington Post that her appointment was “significant in terms of the message it sends about the diversity of our culture and our literature.” Dove has continued to play an important role in the reception of American poetry through her work as editor of the Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry (2011). The omnibus collection of a century-worth of American verse stirred controversy and generated new dialogues about the legacy of American poetry, and its current state. Many praised the anthology for its inclusiveness and scope, however. Katha Pollitt in The Nation called it “comprehensive and broad-ranging,” whatever its omissions. Dove is currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.



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