Wednesday, March 14, 2012

So I'm Reading the CLEP Guide to American Lit...

...and the first sentence I come across in the section on the Realist and Naturalist writers is this:

"I am making a slight change to the dates that the College Board (creators of the CLEP tests) states in its literature."

Um, Dr. Stratman? I appreciate your emphasis on correctness in regards to dates, but I really would like to pass this CLEP test.

He then goes on to say:

"Some scholars believe that realism as a literary movement began closer to 1870, but many more scholars point to the beginning of the Civil War as the beginning of American literary realism."

Okay, that's great, but which date do I need to know for the test?

Guess it's time to do some research.

I couldn't help but laugh after I read the plot summary of Ethan Frome by the naturalist Edith Wharton. Basically, this guy named Ethan has this crippled wife named Zeena who's not very nice. She has a cousin named Mattie whom Ethan (of course) secretly loves. At the end of the novel, Zeena sends Mattie away. But, on Ethan and Mattie's way to the train station:

"Mattie convinces Ethan to run their sled into a tree so they may spend their last moments on earth embraced."


"Unfortunately for them, they survive."

This is where I burst out laughing.

"The end of the novel shows Ethan entering the home, twenty years later, and quickly attending to two aging, crippled women."

Wow. Not Romeo and Juliet, that's for sure.

Below is one of my favorite quotes from the book. Picture taken (and edited in Snapseed) by yours truly. Which explains the blurriness. The poem is by Stephen Crane.


  1. CLEPing a lit class sounds a little bit like sacrilege to me, but I was very amused by this post. I really enjoyed Edith Wharton's House of was quite the tear jerker.

    1. Maybe it is a little bit sacrilegious, but it sure is easier to take the CLEP. :)

      I haven't read any Edith Wharton... I may read Ethan Frome just to see what it's like (I'm sure it's much more dramatic in the story than in the dry plot summary.)I'll have to look up House of Mirth as well.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post!



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