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Cultural Literacy Test - American Literature I

Take your time with the following cultural literacy test. If you select the correct answer it will be highlighted in green and the related information will be shown. If the first answer selected is incorrect, it will be highlighted in yellow, indicating try again. If the second answer selected is incorrect, the correct answer will be displayed. See the Bibliography to learn more about this test.

Wrong Answer Try Again Correct
1. Who wrote Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Glass Menagerie?
Eugene O'Neill
Sam Shepard
Tennessee Williams
Edward Albee
2. Langston Hughes was a writer of
poetry
novels
plays
all of the above
3. A black writer known for his antiracist essays and novels of black life is
Imamu Amirt Baraka
Thomas Pynchon
Norman Mailer
James Baldwin
4. The novel for which Nathaniel Hawthorne is best known is
The Scarlet Letter
The Deerslayer
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
Sister Carrie
5. The novelist who satirized small-town life, the scientist's search for truth, and evangelism is
Saul Bellow
Sinclair Lewis
Nathanael West
John Dos Passos
6. One of the major themes of The Great Gatsby is
the corruption of American innocence through the pursuit of wealth
the prejudices and injustices of Americans toward American Indians
the acceptance of death as a part of nature
the loss of faith and the triumph of science
7. The book that made Ralph Ellison famous is the story of
life in the Chicago stockyards
a boy who is sent to reform school
a black man's search for identity in the 1930s
a drummer and drug addict in the slums of Chicago
8. Ezra Pound was known for
his novels of social conscience
his pro-Communist essays
his deeply religious poems and short stories
his poetry, criticism, and political views
9. Of what kind of poetry are these lines characteristic? "I arise from rest with movements swift / As the beat of the raven's wings."
Southern poetry
American Indian poetry
Haiku
Romantic poetry
10. A Nobel Prize winner known for his mystical tales of Jewish life and folklore is
Isaac Bashevis Singer
Frederik Pohl
Saul Bellow
Henry Miller
11. What are Jack London's best-known novels?
Seize the Day and Herzog
Babylon Revisited and Tender Is the Night
The Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf
The Naked and the Dead and Armies of the Night
12. When you think of E. E. Cummings, what stylistic eccentricity comes to mind?
his use of obscenity in poetry
his use of onomatopoeia in poetry
his use of dissonance in poetry
his use of only lowercase letters in poetry
13. Who is the author of the novels Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth?
Edith Wharton
Alice James
Alice Walker
Carson McCullers
14. Eugene O'Neill is the author of
Waiting for Lefty, Awake and Sing! and Golden Boy
The Emperor Jones, A Long Day's Journey Into Night, and The Iceman Cometh
American Buffalo, The Woods, and Glengarry Glen Ross
True West, Fool for Love, and Buried Child
15. A nineteenth-century writer known for his Romantic poetry and macabre stories is
Washington Irving
James Fenimore Cooper
Edgar Allan Poe
Bret Harte
16. Who was Emily Dickinson?
a nineteenth-century novelist who explored women's sexual and emotional dependence
a nineteenth-century poet who used the imagery of nature to explore human consciousness
a twentieth-century poet who experimented with unusual stanza forms
a twentieth-century writer who explored the black Midwestern experience
17. Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson Mc­Cullers are all
poets who focused on the struggle for female inde­pendence
novelists who wrote satires of midwestern life
playwrights who explored the isolation of modern women
novelists who wrote about the American South
18. Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize, John Steinbeck wrote
V and Gravity's Rainbow
The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men
A Death in the Family and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Ragtime and Loon Lake
19. What is the major theme of Thornton Wilder's play Our Town?
Even the smallest moments in life have great value and meaning.
Life in big cities is spiritually degrading.
Children are the means of humankind's immortality.
The American Dream has become meaningless.
20. Why is Walden Pond an important location in American literary history?
It is the body of water in which Virginia Woolf drowned herself.
It is the body of water around which the Lake poets lived.
It is where Henry Thoreau lived and recorded his impressions
It is the setting for Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies.
21. Who wrote the lines: "The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, / But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep"?
Anne Sexton
Robert Frost
A. R. Ammons
Robert Lowell
22. What is transcendentalism?
a movement led by Alfred Jarry that stressed the lack of reason in human existence
a movement led by Jean-Paul Sartre that stated that existence precedes essence
a movement led by Tristan Tzara that tried to negate all traditional values In the arts
a movement led by Ralph Waldo Emerson that stressed the divinity of man
23. What do Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Mickey Spillane have in common?
They are poets in the modernist tradition.
They are all writers of detective fiction.
They wrote novels of rural life in the Southeast.
They are biographers of famous literary figures.
24. Who was the creator of the characters Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Pudd'nhead Wilson?
Herman Melville
Hart Crane
Thomas Wolfe
Samuel Clemens
25. What belief did the Naturalist movement in America stress?
the importance of conservation of land and animal life
the innocence and virtue of man in the state of nature
the limitations of social conditions and heredity on man's capacity to change
the free and spontaneous act of literary composition
SCORING KEY
90-100%
Excellent. You are on your way to true cultural literacy.
80-89%
Good. You have more than a passing knowledge of this subject.
70-79%
Fair. You have a competent grasp of many aspects of this subject.
60-69%
Poor. You could use some improvement in this area.
Below 60%
Time for literacy training.
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