“The Roaring Twenties”
• For Americans, the decade between the end of World War I
and the depression of the 1930s was a period of both
affluence and disillusionment.
• The quest for wealth and power became a major concern;
cynicism and apathy were prevalent in social and political
• Those most affected by these attitudes were the country’s
• There was among them a constant re-evaluation of aims
and purposes, a continual questioning of the values that
had for generations been held dear by society.
• They were exuberant, carefree, unconventional and
daring; and the decade they dominated became known as
“the roaring twenties.”
• P154-8
The Booming 1920s
The American
people were "tired of issues,
sick at heart of ideals, and weary of being
Republican policies were intended to create the
most favorable conditions for U.S. industry.
Throughout the 1920s, private business
received substantial encouragement.
"The chief business of the American people is
Wild Pursuit of Material Wealth
The 1920s was a decade known as the “Jazz Age,”
the “roaring” 20s.
It was a time of “roaring” excitement, “roaring”
confusion and “roaring” change.
It was a time of unprecedented prosperity.
Economically, it was a time when emphasis was
shifted from production to consumption.
bob, flappers
raccoon coat
Flapper in
It was an age of miracles, it was an age of
art, it was an age of excess, and it was an
age of satire
The American Dream
The South: Jamestown in Virginia, 1617,
Virginia Company in London
New England: Plymouth(1620),
A commercial venture
Puritans for Religious freedom
Two Dimensions of American Dream
1. For the Puritans:
to “build a city on a hill”
2. For the southerners:
to “find the vale(valley) of
Term: The American Dream
A product of the frontier and the west.
It believes in the goodness of nature and man.
It represents the romantic enlargement of the
possibilities of life.
As long as one works hard, he surely can
become successful and fulfill his wishes.
The Disillusionment of American Dream
Economic reasons: commerce
(admiration for ambition, a lust for money &
Social corruption
Deterioration of moral values
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
• an American author of novels and short
• whose works are evocative of the Jazz
Age, a term he coined himself.
• He is widely regarded as one of the
twentieth century's greatest writers.
• Fitzgerald is considered a member of
the "Lost Generation" of the Twenties.
• Francis Scott Fitzgerald was born in St Paul,
Minnesota, and entered Princeton University in
• In 1917 he left before graduating to take up a
commission in the US Army.
• While stationed near Montgomery, Alabama, he
courted and became engaged to Zelda Sayre,
herself an aspiring writer.
• After his discharge from the army in 1919, he
moved to New York City.
• Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre were married in 1920.
• In the early 1920s Fitzgerald was the
embodiment as well as the chronicler of
the Jazz Age (a term for which he was
largely responsible).
• He was handsome, uninhibited, and
• He not only wrote some of the best prose,
• drank the best wines, knew the best people,
went to the best parties, and lived as though
the money would never stop.
• Even in 1931, two years after the stock
market crash and well into the Great
Depression, Fitzgerald’s writing earned nearly
forty thousand dollars.
• But the money stopped and the acclaim
• In 1939 his royalties totaled only thirty-three
dollars; by the following year not a single one
of his books was in print.
• His life, which had represented the
fulfillment of the American dream of
wealth and achievement, seemed to end in
a nightmare of squandered talent and despair.
• P213/4/6/7
"That was always my
experience --- a poor boy
in a rich town; a poor boy
in a rich boy's school; a
poor boy in a rich man's
club at Princeton ... .
However, I have never
been able to forgive the
rich for being rich, and it
has colored my entire life
and works."
Fitzgerald’s American
“We in the infantry
thought that we had
three months to live.
I wanted to leave
something of
permanence behind
Zelda Fitzgerald
"I've fallen in love with a
whirlwind,” declared the
young Lieutenant
Fitzgerald, having met
Zelda Sayre at a country
club. It was in the summer
of 1918 in Montgomery,
Alabama. "She dances like
a flame."
The Jazz Age,
Scott named it, and
they became the
icons of the decade.
Ernest Hemingway
pointed the finger at
Zelda's "festival
concept" of life.
“She‘s not your Muse.
She’s Your Nemesis(复仇,
报应女神)," he roared.
"She'll destroy you in the
Madness was latent
in Zelda's family.
The Villa Marie, France,
where Scott completes
and revises the first draft
of The Great Gatsby
The apartment house where F. SCOTT FITZGERALD died in 1940,
at 1443 North Hayworth Ave., in Hollywood, California.
At 44 he died there,
leaving his executor
"the will of a
and the estate of a
Zelda and Scott's
grave in Rockville,
Maryland, inscribed
with the final
sentence of The
Great Gatsby
“So we beat on, boats against the current.
Borne back ceaselessly into the past”
Major Works
 This Side of Paradise(1920) P214
 The Beautiful and Damned(1922) P215
 Tales of the Jazz Age(1922)
 The Great Gatsby(1925)
 Tender Is the Night(1935)
 The Last Tycoon(1941)
Short Stories:
 Flappers and Philosophers(1920)
 Tales of the Jazz Age(1922)
The Great Gatsby
“The first step
that American
fiction has taken
since Henry
 ----- T.S. Eliot
• First published on April 10, 1925, it is set on
Long Island's North Shore and in New York
City during the summer of 1922 and is a
critique of the American Dream.
• The Great Gatsby has become a standard
text in high school and university courses
on American literature in countries around
the world,
• and is ranked second in the Modern
Library's list of the 100 Best Novels of the
20th Century. (1st Ulysses)
• by James Joyce
• by F. Scott Fitzgerald
• by James Joyce
• by Vladimir Nabokov
• by Aldous Huxley
• by William Faulkner
• 7. CATCH-22
• by Joseph Heller
• by Arthur Koestler
• by D.H. Lawrence
• by John Steinbeck
• The novel chronicles an era that Fitzgerald
himself dubbed the "Jazz Age".
• Following the shock and chaos of World War I,
American society enjoyed unprecedented levels
of prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the
economy soared.
• At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the
sale and manufacture of alcohol, made
millionaires out of bootleggers and led to an
increase in organized crime.
• Although Fitzgerald, like Nick Carraway in his
novel, idolized the riches and glamour of the
age, he was uncomfortable with the
unrestrained materialism and the lack of
morality that went with it, a kind of decadence.
Gatsby and Daisy
Plot P217
Nick Carraway
Jordan Baker
(Narrator of the story)
In love with
Jay Gatsby
(newly wealthy businessman
whose only desire is to be reunited
with Daisy)
(Mytle’s husband
who runs a garage
&gas station)
West Egg
Daisy Buchanan
(the object of Gatsby’s
desire who represents
women of upper class)
for her death
George Wilson
friends& neighbor
Accidentally kills
Tom Buchanan
having affair (Daisy’s husband,
Mytle Wilson
(lower class)
The Valley of Ashes
(The Wilsons )
East Egg
Character Analysis
Gatsby appears as a mysterious, fantastically
wealthy young man. Every Saturday, his garish
Gothic mansion in West Egg serves as the site of
extravagant parties.
His love of Daisy inspired Gatsby to devote his life
to the acquisition of wealth through illegal activities.
He wants to win Daisy's love by growing wealthy.
The Image of Gatsby
1. A romantic dreamer:
Time can be fixed; the past can be repeated;
youth, beauty and love can be recaptured.
2. A symbol for the whole American experience:
The corruption of his dream by adopting
materialism as its means and illusory youth and
beauty as its goal is the corruption of American
Nick Carraway
The novel's narrator, Nick Carraway comes from
a well-to-do Minnesota family. He travels to New
York to learn the bond business; there, he becomes
involved with both Gatsby and the Buchanans.
He is honest, responsible, and fair-minded.
Of all the novel's characters, he is the only one to
truly recognize Gatsby's "greatness" -- thereby
revealing himself as a young man of unusual
In her youth, Daisy fell in love with Jay Gatsby and
promised to wait for him until the end of the war.
After several years’ separation, since there is no news
from Gatsby, Daisy decided not to wait for Gatsby any
more and married wealthy Tom.
Daisy is insubstantial and vapid, a careless woman.
She, in her wealth and beauty, is the symbol of all that
Gatsby desires.
The Image of Daisy
 “A beautiful
little fool:”
 beautiful, enchanting, hollow
A member of “secret society”of
established wealth: morally careless,
Tom Buchanan
A brutal man, Tom Buchannan is a former Yale
football player who, like Daisy, comes from an
immensely wealthy family.
Tom is a vicious bully, physically menacing both his
wife and his mistress.
He is a thoroughgoing hypocrite as well: though he
condemns his wife and Gatsby for their infidelity, he
has no hesitation about carrying on his own affair.
i. The Decline of the American Dream in the 1920s
highly symbolic meditation on 1920s’ America as a
whole, in particular the disintegration of the American
dream in an era of unprecedented prosperity and material
As Fitzgerald saw it, the American dream was
originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit
of happiness.
In the 1920s depicted in the novel, however, easy money
and relaxed social values have corrupted this dream,
especially on the East Coast.
 Just as Americans have given America meaning
through their dreams for their own lives, Gatsby
instills Daisy with a kind of idealized perfection
that she neither deserves nor possesses.
 Gatsby’s dream is ruined by the unworthiness of
its object, just as the American dream in the
1920s is ruined by the unworthiness of its
object—money and pleasure.
 Like 1920s Americans in general, fruitlessly
seeking a bygone era in which their dreams had
value, Gatsby longs to re-create a vanished
past—his time in Louisville with Daisy—but is
incapable of doing so.
 When his dream crumbles, all that is left for
Gatsby to do is die; all Nick can do is move back
to Minnesota, where American values have not
• ii. The Hollowness of the Upper Class
 In the novel, West Egg and its denizens
represent the newly rich, while East Egg and its
denizens, represent the old aristocracy.
 Fitzgerald portrays the newly rich (Gatsby) as
being vulgar, gaudy, ostentatious(卖弄的), and
lacking in social graces and taste. In contrast,
the old aristocracy (the Buchanans) possesses
grace, taste, subtlety, and elegance.
 The old aristocracy, however, seems to lack in
heart, as the East Eggers prove themselves
careless, inconsiderate bullies who are so
used to money’s ability to ease their minds that
they never worry about hurting others.
 Gatsby, on the other hand, whose recent wealth
derives from criminal activity, has a sincere and
loyal heart
 Ironically, Gatsby’s good qualities (loyalty and
love) lead to his death, as he takes the blame for
killing Myrtle rather than letting Daisy be
punished, and the Buchanans’ bad qualities
(fickleness and selfishness) allow them to
remove themselves from the tragedy not only
physically but psychologically.
 P217
The Green Light
The Valley of Ashes
The Eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg
The East Egg and West Egg
a. Green Light
• Situated at the end of Daisy’s East Egg
dock and barely visible from Gatsby’s
West Egg lawn, the green light
represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams
for the future.
• Gatsby associates it with Daisy, he
reaches toward it in the darkness as a
guiding light to lead him to his goal.
• Because Gatsby’s quest for Daisy is
broadly associated with the American
dream, the green light also symbolizes
that more generalized ideal.
b. The Valley of Ashes
• The valley of ashes between West Egg and New York
City consists of a long stretch of desolate land
created by the dumping of industrial ashes.
• It represents the moral and social decay that results
from the uninhibited pursuit of wealth, as the rich
indulge themselves with regard for nothing but their
own pleasure.
• The valley of ashes also symbolizes the plight of the
poor, like George Wilson, who live among the dirty
ashes and lose their vitality as a result.
c. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg
• The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are a
pair of fading, bespectacled eyes painted
on an old advertising billboard over the
valley of ashes.
• They may represent God staring down
upon and judging American society as a
moral wasteland, though the novel never
makes this point explicitly.
• The connection between the eyes of
Doctor T. J. Eckleburg and God exists only
in George Wilson’s grief-stricken mind. This
lack of concrete significance contributes to
the unsettling nature of the image.
• Thus, the eyes also come to represent the
essential meaninglessness of the world
and the arbitrariness of the mental process
by which people invest objects with
d. East Egg & West Egg
East Egg: represents the established rich with old
West Egg: the self-made, new money
Narrative Technique
The technical aspect that makes The Great
Gatsby the best organized of Fitzgerald’s novel is
the use of Nick Carraway as the first-person
a. The Reason
1. The Magic power of Nick lies in the fact
that he has contact with all the characters
in the novel.
2. He is intimate enough to weave all the
characters skillfully into a unity in the
2. Nick is a reliable narrator, because he follows his
father’s advice on toleration, so he does not make
quick judgments on the others.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he
told me, “just remember that all the people in this
world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
I’m inclined to reserve all judgments.
b. The Function
1. This method lends compactness and unity to
the novel, since the reader is confined to what
Nick can experience and hear.
2. Nick’s limited view determines that he seems to
withhold the information and let it revealed
gradually, thus creating a super effect of
mystery and suspense.
3. P218-9
Comment on the Novel
i. Fitzgerald gives great attention to the
details of contemporary society: Gatsby's
party is both a description and parody of
Jazz Age decadence.
It exemplifies the spirit of conspicuous
ii. Though we have finally been
introduced to Jay Gatsby, he remains
fundamentally a mystery. Few of the
partygoers have so much as met their host,
and Gatsby stands aloof from his own
iii. Gatsby is the center of interest mentioned
by different groups of people in the story. Each
person adds a dimension to the complete
personality of Gatsby.
What is your impression of him? Do you
think Gatsby is great? Why or why not?
His perseverance in the pursuit of his dream.
Gatsby is a determined man who tries his best to
fulfill his dream. Even in the adverse circumstance,
he never gives in .
Although his dream is corrupted by adopting
materialist means, his dream for beauty and love is
invaluable among the empty-minded people in the
waste land.
In this sense he is great.
Influences on American Literature
• Fitzgerald shows himself to be the
leader and poet laureate of the Jazz
Age who wrote the novels of the Jazz
age and was regarded as one of the
best American writers of the 20th century.
• 1. Fitzgerald showed more interests in people’s
dreams and failures than their characteristics,
more interests in subject matter than in structure.
• He excelled himself in creating strikingly literary
metaphors by using simple, vivid, graceful,
precise, and polished writing style.
• His calculate use of colors in his stories makes
them appealingly symbolic.
• His ability with language, his knowledge of his
subject, and the distinct flavor of his writing
place him high among the writers of the first third
of the twentieth century.
• 2. Fitzgerald is the interpreter of rebellious
• His heroes are the wealthy, intelligent,
hopeful but hopelessly inadequate young
American males whose potential seems
great but remains unfulfilled.
• His heroines are the counterparts of these
men: hard, glamorous, shallow young
flappers who sacrifice much for social
• 3. Perhaps Fitzgerald’s greatest value
to modern literature lies in his ability to
represent with sharpness and clarity
the idiom and manner of his day.
• All his stories are about morality,
industry, and maturity, and can be
regarded as moral fables, which are
full of pathos, with bright individuals
against bright backdrops.
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
Winner of 1954 Nobel Prize in
“for his mastery of the art of narrative,
most recently demonstrated in The Old
Man and the Sea, and for the influence
that he has exerted on contemporary
• born in a small town called Oak
Park in Illinois near Chicago
• father: a successful physician,
middle class, love fishing and
hunting; mother: music teacher
• a happy childhood; a lover of
brutal sports, such as boxing and
football in middle school
• Though his father hoped him to be
a physician, Hemingway refused
to enter university. He chose to be
a reporter.
Birthplace in Oak Park, Illinois
• During WWI, he wanted to join the army but
was refused because of his poor eyesight.
• Then Hemingway came to Italy to work as an
ambulance driver. He was seriously
wounded in the battlefield. The nightmarish
war experience changed his life.
• After the war, he still worked as a reporter.
He was sent to Paris and knew Pound,
Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson and
some other famous writers who encouraged
him to write.
• He also worked as a war reporter in the
Spanish Civil War and WWII.
• He is a tough guy with rather masculine
manner. In all his life, he loved tough games,
such as boxing, hunting, deep-sea fishing,
bullfight and so on.
• He was injured many times. In all the
operations, 237 steel fragments were taken out
from Hemingway’s body. He also suffered 3 car
accidents and 2 air crushes.
• He was admired as a hero by lots of people
and his life style was imitated.
• He married four times, with a new marriage for
a new important novel.
• On July 2, 1961, he chose, as his father had
before him, to end his own life violently by
pressing a double-barreled shotgun to his
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer
House, built in 1927
Ernest Hemingway House on Key West
Major Works
In our time (1924) P221
The Torrents of Spring (1926)
The Sun Also Rises (1926)
Men Without Women (1927)
 A Farewell to Arms (1929)
Death in the Afternoon (1932)
Winner Take Nothing (1933)
Green Hills of Africa (1935)
To Have and Have Not (1937)
 The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine
Stories (1938)
 For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) P224-5
 Across the River and Into the Trees (1950)
 The Old Man and the Sea (1952) P225
 A Moveable Feast (1964 )
 Islands in the Stream ( 1970 )
 Garden of Eden (1986)
Writing Techniques
1. Hemingway used a spare and tight
journalistic type of prose, which
means his style is
simple, terse, concise,
straightforward , unembellished—a
straight journalism.
The reason for this is the influence of
his early work as a journalist.
In diction, he focuses on nouns and
verbs and reduces the use of adjectives,
especially complicated adjectives.
 In sentence structure, he uses short and
simple sentences.
 He lets gesture, speech and action
speak for themselves.
 His language is seldom passionate.
 The aim of his style is to get the most out
of the least.
 P227
“ Sit down,” said Harvey, “ I’ve been looking
for you.”
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Just looking for you.”
“Been out to the races?”
“No. Not since Sunday.”
“What do you hear from the States?”
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”
“What’s the matter?”
“I don’t know. I’m through with them. I’m
absolutely through with them.”
From The Sun Also Rises
Chapter 6
• 2. He used the objective, detached point of
view and his vocabulary and sentence structure
are deceptively simple.
• 3. He has written about failure, moral
bankruptcy, death, deception, and sterility in
the post World War I society.
 4. His "code-heroes" are characters with inner
moral discipline who are usually involved with
rituals like bullfighting, big-game hunting, and
Further Illustration
Hemingway’s central theme
2. Hemingway’s “code heroes”
3. Hemingway's Iceberg Theory
Hemingway’s central theme:
“Grace Under Pressure”
DP: “Exactly what do you mean by `guts'?”
EH: “I mean, grace under pressure.”
----Ernest Hemingway, an interview with
Dorothy Parker, New Yorker, 30 November 1929
Courage is grace under pressure
1. The character must act in a way that is
acceptable when he is faced with the fact of
death--- he must have fear of death, but he
must not be afraid to die.
2. Man lives most intensely when he is in the
direct pressure of death.
3. “A man is not made for defeat… A man can be
destroyed but not defeated.”
Hemingway’s Code Hero
Code --- a set of rules of conduct to which the
Hemingway’s character would adhere.
Hemingway is known to focus his novels around
code heroes who struggle with the mixture of their
tragic faults and the surrounding environment.
Characteristics of Hemingway's Code Hero
Hemingway defined the Code Hero as "a man who
lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage
and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic,
often stressful, and always painful."
The Code Hero measures himself by how well they
handle the difficult situations that life throws at him.
Hemingway's Iceberg Theory
(Theory of Omission)
 "If a writer of prose knows enough about what he
is writing about, he may omit things that he knows
and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough,
will have a feeling of those things as strongly as
though the writer had stated them.
The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to
only one-eighth of it being above water."
------Death In the Afternoon
Term: Iceberg Theory of Writing
• A theory of writing by Hemingway, which refers
to that one eighth of an iceberg is above the
water, and all of the rest in underneath the
• The same is true with Hemingway’s writing.
• His sentences only give one small bit of the
meaning and the rest is implied.
• Therefore, one must go every deep beneath
the surface to understand the full meaning of
his writing.
The Sun Also Rises
The Sun Also Rises
will maintain a place in
history not only for its
literary merit, but also
for its documentation of
what writer Stein called
the "Lost Generation."
• The Sun Also Rises (1926),
• Hemingway's first novel.
• Written in 1925 and published in 1926,
an autobiographical novel
• epitomized the post-war expatriate
generation for future generations.
Barnes P222
Brett Ashley
Main Themes
a. The aimlessness of the Lost Generation
bitter and aimless,
drinking and partying,
away from their frustrations,
the superficial, empty attitudes
b. Emasculation and Impotence
the male psyche:
i. physically impotent
ii. battered by the war,
iii. returned from his confrontation with death
iv. feeling like less of a man, physically and
v. The physical impotence symbolizes modern
man’s spiritual impotence.
c. Nature and Regeneration
Nature as a pastoral paradise uncorrupted by
the city or women.
A Farewell to Arms(1929)
• 1. On the surface, is about the tragic
romance between an American soldier
Frederic Henry, and Catherine
Barkley, a British nurse.
• The novel is autobiographical and the
plot inspired by his earlier relationship
with Agnes in Milan; Catherine's
parturition mirrors Pauline's difficult
labor with Patrick.
• 2. Below the surface, the novel is about
World War I and individual tragedy
within the larger picture of greater
• The novel portrays the cynicism of
soldiers, the displacement of
• Hemingway's stature as an American
writer was secured with the publication
of A Farewell to Arms.
• P223
1. Structure
Part I: the introduction of the characters and problems
and themes
Part II: the development of the love affair
Part III: the retreat from Caporetto and the rout of the
army. Henry’s separate peace: running away
Part IV: the sense of an ideal and perfect existence in
Part V: the tragic and final reversal
Catherine: begins hemorrhaging during the
birth of their child
2. Characters
Frederick Henry:
a disillusioned man of the modern world searching for
some values or system that he can believe in.
a lonesome and confused and restless man, his love
affair with Catherine made him discover a sense of duty.
He found that life could be faced only if he develop
within himself an inner strength and inner discipline.
Catherine Barkley
3. Interior Monologue
The use of interior monologue
A passage of writing presenting a character‘s
inner thoughts and emotions in a direct,
sometimes disjointed or fragmentary manner.
It is one particular kind of stream of
consciousness writing.
4. Important Quotations
It seems she had one hemorrhage after another. They
couldn’t stop it. I went into the room and stayed with
Catherine until she died.
But after I had got them out and shut the door and
turned off the light it wasn’t any good.
It was like saying good-by to a statue.
After a while I went out and left the hospital and
walked back to the hotel in the rain.
5. Comment
When Catherine’s death comes, Henry
reports it in the baldest, most unadorned terms.
Although Hemingway shows only the tip of the
iceberg, the reader feels the immeasurable grief
that extends below the surface.
Here, in its ability to evoke so much by using so
little, is the power of Hemingway’s writing.
• The novel was finished in July 1940, and
published in Octobr
• The novel is based on his experiences
during the Spanish Civil War, with an
American protagonist named Robert Jordan
who fights with Spanish soldiers for the
• nominated for a Pulitzer Prize,
• became a literary triumph for Hemingway.
• In 1944, the novel was adapted to film,
starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.
• P224
The Old Man and the Sea
Pulitzer Prize in 1953
Nobel Prize in
Literature in 1954.
• Written in 1951, and published in 1952,
The Old Man and the Sea is the final
work published during Hemingway's
• five million copies of the magazine were
sold in two days
“A man is not made for defeat… A man
can be destroyed but not defeated.”
• P225
Marlin(Santiago’s catch)
Mako shark
(his first enemy)
Shovel-nosed shark
(his second enemy)
1. Analysis of Santiago
He suffers terribly throughout The Old Man and the Sea.
In the opening pages of the book, he has gone
eighty-four days without catching a fish and has
become the laughingstock of his small village.
He then endures a long and severe struggle with the
marlin only to see his trophy catch destroyed by sharks.
Yet, the destruction enables the old man to undergo a
remarkable transformation, and he wrests triumph and
renewed life from his seeming defeat.
2. Themes
a. The Honor in Struggle, Defeat & Death
b. Pride as the Source of Greatness & Determination
3. Symbols
1. The Marlin: the ideal opponent.
2. The Shovel-Nosed Sharks:
the destructive laws of the universe
Influences on American Literature
• 1. No other major American writer has ever
equaled the popular success and worldwide
reputation of Ernest Hemingway.
• During his lifetime he attained the status of an
international celebrity.
• His prose style became one of the most
recognizable literary “trademarks” of all time and
is still widely imitated and parodied.
• 2. Hemingway was generally regarded as
spokesman for the Lost Generation.
• He was famous for his novels and short
stories written in his spare, laconic, yet
intense prose with short sentences and
very specific details.
• He has probably had the greatest
stylistic influence over 20th-century
American writers of anyone.
3. Almost all his stories deal with the
theme of courage in face of tragedy.
They reveal man’s impotence and
despairing courage to assert himself
against overwhelming odds.
• F. Scott Fitzgerald v.s. Ernest Hemingway
• P228
Chapter 15
Southern Literature
The South
• “The South”, a regional as well as a historical
definition, is a peculiar part of the United States.
• Historically, as the “Old South”, it comprised the
states Virginia, North and South Carolina,
Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana,
Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida and Texas which
united into a confederacy and fought against the
rest of the country from 1861 to 1865;
• different from the rest by its climate, social
structure and a way of life, which depended, in
good part, on the main reason for this war: the
great “burden” and guilt of slavery.
Peculiar Social Features
• As a special region, the south formed its
peculiar features in its history. Those
peculiar social features can be summed
up as followed:
• 1. Agrarian virtue.
• Many southerners were devoted to the
plantation. They were hard-working,
kind and generous.
• 2. Plantation aristocracy.
• Those who owned the plantation and
slaves enjoyed higher position in
southern society.
• The landowners formed the rulings
• The working class consisted poor
whites and black slaves.
• But this social rank was destroyed
during the Civil War. Slaves ran away
and plantations were deserted.
• 3. Chevalier Spirits.
• The Southerners held that everyone who
came to the South was a chevalier, and was
free from the government;
• They could protect themselves, their sisters
and daughters, and keep their society
running well.
• 4. White supremacy.
• To keep their aristocratic rank, the southern
whites firmly believed in white
supremacy—the blacks were an inferior
and animal-like race.
• 5. Purity of Southern Womanhood.
• The Southern women were pure, holy, the
best, the most refined example of their
• Men went out, worked hard, and earned a
living while their wives stayed at home and
took care of their children and houses.
Southern Renaissance
• The Southern Renaissance was the
reinvigoration of American Southern
literature that began in the 1920s and
• with the appearance of writers such as
William Faulkner, Caroline Gordon,
Katherine Anne Porter, Allen Tate,
Tennessee Williams, and Robert Penn
Warren, among others.
William Faulkner (1897~1962)
One of the most influential
writers of the 20th century
one of the most important
Southern writers
1949 Nobel Prize in Literature
“for his powerful and
artistically unique
contribution to the modern
American novel. ”
• Born William Cuthbert
September 25, New Albany,
Mississippi, USA
• Died July 6, 1962 (aged 64)
Byhalia, Mississippi, USA
• Occupation Novelist,
short story writer
• Genres Southern Gothic
• Literary movement
Modernism, Stream of
• born in New Albany, Mississippi, into a
family which had played a prominent role in
the history of the South.
• had very little school education and took a
clerical job at his grandfather’s bank.
• In 1918, after being rejected by the US
military because he was too short (he was 5'
5½"), , he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air
Force, but the war ended while he was still in
training, and he returned to Oxford.
• Influences on him: P230-1
Rowan Oak
Writing Room
an important interpreter
of the universal theme
of "the problems of the
human heart in conflict
with itself."
Major Works
• (19 novels; 75 short stories)
• P231
• 1. Early Period:
• Soldier's Pay, 1926
• Mosquitoes, 1927
• Sartoris, 1929
2. Climax period (1929-1936)
• The Sound and the Fury, 1929
• As I Lay Dying, 1930
• Light in August, 1932
• Absalom, Absalom!, 1934
3. Mature period (1936-1948)
• The Hamlet, 1940
• Go Down, Moses, 1942
• Intruder in the Dust, 1948
4.The last period(1948-1962)
• A Fable, 1954
• The Mansion, 1959
• P238
The Creation of Yoknapatawpha County
The Theme
The Creative Technique
The Language
• P231
1. Yoknapatawpha County
• His hometown, Oxford, Mississippi,
became the prototype of Jefferson, in
the mythical county of Yoknapatawpha,
the setting of many of his works.
2. Yoknapatawpha saga
(saga: the story of a family told through
several generations)
• Faulkner’s works have been termed
Yoknapatawpha saga.
• He writes about the histories of a
number of southern aristocratic
• P232
3. Three Types of Southern Families
A. The decayed aristocratic type:
the Sartoris, the Compsons, the old families
past the peak of their prosperity and riddled
with problems
B. The type who are the efficient, materialistic
merchants or entrepreneurs :
the Snopes
C. The type of blacks who witness the fall of
the two types
4. Typical Works
• Faulkner’s “Yoknapatawpha novels”
feature some of the same characters and
locations. And the most important four
• The Sound and the Fury (1929),
• As I Lay Dying (1930),
• Light in August (1932),
• Absalom, Absalom! (1936).
Major Theme in his Novel
 Faulkner was particularly interested in the
decline of the South after the Civil War.
 Many of his novels explore the deterioration
of the Southern aristocracy after the
destruction of its wealth and way of life
during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
 So one important theme in his novels is the
doom and deterioration brought about by the
denial of humanity.
 P232
Creative Technique:
• Faulkner’s reputation as one of the greatest
novelists of the twentieth century is largely
due to his highly experimental style.
• Faulkner was a pioneer in literary
modernism, dramatically diverging from the
forms and structures traditionally used in
novels before his time.
• Faulkner often employs stream of
consciousness narrative,
• discards any notion of chronological order,
shifts between the present and past tense.
• uses multiple narrators
• P237-9
1. Stream of Consciousness
phrase used by William James in 1890 to
describe the unbroken flow of thought and
awareness of the waking mind
2. a special mode of narration that undertakes
to capture the full spectrum and the
continuous flow of a character's mental
3. In a literary context it is used to describe the
narrative method where novelists describe
the unspoken thoughts and feelings of
their characters without resorting to
objective description or conventional
dialogue term.
• A few of the most famous works to employ
the technique are
James Joyce's Ulysses
Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury
Jack Kerouac's On the Road
2. Multiple Point of View
• It is also called “the floating point of view”
technique and a circular form instead of a
linear structure,
• which signify the several ways a story gets
told—the modes established by Faulkner
by means of which the reader is presented
with the characters, dialogue, actions,
setting, and events through unfixed points
of view.
3. The Violation of Chronology
• The violation of chronology in the
narrative structure is matched by a
violation of everyday language habits in
Faulkner’s prose style.
• The non-chronological order intends to
keep the form and the idea fluid and
unfinished, still in motion as it were and
unknown, and to stress his sense of the
contemporariness of past, present and
future and his feeling of life as recurrent
Faulkner’s Language
• His Language is difficult and obscure--• Words running together, without
capitalization or punctuation.
Effect of His Stylistic Innovations
• These stylistic innovations make some
of Faulkner’s novels incredibly
challenging to the reader.
• However, these bold innovations paved
the way for countless future writers to
continue to experiment with the
possibilities of the English language.
The Sound and the Fury
• Published in 1929
• was not immediately
• employs a number of
narrative styles,
including the technique
known as stream of
• many critics and even
Faulkner himself think
that it is the best novel
that he wrote.
Title of the Novel
• Life's but a walking
shadow, a poor player
• That struts and frets his
hour upon the stage
• And then is heard no
more: it is a tale
• Told by an idiot, full of
sound and fury,
• Signifying nothing.
• Its subject is
• the downfall of a southern family:
the Compsons
The Compsons
Quentin(Harvard, honor)
Mr. Jason Compson III
Caddy(casual love affair,
Mrs. Caroline Compson
Dilsey(“Negro” servant)
got an illegitimate daughter,
elopement, divorce )
Benjy(an idiot)
• The Sound and the Fury is set in the
fictional Yoknapatawpha County.
• The novel centers on the Compson
family, former Southern aristocrats who
are struggling to deal with the
dissolution of their family and its
• The novel is separated into four distinct
• 1. The first, April 7, 1928, is written from
the perspective of Benjamin "Benjy"
Compson, a 33-year-old man with
severe mental handicaps. Benjy's section
is characterized by a highly disjointed
narrative style with frequent
chronological leaps.
• 2. The second section, June 2, 1910,
focuses on Quentin Compson, Benjy's
older brother, and the events leading up
to his suicide.
• 3. In the third section, April 6, 1928, Faulkner
writes from the point of view of Jason,
Quentin's cynical younger brother.
• 4. In the fourth and final section, set a day
after the first, on April 8, 1928, Faulkner
introduces a third person limited omniscient
point of view.
• The last section primarily focuses on Dilsey,
one of the Compson's black servants. Jason is
also a focus in the section, but Faulkner
presents glimpses of the thoughts and deeds
of everyone in the family.
Character Analysis
• Mr. Jason Compson III (father)
• Mr. Compson is a well-spoken but very
cynical and detached man.
• He subscribes to a philosophy of
determinism and fatalism—he believes
life is essentially meaningless and that
he can do little to change the events that
befall his family.
Mrs. Caroline Compson(mother)
• She is an “absent mother” whose
negligence and disregard contribute
directly to the family’s downfall.
• who has never shown affection for any
of her children except Jason, whom she
seems to like only because he takes after
her side of the family.
• She has no sense of her children’s needs.
• She constantly loses in a self-pity.
Quentin Compson: a defeated idealist
The oldest of the Compson children, Quentin feels
an inordinate burden of responsibility to live up
to the family’s past greatness.
• He is a very intelligent and sensitive young man,
but is paralyzed by his obsession with Caddy and
his preoccupation with a very traditional Southern
code of conduct and morality.
• This Southern code defines order and chaos within
Quentin’s world, and causes him to idealize
abstract concepts such as honor, virtue, and
feminine purity.
• His strict belief in this code causes Quentin
profound despair when he learns of Caddy’s
Caddy Compson(daughter)
• Caddy is perhaps the most important figure
in the novel, as she represents the object of
obsession for all three of her brothers.
• She is headstrong, loving and affectionate.
• She rejects the Southern code that has
defined her family’s history and that
preoccupies Quentin’s mind.
 According to Faulkner, the true hero of the
novel. Caddy never develops a voice, but
rather allows her brothers' emotions towards
her to develop her character.
Jason Compson : a satanic figure
• Jason’s legacy, even from his earliest
childhood, is one of malice and hatred.
• Jason remains distant from the other children.
• Ironically, the loveless Jason is the only one of
the Compson children who receives Mrs.
Compson’s affection.
• Jason has no capacity to accept, enjoy, or
reciprocate this love.
• Unlike Quentin, who is obsessed with the
past, Jason thinks solely about the present
and the immediate future.
Benjy Compson: a Christ figure
• a constant source of shame and grief for his family,
especially his mother
• Caddy is the only family member who shows any
genuine love towards him.
• However, Benjy has an almost animal-like "sixth sense“,
does have an acute sensitivity to order and chaos,
• and he can immediately sense the presence of anything
bad, wrong, or out of place.
• He is able to sense Quentin’s suicide thousands of miles
away at Harvard,
• and senses Caddy’s loss of virginity.
• In light of this ability, Benjy is the only characters who
truly takes notice of the Compson family’s progressing
Dilsey: the strongest figure
• Dilsey is the only source of stability in the
Compson household.
• She is the only character detached enough
from the Compsons’ downfall to witness both
the beginning and the end of this final chapter
of the family history.
• She is very patient and selfless — she cooks,
cleans, and takes care of the Compson
children in Mrs. Compson’s absence.
• She treats all of the children with love and
fairness, even Benjy.
• The last chapter’s focus on Dilsey implies a
hope for renewal.
1. The Corruption of Southern
Aristocratic Values
2. Resurrection and Renewal
“A Rose for Emily”
"A Rose for Emily"
draws a vivid
picture of the south
of the United States
in the turn of the
Narrative Structure
The narrative structure of the piece is
interesting in that it does not follow a
typical chronological order.
The details of the story are revealed
slowly by Faulkner as he allows the
sense of suspicion to grow before
revealing the murder of Homer Barron
by Emily.
• "When Miss Emily Grierson died, our
whole town went to the funeral: the
men through a sort of respectful
affection for a fallen monument, the
women mostly out of curiosity to see
the inside of her house, which no one
save an old manservant – a combined
gardener and cook – had seen in at least
ten years."
Character Analysis
• Emily,
• an insane spinster,
• a devoted lover,
• or a symbol of the past.
• Emily seems to cling to a bygone era
when her family was given prominence.
• She seems to be the product of an earlier
era and surrounds herself with
reminders of the past.
The fact that Emily is tax exempt is an example
of the authority she possesses over the
townsfolk even though she is distant from them.
As early as the story's second line, Emily is
described as a "fallen monument".
She is also described in paragraph three as "... a
tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary
obligation in the town"
• Emily is trapped by a heritage that has
alienated her from all things human and
• She becomes a decaying last link
between the modern Jefferson and a
bygone era.
• She floats through the phases of her life,
trapped beneath the suffocating, dark
waters of her society.
Images of Decay
• Throughout the piece Faulkner offers
the reader images of Decay as
generations succeed each other.
• Both Emily and her house are shown as
decayed as the body that has lain
undiscovered in her bed has infected the
• her skeleton was small and sparse she
looked bloated, like a body long
submerged in motionless water, and of
that pallid hue her voice was dry and
• Her house, a fading photograph,
“smelled of dust and disuse—a closed,
dank smell,” and when her guests are
seated a “faint dust” rises “sluggishly
about their thighs”
• Even the Gardener's voice is described
as having : "... grown harsh and rusty,
as if from disuse.”
It is like an old disused mechanism
which is decayed with age.
These images of decay reach their
highest point with the gruesome corpse
of Homer dressed for bed.
Section Five
• After Emily's funeral, the townspeople immediately
go through her house. They come across a room on
the second floor which no one had seen in 40 years,
and break the door down.
• They discover a dusty room strangely decorated as a
bridal room. The room contains a man's tie, suit and
shoes, and a silver toilet set which Miss Emily had
purchased for Homer years before his disappearance.
• Homer's remains lay on the bed, dressed in a
nightshirt. Next to him is an impression of a head on
a pillow where the townspeople find a single “long
strand of iron-gray hair.”
• It is thus implied that Emily had killed Homer and
had lain in the bed with his corpse up to her own
• The scene of decay in Homer's "tomb" is
a symbol of the folly of Emily's refusal
to move on.
• The opening of the room reveals a
stagnant world of decay which in many
respects mirrors the decaying way of life
at that time.
• Decadence of the old south.
• Emily: the last elements of the past
agricultural south
• ‘‘A Rose for Emily’’ has been read
variously as a Gothic horror tale,
• a study in abnormal psychology,
• an allegory of the relations between
North and South (Emily v.s. Homer)
• a meditation on the nature of time,
• and a tragedy with Emily as a sort of
tragic heroine.
Influences on American Literature
• 1. Faulkner is today generally
regarded as the greatest twentiethcentury American writer of fiction,
and his work is routinely ranked with
the literary achievements of
Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, and
• 2. Although Faulkner’s finest fiction deals
with one imaginary county in Mississippi, it
explores the whole of human experience, a
fact recognized when Faulkner received the
Nobel Prize.
• No American writer of his time has exerted
wider influence.
• His fiction has been translated into many
languages, and it has exercised a deep,
varied influence on writers not only in
Europe, especially France, but throughout
South America and even Japan.
• 3. In his work readers have discovered
a feeling for the American South—and
for the South’s history—that bespeaks
a concern for human beings both in the
modern world and in some larger,
more inclusive realm as well. In
addition, readers have recognized that
Faulkner’s work is strikingly
innovative in structure, form, and