SAT Subject US History Practice Question 843: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 843

14. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, representative of the American Renaissance of the 1840s, is significant in that it

A. changed the attitude of the people of the United States toward the Native Americans.
B. portrayed life in a utopian community.
C. was an antislavery novel that galvanized Northern opinion against the Fugitive Slave Law.
D. opposed the narrow Puritan point of view of 17th-century New England.
E. used a predominately American occupation to explore man's struggles with the natural world and good and evil.

Correct Answer: E


The American Renaissance in literature signified the worldwide acceptance of American writers. Moby Dick was the name of the whale that obsessed Captain Ahab of the ship Pequod. It is an epic tale of the struggle between man and nature and good and evil. While the novel included sympathetic portrayals of Native Americans (A), it did not significantly alter American attitudes toward the Native Americans. Nathaniel Hawthorne's book Blithedale Romance explores life in a utopian community (B). Uncle Tom's Cabin, written in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe, galvanized Northern opinion against the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 (C). The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne portrayed the rigidity of 17th-century Puritan New England.

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