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2007-02-27 08:44沪江论坛


  Roger Rosenblatt's book Black Fiction, in attempting to apply literary rather than sociopolitical criteria to its subject, successfully alters the approach taken by most previous studies. As Rosenblatt notes, criticism of Black writing has often served as a pretext for expounding on Black history. Addison Gayle's recent work, for example, judges the value of Black fiction by overtly political standards, rating each work according to the notions of Black identity which it introduces.

  Although fiction assuredly springs from political circumstances, its authors react to those circumstances in ways other than ideological, and talking about novels and stories primarily as instruments of ideology outwits much of the fictional enterprise. Rosenblatt's literary analysis discloses affinities and connections among works of Black fiction which solely political studies have overlooked or ignored.

  Writing acceptable criticism of Black fiction, however, presupposes giving satisfactory answers to a number of questions. First of all, is there a sufficient reason, other than the racial identity to the authors, to group together works by Black authors? Second, how does Black fiction make itself distinct from other modem fiction with which it is largely contemporaneous? Rosenblatt shows that Black fiction constitutes a distinct body of writing that has an identifiable, coherent literary tradition. Looking at novels written by Blacks over the last eighty years, he discovers recurring concerns and designs independent of chronology. These structures are related to the themes, and they spring, not surprisingly, from the central fact that the Black characters in these novels exist in a predominantly White culture, whether they try to conform to that culture or rebel against it.

  Black Fiction does leave some aesthetic questions open. Rosenblatt's theme-based analysis permits considerable objectivity, he even explicitly states that it is not his intention to judge the merit of the various works, yet his reluctance seems misplaced, especially since an attempt to appraise might have led to interesting results. For instance, some of the novels appear to be structurally diffuse. Is this a defect, or are the authors working out of, or trying to forge, a different kind of aesthetic? In addition, the style of some Black novels, like Jean Tommer's Cane, verges on expressionism or surrealism; does this technique provide a counterpoint to the prevalent theme that portrays the fate against which Black heroes are pitted, a theme usually conveyed by more naturalistic modes of expression?

  In spite of such omissions, what Rosenblatt does include in his discussion makes for an astute and worthwhile study. Black Fiction surveys a wide variety of novels, bringing to our attention in the process some fascinating and little-known works like James Weldon Johnson's Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man. Its argument is tightly constructed, and its forthright, lucid style exemplifies levelheaded and penetrating criticism.

  20. The author objects to criticism of Black fiction like that by Addison Gayle because it ___20___.

  A. emphasizes purely literary aspects of such fiction

  B. misinterprets the ideological content of such fiction

  C. misunderstands the notions of Black identity contained in such fiction

  D. substitutes political for literary criteria in evaluating such fiction

  21. The author of the passage is primarily concerned with ___21___.

  A. evaluating the soundness of a work of criticism

  B. comparing various critical approaches to "a subject

  C. discussing the limitations of a particular kind of criticism

  D. summarizing the major points made in a work of criticism

  22. The author believes that Black Fiction would have been improved, had Resenblatt ___22___.

  A. evaluated more carefully the ideological and historical aspects of Black fiction

  B. attempted to be more objective in his approach to novels and stories by Black authors

  C. explored in greater detail the recurrent thematic concerns of Black fiction throughout its history

  D. assessed the relative literary merit of the novels he analyzes thematically

  23. The author's discussion of Black Fiction can be best described as ___23___.

  A. pedantic and contentious

  B. critical but admiring

  C. ironic and deprecating

  D. argumentative but unfocused

  24. It can be inferred that the author would be LEAST likely to approve of which of the following? ___24___

  A. An analysis of the influence of political events on the personal ideology of Black writers

  B. A critical study that applies sociopolitical criteria to autobiographies by Black authors

  C. A literary study of Black poetry that appraises the merits of poems according to the political acceptability of their themes

  D. An examination of the growth of a distinct Black literary tradition within the context of Black history

  25. The author refers to James Weldon Johnson's Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man most probably in order to ___25___.

  A point out affinities between Rosenblatt's method of thematic analysis and earlier criticism

  B clarify the point about expressionistic style made earlier in the passage

  C qualify the assessment of Rosenblatt's book made in the first paragraph of the passage

  D give a specific example of one of the accomplishments of Rosenbaltts' work


  If adults liked to read books that were exceedingly difficult, they'd all be reading Proust. Most don't.

  So why, reading experts ask, do schools expect children to read —— and love to read —— when they are given material that is frequently too hard for them?

  Science and social studies textbooks are at least a grade above the reading levels of many students, experts say, and in some suburban and urban school systems, reading lists can include books hard for some adults to tackle.

  Toni Morrison's award-winning novel "Beloved," about a former slave's decision to kill her child rather than see her enslaved, is on some middle schools' lists for kids to read unassisted. And elementary schools sometimes ask students to read books such as "The Bridge to Terabithia," with themes about death and gender roles that librarians say are better suited for older children.

  To be sure, pushing some students to challenge themselves is important, educators say. But there are points where kids read books before they can truly comprehend them and then lose the beauty of the work.

  "Teachers studied 'The Great Gatsby' in college and then want to teach that book because they have smart things to say about it, and they teach it in high school," Calkins said. "Then schools want to get their middle school kids ready for high school so they teach them 'The Catcher in the Rye.' It's a whole cultural thing."

  In large part, he Richard Allington, a leading researcher on reading instruction and a professor of reading education at the University of Tennessee, blames inappropriately chosen books for students' reading woes, especially in school systems where large percentages of children read below grade level. The average fifth-grade student in Detroit and Baltimore, for example, reads at a third-grade level, he said, but schools still give them fifth-grade core reading and social studies texts.

  That, he said, crushes a child's motivation.

  "If you made me education magician and I had one thing that I could pull off, it would be that every kid in this country had a desk full of books that they could actually read accurately, fluently, with comprehension," he said.

  Sofi Sinozich, a seventh-grader in the Humanities and Communications Magnet Program at Eastern Middle School in Montgomery County, said she would like to be assigned books that speak to her.

  In sixth-grade English, "graphic novels [were] excluded, which annoyed many of us," said Sofi, who is partial to Japanese comics called manga because she finds the style beautiful and the stories well done.

  Many teachers exclude graphic novels and comics from reading lists, even though a graphic novel was nominated for the National Book Award this year. And Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has said he learned to read through comics after his schoolmaster father disregarded others who said they would lead to no good.

  So should kids read Shakespeare or the comics? Graphic novels or "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Reading experts say they should read everything —— when they are ready to understand what they are reading.

  26. The novel “Beloved” of Toni Morrison is cited as an example to show that this book is ___26___ for children to read.

  A. easy B. difficult C. suitable D. bad

  27. Teachers like to teach “The Great Gatsby” for the sake of its ___27___.

  A. morality B. convenience C. fame D. usefulness

  28. To read above the children's level results in ___28___.

  A. the improvement of their reading ability.

  B. higher marks in a subject.

  C. the destruction of their interest of reading.

  D. selling of more novels.

  29. Comics as in the last but third paragraph means ___29___.

  A. comedy B. funny stories C. cartoons D. beautiful stories

  30. It can be inferred from the passage that the father of Archbishop Desmond Tutu agrees that ___30___.

  A. children should read books nominated for the National Book Award.

  B. children should read less graphic novels.

  C. children should read more graphic novels.

  D. children should not read novels in their spare time unless they like.

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