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Literature of the Contemporary Period Flashcards

Literature of the Contemporary Period Flashcards
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Death of a Salesman
This play was created by Arthur Miller to look at the effects of materialism and how this is connected to the idea of the American Dream.
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The autobiography of Maya Angelou. It details the challenges she had to face as she grew up in a racist society along with difficulties in her family situation.
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On the Road
A fictionalized account of the life of Jack Kerouac. It includes themes that relate to the defiance of social norms.
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Catcher in the Rye: Explanation of the Term
Caulfield made up this term from a poem he misunderstood. He believed it referred to protecting innocents, showing how much he wanted to accomplish this.
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Catcher in the Rye
A novel by J.D. Salinger, about the character Holden Caulfield dealing with grief over the death of his brother.
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Theatre of the Absurd
A genre of plays that doesn't include character development or plot. Instead, these plays are concerned with the isolation of humanity and life's pointlessness.
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The Zoo Story
Edward Albee wrote this absurdist play. It only has one act and showcases the Theatre of the Absurd's belief that we are alone and that life has no meaning.
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Expressionism
In this literary trend, writers try to place importance on the inner life of their characters, striving to display the inner feelings of characters.
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Juxtaposition
A process that involves throwing things that aren't usually associated with one another together. It may also involve mixing the past into the present time.
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Contemporary Literary Period
The current literary period. It followed Modernism and is shaped by Expressionism. It often includes characters who are trying to find their identity.
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The Crucible
Arthur Miller wrote this play that is set during the Salem Witch Trials. The play treats these trials as an allegory for the McCarthy hearings. Its first performance was in 1953.
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A Streetcar Named Desire
A play written by Tennessee Williams that focused on social realism. It addressed the cultural clash occurring at the time it was written. It's set in New Orleans.
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Flashcard Content Overview

Working with this set of flashcards can allow you to review contemporary novels such as Naked Lunch, The House on Mango Street and Catcher in the Rye. You'll also be able to consider autobiographical works created in this period, including Black Boy, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and On the Road. Plays including The Glass Menagerie, Death of a Salesman, The Zoo Story, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Crucible will also be discussed. Additionally, you'll be able to go over beat poetry.

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A Streetcar Named Desire
A play written by Tennessee Williams that focused on social realism. It addressed the cultural clash occurring at the time it was written. It's set in New Orleans.
The Crucible
Arthur Miller wrote this play that is set during the Salem Witch Trials. The play treats these trials as an allegory for the McCarthy hearings. Its first performance was in 1953.
Contemporary Literary Period
The current literary period. It followed Modernism and is shaped by Expressionism. It often includes characters who are trying to find their identity.
Juxtaposition
A process that involves throwing things that aren't usually associated with one another together. It may also involve mixing the past into the present time.
Expressionism
In this literary trend, writers try to place importance on the inner life of their characters, striving to display the inner feelings of characters.
The Zoo Story
Edward Albee wrote this absurdist play. It only has one act and showcases the Theatre of the Absurd's belief that we are alone and that life has no meaning.
Theatre of the Absurd
A genre of plays that doesn't include character development or plot. Instead, these plays are concerned with the isolation of humanity and life's pointlessness.
Catcher in the Rye
A novel by J.D. Salinger, about the character Holden Caulfield dealing with grief over the death of his brother.
Catcher in the Rye: Explanation of the Term
Caulfield made up this term from a poem he misunderstood. He believed it referred to protecting innocents, showing how much he wanted to accomplish this.
On the Road
A fictionalized account of the life of Jack Kerouac. It includes themes that relate to the defiance of social norms.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The autobiography of Maya Angelou. It details the challenges she had to face as she grew up in a racist society along with difficulties in her family situation.
Death of a Salesman
This play was created by Arthur Miller to look at the effects of materialism and how this is connected to the idea of the American Dream.
The Invisible Man
A novel dealing with race written by Ralph Ellison. Because of the racism of those around him, this novel's protagonist is never given a name.
Black Boy
This is Richard Wright's autobiography. It addresses the process of growing up in a racist country. By the end of the book its realized that America in general is racist, not just the South.
The House on Mango Street
Sandra Cisneros's first novel. It covers a year in the life of a young Latina girl, who struggles with patriarchal Latino culture which is made especially clear by a character named Sally.
Tennessee Williams
A playwright who worked in the Southern Gothic genre. He wrote plays such as A Streetcar Named Desire as well as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Beat Poetry
A type of poetry that developed in the 1950s among individuals who felt defeated. It often drew on themes associated with drugs, the natural world and different aspects of sexuality.
Contemporary Literary Period: Characteristics
Writers associated with this period put a lot more focus on what a character feels and how he or she thinks than on the character's actions or the plot.
Contemporary Literary Period: Effects of WWII
The patriotism demanded by this war and its aftermath led the writers of this movement to push back against this mass conformity.
The Glass Menagerie
A Tennessee Williams play that shows past events as narrated by the main character, Tom.
The Glass Menagerie Characters: Tom
The Glass Menagerie's main character. He lives with his mother and sister and must provide for them all.
The Glass Menagerie Characters: Laura
Tom's sister in The Glass Menagerie. She has a collection of glass figurines that are delicate, just like she is.
The Glass Menagerie Characters: Amanda
The mother of Tom and Laura in The Glass Menagerie. She wants a better life after being abandoned by her drunk husband.
Naked Lunch
A non-linear novel written by William S. Burroughs. He used words that had been rearranged at random to convey the mental thought processes of an addict.

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