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Thomas Hardy’s impulses as a writer, all of which he indulge

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Thomas Hardy’s impulses as a writer, all of which he indulge  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jan 2020, 03:51
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4-1 SECTION B 17-24

Thomas Hardy’s impulses as a writer, all of which he indulged in his novels, were numerous and divergent, and they did not always work together in harmony. Hardy was to some degree interested in exploring his characters’ psychologies, though impelled less by curiosity than by sympathy. Occasionally he felt the impulse to comedy (in all its detached coldness) as well as the impulse to farce, but he was more often inclined to see tragedy and record it. He was also inclined to literary realism in the several senses of that phrase. He wanted to describe ordinary human beings; he wanted to speculate on their dilemmas rationally (and, unfortunately, even schematically); and he wanted to record precisely the material universe. Finally, he wanted to be more than a realist. He wanted to transcend what he considered to be the banality of solely recording things exactly and to express as well his awareness of the occult and the strange.

In his novels these various impulses were sacrificed to each other inevitably and often. Inevitably, because Hardy did not care in the way that novelists such as Flaubert or James cared, and therefore took paths of least resistance. Thus, one impulse often surrendered to a fresher one and, unfortunately, instead of exacting a compromise, simply disappeared. A desire to throw over reality a light that never was might give way abruptly to the desire on the part of what we might consider a novelist-scientist to record exactly and concretely the structure and texture of a flower. In this instance, the new impulse was at least an energetic one, and thus its indulgence did not result in a relaxed style. But on other occasions Hardy abandoned a perilous, risky, and highly energizing impulse in favor of what was for him the fatally relaxing impulse to classify and schematize abstractly. When a relaxing impulse was indulged, the style—that sure index of an author’s literary worth—was certain to become verbose. Hardy’s weakness derived from his apparent inability to control the comings and goings of these divergent impulses and from his unwillingness to cultivate and sustain the energetic and risky ones. He submitted to first one and then another, and the spirit blew where it listed; hence the unevenness of any one of his novels. His most controlled novel, Under the Greenwood Tree, prominently exhibits two different but reconcilable impulses—a desire to be a realist-historian and a desire to be a psychologist of love—but the slight interlockings of plot are not enough to bind the two completely together. Thus even this book splits into two distinct parts.


1. Which of the following is the most appropriate title for the passage, based on its content?

(A) Under the Greenwood Tree: Hardy’s Ambiguous Triumph
(B) The Real and the Strange: The Novelist’s Shifting Realms
(C) Energy Versus Repose: The Role of: Ordinary People in Hardy’s Fiction
(D) Hardy’s Novelistic Impulses: The Problem of Control
(E) Divergent Impulses: The Issue of Unity in the Novel


2. The passage suggests that the author would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about literary realism?

(A) Literary realism is most concerned with the exploration of the internal lives of ordinary human beings.
(B) The term “literary realism” is susceptible to more than a single definition.
(C) Literary realism and an interest in psychology are likely to be at odds in a novelist’s work.
(D) “Literary realism” is the term most often used by critics in describing the method of Hardy’s novels.
(E) A propensity toward literary realism is a less interesting novelistic impulse than is an interest in the occult and the strange.


3. The author of the passage considers a writer’s style to be

(A) a reliable means by which to measure the writer’s literary merit
(B) most apparent in those parts of the writer’s work that are not realistic
(C) problematic when the writer attempts to follow perilous or risky impulses
(D) shaped primarily by the writer’s desire to classify and schematize
(E) the most accurate index of the writer’s literary reputation


4. Which of the following words could best be substituted for “relaxed” (line 37) without substantially changing the author’s meaning?
(A) informal
(B) confined
(C) risky
(D) wordy
(E) metaphoric


5. The passage supplies information to suggest that its author would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about the novelists Flaubert and James?

(A) They indulged more impulses in their novels than did Hardy in his novels.
(B) They have elicited a greater degree of favorable response from most literary critics than has Hardy.
(C) In the writing of their novels, they often took pains to effect a compromise among their various novelistic impulses.
(D) Regarding novelistic construction, they cared more about the opinions of other novelists than about the opinions of ordinary readers.
(E) They wrote novels in which the impulse toward realism and the impulse away from realism were evident in equal measure.


6. Which of the following statements best describes the organization of lines 27 to 41 of the passage (“Thus…abstractly”)?

(A) The author makes a disapproving observation and then presents two cases, one of which leads to a qualification of his disapproval and the other of which does not.
(B) The author draws a conclusion from a previous statement, explains his conclusion in detail, and then gives a series of examples that have the effect of resolving an inconsistency.
(C) The author concedes a point and then makes a counterargument, using an extended comparison and contrast that qualifies his original concession.
(D) The author makes a judgment, points out an exception to his judgment, and then contradicts his original assertion.
(E) The author summarizes and explains an argument and then advances a brief history of opposing arguments.


7. ​​​​​Which of the following statements about the use of comedy in Hardy’s novels is best supported by the passage?

(A) Hardy’s use of comedy in his novels tended to weaken his literary style.
(B) Hardy’s use of comedy in his novels was inspired by his natural sympathy.
(C) Comedy appeared less frequently in Hardy’s novels than did tragedy.
(D) Comedy played an important role in Hardy’s novels though that comedy was usually in the form of farce.
(E) Comedy played a secondary role in Hardy’s more controlled novels only.


8. The author implies which of the following about Under the Greenwood Tree in relation to Hardy’s other novels?

(A) It is Hardy’s most thorough investigation of the psychology of love.
(B) Although it is his most controlled novel, it does not exhibit any harsh or risky impulses.
(C) It, more than his other novels, reveals Hardy as a realist interested in the history of ordinary human beings.
(D) In it Hardy’s novelistic impulses are managed somewhat better than in his other novels.
(E) Its plot, like the plots of all of Hardy’s other novels, splits into two distinct parts.

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Thomas Hardy’s impulses as a writer, all of which he indulge   [#permalink] 18 Jan 2020, 03:51
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