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Ch 8: SAT Subject Test Literature: Analyzing American Literature

About This Chapter

Analyze a wide variety of American authors and works of literature to prepare for the SAT literature subject test. Video lessons and self-assessment quizzes provide summaries and analyses of classic American books, poems, stories and essays.

SAT Subject Test Literature: Analyzing American Literature - Chapter Summary

Learn about several important American works and the authors who wrote them through these online review lessons. The following lessons can provide you with the information you need to take the SAT literature subject test. Some of the American authors and literary works that this chapter's lessons cover include:

  • Washington Irving's 'Rip Van Winkle'
  • Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven'
  • Herman Melville's Moby Dick
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
  • Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

The lessons in this chapter include practice problems and self-assessment quizzes that test your knowledge of different American works. The chapter's short and engaging video lessons can prepare you for the SAT subject test, and key terms are linked into the text for easy navigation.

SAT Subject Test Literature: Analyzing American Literature Objectives

The SAT literature subject test is a college-entry exam that seeks to determine your ability to read and comprehend literary samples from a range of regions, genres and time periods. About 40-50% of the questions on the exam are devoted to American literature by authors from the United States. Objectives of the lessons in this chapter include:

  • Summarizing key American works of fiction
  • Exploring various themes and styles in American literature
  • Analyzing important American novels, poems, stories and essays
  • Understanding how historical events and movements influenced American writers

The SAT literature subject test is composed of 60 entirely multiple-choice questions and must be finished in one hour. The test contains 6-8 sets of questions, with each set focused on a different literary passage. Your score for this exam may range from 200-800 points, depending on how well you do.

13 Lessons in Chapter 8: SAT Subject Test Literature: Analyzing American Literature
Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Summary and Analysis

1. Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Summary and Analysis

Everyone loves a scary story now and then. Learn how Washington Irving's famous story, ''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,'' uses imagination and the supernatural to make it a Romantic piece of American literature that is still adapted by television today.

Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle: Summary and Analysis

2. Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle: Summary and Analysis

The story of 'Rip Van Winkle' is one of enchantments and escape. In this lesson, we look at how Washington Irving uses his words and Romantic characteristics to create the story's theme.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poem Analysis

3. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poem Analysis

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was known as a fireside poet because his poems were read by the fire as a means of entertainment. Learn about how he created American history through the use of musical elements, like rhythm and rhyme scheme.

Poe's The Cask of Amontillado: Summary and Analysis

4. Poe's The Cask of Amontillado: Summary and Analysis

This video explores Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado,' a Dark Romantic short story that illustrates the horrors of evil. By breaking down the elements of plot, we can see that Poe's intentional selection of details in the story create his 'unity of effect.'

Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven: Summary and Analysis

5. Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven: Summary and Analysis

This video introduces Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven.' Through Poe's use of poetic devices and dark Romantic characteristics, he is able to achieve the 'unity of effect' to appeal to critics and the masses both during his time and even still today.

Herman Melville: Moby-Dick Summary and Analysis

6. Herman Melville: Moby-Dick Summary and Analysis

''Moby Dick'' is not just a boring story about a whale. Its popularity is still strong today (guess what major coffee chain takes its name from the story) thanks to Herman Melville's raunchy jokes about sperm whales. Oh, the fact it's a great story about evil and revenge doesn't hurt either.

The Scarlet Letter: Summary and Analysis of an Allegory

7. The Scarlet Letter: Summary and Analysis of an Allegory

See how Nathaniel Hawthorne uses allegory and symbolism to illustrate the affair and resulting guilt between a minister and a Puritan woman in his novel 'The Scarlet Letter.'

Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience: Summary and Analysis

8. Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience: Summary and Analysis

Henry David Thoreau wrote the essay Civil Disobedience to show his opposition to slavery and American imperialism. His essay has influenced many prominent civil rights activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Emily Dickinson: Poems and Poetry Analysis

9. Emily Dickinson: Poems and Poetry Analysis

Emily Dickinson was a well-known poet of the mid-1800s whose numerous works have stood the test of time. But what in the world did her poems really mean? In this video, we'll explore one of her most recognized pieces and analyze its meaning and purpose.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Themes and Analysis

10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Themes and Analysis

In this lesson, we will continue our exploration of Mark Twain's most acclaimed work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, through an analysis of plot, characters, and theme.

The Great Gatsby: Summary, Themes, Symbols, and Character

11. The Great Gatsby: Summary, Themes, Symbols, and Character

F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' is considered by many critics to be the greatest American novel. Watch our video lesson on the novel to find out why!

Of Mice and Men: Summary and Analysis of Steinbeck's Style

12. Of Mice and Men: Summary and Analysis of Steinbeck's Style

John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' is one of the most enduring American stories of friendship. Watch this video lesson to learn about its characters, main plot events and key themes.

Langston Hughes & the Harlem Renaissance: Poems of the Jazz Age

13. Langston Hughes & the Harlem Renaissance: Poems of the Jazz Age

Langston Hughes was a popular poet from the Harlem Renaissance. His Jazz Age poems, including 'Harlem' and 'I, Too, Sing America,' discussed the racism facing African Americans in the 1920s and '30s.

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