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Ch 11: SAT Subject Test Literature: American Novelists

About This Chapter

Review the works and lives of major American novelists in preparation for the college-entry SAT literature subject exam. Video lessons and quizzes cover each author in a simple and concise manner.

SAT Subject Test Literature: American Novelists - Chapter Summary

Learn about America's most famous novelists and their life histories, writings and narrative styles through Study.com's SAT review lessons. The lessons in the chapter can teach you about important works of American literature so you can successfully take the SAT subject test. You'll study the following influential authors:

  • Herman Melville
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Walt Whitman
  • Mark Twain
  • Willa Cather
  • Kate Chopin
  • Henry James
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • J.D. Salinger

The chapter's lessons provide both summaries and analyses for many of the authors' books, poems and essays. You can take practice quizzes for self-assessment purposes and access lesson transcripts if you wish to go back over any of the material. Each lesson is presented as a short and engaging video that is geared toward helping you pass the SAT subject test.

SAT Subject Test Literature: American Novelists Objectives

The SAT subject test is a college-entry assessment exam that seeks to determine your abilities at an advanced level. The literature subject exam is meant to test how well you can analyze and interpret texts from different literary genres and historical time periods. Approximately 40-50% of the questions on the exam focus on American literature. Objectives of these lessons include:

  • Summarizing the plots of several famous American novels and poems
  • Interpreting the meaning behind various American authors' works
  • Analyzing different narrative and stylistic techniques used in important American works
  • Understanding the biographical and historical backgrounds of several American authors and their works

The literature subject test is comprised of 60 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in one hour. These questions are divided into 6-8 sets, each based on a different literary text. The entire test is worth 200-800 points, depending on how well you perform.

12 Lessons in Chapter 11: SAT Subject Test Literature: American Novelists
Herman Melville: Biography, Works & Style

1. Herman Melville: Biography, Works & Style

Like many great people, Herman Melville was misunderstood during his time. Watch this video to find out why the author of the famous novel 'Moby Dick' died almost as a complete unknown.

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Biography, Works, and Style

2. Nathaniel Hawthorne: Biography, Works, and Style

Who was Nathaniel Hawthorne? Well, besides being a brooding guy with a bit of a dark past, he was one of the most famous writers from early America. Learn more about him and his view of the Puritan belief system in this video.

Self-Reliance: Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendental Essay

3. Self-Reliance: Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendental Essay

This video analyzes Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay 'Self-Reliance' for characteristics of transcendental ideas, including individualism, nonconformity, and intuition.

Henry David Thoreau's Walden: Summary and Analysis

4. Henry David Thoreau's Walden: Summary and Analysis

Henry David Thoreau was one of the most influential transcendental American writers and Walden was one of the movement's most important works. Let's explore why.

Walt Whitman: Transcendental and Realist Poet

5. Walt Whitman: Transcendental and Realist Poet

Walt Whitman is now considered one of the greatest American poets of all time, but his work was not so well-loved when it first debuted. Find out what made the man and his poems so controversial.

Uncle Tom's Cabin and the American Civil War

6. Uncle Tom's Cabin and the American Civil War

In this lesson, we will explore the context, characters and plot of one of the country's most influential novels, Harriet Beecher Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' Then, find out how it inched America closer to the Civil War.

Mark Twain: Biography, Works, and Style as a Regionalist Writer

7. Mark Twain: Biography, Works, and Style as a Regionalist Writer

In this lesson, we will learn about Mark Twain's life, his most acclaimed writings and his place as a realist and regionalist writer in this country's literary history.

Willa Cather's My Antonia: Summary and Analysis

8. Willa Cather's My Antonia: Summary and Analysis

In this lesson, we will examine Willa Cather's most recognizable literary work, 'My Antonia'. We will take a look at the plot of this story while considering the ways in which this modernist novel uses language and setting to reflect character relationships and emotion.

Kate Chopin: Biography, Works, and Style

9. Kate Chopin: Biography, Works, and Style

In this lesson, we will learn about Kate Chopin, a Southern regionalist writer. First, we will consider how her life created a framework for stories that reflect early feminist values in a very traditional world, then we will look at her two most famous works, 'The Story of an Hour' and 'The Awakening.'

The American in Europe: Henry James' Daisy Miller

10. The American in Europe: Henry James' Daisy Miller

In this lesson, we will examine the literary theme of the American abroad in the work of expatriate writer Henry James. Specifically, we will examine James's depiction of character relationships, behavior and social context within his novella Daisy Miller.

Ernest Hemingway: Biography, Works, and Style

11. Ernest Hemingway: Biography, Works, and Style

American author Ernest Hemingway used the experiences from his rich and colorful life to inform his novels and short stories. Learn about how life and major works.

J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye: Summary and Analysis

12. J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye: Summary and Analysis

J.D. Salinger's novel tells the story of Holden Caulfield, a literary figure you'll either love or hate. Watch this video to find out which camp you fall into!

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