A story that is usually written about a “civilized” member of society being captured by “uncivilized” members of society and that person escaping or attempting to escape. For Example: The Captivity of Mary Rowlandson, Mary Rowlandson, the woman is captured by Natives and runs away.
The Puritans believed that they had formed a “covenant” or contract with God. They felt themselves to be a “chosen nation,” the people through whom God would fulfill his divine plan on Earth. The coming of Christ changed the terms of the contract, enabling them to live under a “covenant of grace.” Individually, Puritans agonized this covenant but as a group they were confident.
The belief or idea that a county or time period is very different not conforming to the traditional norms or rules of the time. Idea rose in the 1630’s as “City Upon a Hill idea” and rose again during American Revolution. Promotes individual and egalitarian ideas and the idea of going from “rags to riches” from hard work.
A long literary work (usually prose, but could be in verse) that laments the state of society and its morals in a serious tone and always contains a prophecy of society’s downfall.
A style of writing which is exactly as it sounds – it chooses everyday language instead of more ornate and florid language. It was often used by Puritans because they believed it to be more Godly – and that being overly fanciful was hedonistic. It’s purpose is to be “clear, concise and correct.”
The Puritanical belief that individuals must wean themselves from earthly attachments and make spiritual matters their main priority. Attachments deemed inappropriate included one’s: home, furniture, clothing, valuables. Spirituality must also come primary to: love, education, natural beauty, and even family.
“Upon the Burning of Our House” by Anne Bradstreet demonstrated this
The study and interpretation of themes and symbols, especially in the Bible.
These Characters are always clever and provide or explain a reason for disorder and enable people to see the dark side of life. They also aid in creation and give a reason for change. Usually, but not always, the trickster is humorous.
Examples of these in mythology or creation stories include Coyote, Hare, Raven, and to some extent the snake in the Garden of Eden (Brink).
A sacred narrative that explains how the world and humankind came to be in present fashion. They show beliefs about nature and the physical world, social order and appropriate behavior, and human nature and good vs. evil. They also usually have a trickster and a hero.
Examples: Old Man Coyote and the Rock, Gluscabi and the Wind Eagle, Genesis
The movement that gave birth the age of reason basically valuing human intuition and thought over dogma. The lifelong process practiced by rationalists, transcendentalists, etc. of gaining knowledge in order to have a fuller understanding of the world. For instance Ben Franklin studied philosophy, politics and science for his own enlightenment.
The Age of Reason
This is when writers turned away from religion and started to focus on science. Politics were also a big part of this time. People started wanting a representative government instead of a monarchy.
Examples of these writers were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry.
This movement wanted to achieve order and explanation of the natural through science. Focused on reason, logic, and mathematics to understand the world. Some famous examples of this movement would consist of Isaac Newton as well as Benjamin Franklin.
Belief in a higher power that had a part in creating the world but is no longer present, much like a clockmaker who makes a clock but does not control it as it runs.
A literary movement in both American poetry and prose that valued emotion over reason
Reflected on the natural world in order to see truth and beauty and saw cities as corrupt
Was a reaction against the Industrial Revolution and urbanization
prefers innocence to sophistication
fight’s for individual’s freedom and worth
Led to increased American nationalism
Best example of literature is Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
revered the noble savage
Poetry had American themes but was in European style and was seen as more important than science
These were the most popular poets in America during the Romantic period, named for the fact that their poetry was read by the fireside.
These were Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
This was a nineteenth-century movement inspired by Romanticism and in reaction to Rationalism. Emerson pioneered it.
The idea was that everything on Earth was part of a divine oversoul, which is basically God encompassing every part of the universe. Based on this, everyone was connected to one another, and we all had the universe within us.
Like Romanticism, this valued intuition and nature.
This was a reaction to Transcendentalism in the mid-nineteenth-century. It emphasizes human fallibility, proneness to sin, and self-destruction.
Famous writers of this sub genre were Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville.
Transcendentalists believed that a great “oversoul” united all beings into one divine soul. The oversoul connects all of our souls together and to God.
Depicts life accurately without idealizing or romanticizing it. Shows the realities of life (everyday life), especially in the Civil War. Focuses on accuracy and objectivity.
Emphasizes accuracy and objectivity.
– Depicts common, everyday heroes.
– Views the world scientifically.
-Focuses on real- life situations.
Literary examples: My Antonia, To Build a Fire,
The Civil War
This pit brother against brother and the South suffered heavily from economic losses. The depressing results of this contributed to the realist movement because people did not want to romanticize war anymore- they had seen the horrors it contained and didn’t pretend that war was glorious or a way to prove your strength. This general feeling of disillusionment was added to the realist movement.
Found in some works from the Realism movement. The work emphasizes a specific geographic setting and reproduces the speech, behaviour and attitudes of the people in that region. Not strict realism as it portrays characters in a sentimental way. Writers such as Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe…
Extension of realism, claimed to show life exactly as it was. Used psychology, sociobiology, heredity, and darwinism. Said behavior/choices was based on our genes.
It explained how nature is more powerful than our willpower. Examples: To Build a Fire, My Antonia
Refers to the bold new experimental styles and forms that swept the arts during the first part of the twentieth century that reflected a loss of faith in traditional values and beliefs, including the American dream. Some cultural changes that were going on at the same time were the introduction of socialism, the science of psychoanalysis being founded, Prohibition, and the women gaining the right to vote. Modernism also introduces a hero who is flawed and disillusioned, but is also courageous and honorable.
A Modernist poetic movement that emphasized single images and their essences, usually rejecting the flowery and excessive poetry of Romantics in favor of clear and concise language.
Examples: Red Wheelbarrow, This Is Just To Say, all those short poems
The American Dream
The idea that anyone and everyone is able to thrive and succeed in America, regardless of race or the social status they were born into. Other aspects of the Dream are that America is a “promised land,” people who are independent and hardworking can achieve what they want to achieve, and that things can keep getting progressively better and better.
Plot: John Proctor cheats on wife Elizabeth with Abigail. Abby loves Proctor, wants to kill Liz. Betty gets “sick” after the girls are caught dancing, people get paranoid and hysterical, Rev. Hale comes and makes everything a million times worse. Abby is afraid of getting caught so uses the slave Tituba as a scapegoat. She threatens the girls and they copy her and what not and they get lots of power and ruin people’s lives (a witch hunt ensues). Liz doesn’t trust JP. Liz is arrested, JP tries to save her, many characters get into trouble. Mary Warren is weak and scared of Abby so she gets JP arrested. The judges are unjust and useless as they don’t help anyone (except Abby of course). Many people are arrested or die. In the end JP and Liz make up, Abby runs away, and JP hangs (such fun) BASICALLY all the evil people have power (Abby), and all the good people are weak (Mary Warren or Liz in the beginning) or afraid of being judged/having their reputation ruined (JP)
Themes: Judgement, religion, hysteria/fear, revenge/envy, intolerance, reputation/identity, loyalty
It’s social commentary, a microcosm for 50’s America with McCarthyism
The Scarlet Letter
Plot: In 17th century Boston, a character named Hester Prynne is first introduced on the scaffold. Grasping Pearl with an embroidered A on her chest, she has committed adultery- a major sin in Puritanical times. She refuses to reveal the identity of the child’s father to the crowd- who turns out to be the Reverend that questioned her. The reverend’s health fails and he lives with Chillingsworth, a “leech” of a doctor, who is really Hester’s husband. He guilts him into scourging himself and eventually
Hester works as a seamstress on the outskirts of Boston, and enlists the help of Reverend Dimmesdale to keep Pearl, the baby. They end up meeting in the woods after a while and decide to leave together on a boat. However, Chillingsworth decides to come along and thus destroy their plan to happiness. On election day, Dimmesdale ends up calling Hester and Pearl to the scaffold, revealing the A on his chest, and dies.
Themes: Guilt, Evil, Identity and society, ostracization, revenge, sin, conformity, individual, nature is forgiving, pearl and Mistress Hibbins as those ostracized by puritanism,
Motifs: A as a symbol of guilt/happiness/fear; differs for person
Red = love, black = leech, evil, chillingsworth,
Pearl as light
Rose = non conformity, sprung up in jail
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Plot: Frederick Douglass was born into slavery and was separated from his family at a young age. He was sold to a slave owner in Baltimore at age seven and learned to read there, but was returned to his plantation when the old owner died. He was treated harshly there and was soon moved to a place where he would get “broken.” He then was rented to another plantation owner and went back to Baltimore after a failed escape attempt. He worked in shipyards and eventually earns wages and eventually earned enough to escape.
Themes: Ignorance as a tool for slavery, the vision of freedom, slavery’s effects on slaveholders, and slaveholding as a perversion of Christianity.
Motifs: Victimization of female slaves, treatment of slaves as property, and freedom in the city.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Plot: Huck Finn, at first living with two old ladies, is basically kidnapped by his alcoholic father before escaping to a nearby island on the Mississippi river. He later meets Jim, a runaway slave owned by the two old ladies, and together they make their way down the river on a raft. The do a buncha stuff then meet two grifters who pretend they’re royalty. Finally, they go to someone’s farm and then Tom Sawyer happens to show up and then eventually it is revealed that Jim is now free.
Themes: A great example of local color regionalism, a good tale of growing up/childhood and also a bit of a commentary on racism and morality.
Plot: The novel discusses the story of former slaves who escaped from a plantation called Sweet Home. Sethe is one of the people who escaped Sweet Home and has four children. One day, men come to take Sethe and her kids back to slavery. To save her children from having to live their lives as slaves, Sethe kills one of her daughters and tries to kill her other children but does not succeed. The house that Sethe and her family live in, 124, becomes haunted and the ghost is believed to be the daughter that Sethe killed. Years later, another escaped slave from Sweet Home, Paul D, finds his way to 124 and banishes the ghost from the house. Soon, though, a young woman who calls herself Beloved shows up at 124 and it is believed to be Sethe’s dead daughter because “Beloved” was written on her headstone. Beloved quickly becomes a powerful force in 124 and has a strong hold over Sethe once she realizes that it’s her daughter. Beloved grows stronger while Sethe starts to weaken, both mentally and physically. Denver, Sethe’s living daughter, gets help from some female members of the town and they are able to make Beloved disappear.
Themes: Slavery, community, family, memory/the past, the supernatural
Plot: The story is set up when Jim is grown and sees an old friend on a train and they talk about how awesome Antonia was and say they should write about her so Jim does and the rest of the book is what he wrote. Jim’s parents die so he goes to the prairie to live with his well-off grandparents and meets Antonia. They become good friends. Antonia’s father kills himself. Jim moves to Black Hawk with his grandparents and his grandmother gets Antonia a hired girl job at the Harlings place. Antonia loves going to the dances but gets in trouble and is fired from harlings. Also Jim kisses her but she shuts him down (poor Jim). They are still friends though. Jim becomes a lawyer and Antonia has a baby with a guy who screws her over. After a very long time Jim visits and Antonia has a nice big family and she seems happy and Jim leaves with peace of mind.
Themes: Coming of age, loss of innocence, hard work are all motifs/theme things the Cather shows in My Antonia by using the characters relationships, actions, and their feeling towards their surrounding environment.
The Great Gatsby
The Story is told by Nick who just recently moved to New York. He has a strange neighbor named Jay Gatsby who is head over heels in love with Daisy. Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan (total dick head) Gatsby tries to win Daisy back but it doesn’t work. He ends up dead and Tom ends up still a douche running away with Daisy.
Theme: The pursuit of the American dream; Daisy is the American dream to Gatsby and he is never able to attain her. She is Gatsby’s happiness and this story not only proves that the American dream seems to be unobtainable but also that money cannot buy happiness.
The Captivity of Mary Rowlandson
This is a captivity narrative autobiography with a first person point of view (Rowlandson). She is telling the story as a memoir, focused on the events she has witnessed and experiences that have happened to her. The tone is full of despair but overall tone remains hopeful. The major conflict she faces is surviving her captivity and return to civilization, she realizes her dependence on both the will of God and the kindness of strangers.
Motifs: Christian imagery, bible, threatening landscapes.
Themes: Blurred line between civilization and savagery, life is uncertain, the fear of the New World.
Symbolism: Attack on Lancaster, the indians clothing.
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
This sermon was given by Jonathan Edwards who was one of the leaders of the First Great Awakening, in which preachers attempted to gain an emotional connection with their listeners (a new idea) rather than simply trying to interpret the Bible. Edwards was a very good public speaker and people would cry at his sermons.
The sermon uses many metaphors to make its points.
” and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock”
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The sermon says in a nutshell that the wicked should not feel safe. God has not promised to save those who do bad things and might at any moment let them slip into hell.
Edwards used the scary imagery of the sermon and angry tone (sometimes known as “fire and brimstone” preaching) because he thought that America’s sense of morality was deteriorating. The First Great Awakening was a response to this.
Speech to the Virginia Convention
In this speech that he gave to the Virginia convention, Patrick Henry urges the people of the convention to fight back against the oppressive Britain that has been defecting on promises for so long. However, in his speech, Patrick Henry states that they have tried those means over and over again, and it hasn’t worked. He warns the Americans that Britain is, as they are speaking, amassing an army to come and fight them into submission. He urges them to not listen to the lies and insidious platitudes coming from Britain, but to stand up and fight for their rights. He says that they must defend themselves against the tyrant Britain, as it is the only course left to free men. He ends with his famous line, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” asserting his stance that he would rather die fighting for liberty than to live a slave.
The Crisis, No. 1
Presented to the continental army 3 days before the battle of trenton this work was meant to boost morale. Paine uses sensory appeal to move the minds of his audience. In this work self determination is presented as a god given right which makes the British sacrilegious usurpers of god in Paine
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The supposed memoirs of Ben Franklin. Tries to create model for American population emphasizing the possibility of the rags to riches story saying with hard work there is nothing you cannot do. Also it displays being morally just to others (When Franklin decides to share the bread he has with others). Benjamin describes when first arriving in Philadelphia and with little money he decides to buy a few loaves of bread. As he journeys through town he gives them away to people he sees needing it more than himself.
Poor Richard’s Almanac
A booklet of aphorisms (brief, clearly-worded statements that makes a wise observation about life). The aphorisms conveyed moral lessons: “He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas… aka if you affiliate yourself with bad people, others will see you as a bad person too even if you aren’t.
Plot: An essay by Ralph Waldo emerson that establishes Transcendentalism – a movement of the 1820s to 1830s. It says people are not alone when they look at the stars. We’d appreciate the stars if they appeared once every 1000 years. Adults live without an appreciation of nature, but it touches the hearts of children. Nature reflects your state of mind. Observing nature lets people realize they are part of the Oversoul along with all other humans, Nature and God.
Themes: Corruption by Society: Society is full of distractions.
Solitude: Solitude lets people be part of the cycle of life more, without society. Nature’s Spirituality: People will be able to “transcend” humanity and become one with the Universal Being if they learn from Nature.
The basic idea is to “Trust thyself.” Do not rely on others’ judgments to make decisions in life. Happiness will not find you, YOU must find it: “no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil.” Do not conform to society. So what if you are misunderstood? “To be great is to be misunderstood.” Great leaders such as Jesus and Pythagorus were also misunderstood. Listen to your mind; it’s sacred! “Absolve you to yourself and you shall have the suffrage of the world…”
Themes: Trust yourself, value your own experiences, insights, opinions, and experiences above those presented by society and religion.
Symbols: corn: the rewards of hard work
iron string: belief in one’s own thoughts
“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
“And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not pinched in a corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but redeemers and benefactors, pious aspirants to be noble clay, plastic under the Almighty effort, let us advance and advance on Chaos and the Dark.”
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life . . . and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
It is about when he went to live in the woods for a time, excerpts we read include:
Growing two and a half acres of beans, he spent 15 dollars on them and grows 24 dollars. He reflects that nature doesn’t care whether the harvest is successful or not and will go by all the same.
He humanizes a group of warring ants and tells the it as story of their deeds as if they were warriors on a battlefield, making a connection to the human will to live.
Him being disapproving of hunters and trying, to no avail, to catch a loon in a rowboat.
He decides he has been in the woods enough after 2 years, and leaves noticing that in his short stay he already made a path where he often walked.
Themes: The Value of Simplicity, The Importance of Self-Reliance
Motifs: The Seasonal Cycle
Symbols: Walden Pond (tranquility of nature), Animals (people, Thoreau’s connection to nature)
Plot: Basically, Thoreau doesn’t agree with slavery or the war against Mexico and he does not believe he should financially support a government that supports these things. He also goes to jail, where he feels morally free.
Themes: Individualism through opposition to coercion and taxation, morality of supporting immoral institutions and civil disobedience as means of forcing social change
In the beginning God like built the heaven and earth and then He needed a smoke and was all like “let there be light, yo” and there was like days and then He made like an island which was totally Pangea I don’t know why they didn’t just say it but next He made like the moon and the sun and animals and stuff. Next He made like people yo but he started with like Adam and then took one of his ribs or something to make his woman. Then He gave them like a garden and said they could do like, whatever, but they have to remember not to eat this one thing, I think it was like a peach or something. No wait it was an apple. So like the first thing Adam’s woman does is like eat the apple because a snake told her to and then God gets all angry and stuff and tells them they can’t mess around in his garden any more so they go off and have kids.
Gluscabi and the Wind Eagle
A man named Gluscabi takes a canoe to go duck hunting in a lake, but the wind pushes him back to shore. This happens enough times that Gluscabi decides to go up the mountain and confront the Wind Eagle (producer of the totes cray winds), where he tricks the eagle into being dropped into a crevice and getting stuck (basically a dick move to stop the winds altogether). He goes back to duck hunting, but it’s really hot and the lake turns stagnant and gross, so with the advice of his grandmother he goes back up the mountain and puts the Wind Eagle back, under a disguise.
Moral of the story: Don’t mess with the balance of nature. Stay humble; everything has its place.
Old Man Coyote and the Rock
Morale of the story is be generous in heart, and understand that when you give something, it is no longer yours. Even if your circumstances change, you cannot go back on your word. Old Man Coyote was the trickster.
The Sky Tree
In this creation myth, Aataentsic cuts down the SkyTree because her husband asks her for the tree’s healing fruit, but when the Sky Tree falls through a hole in the sky, she throws herself after it. Animals on the water-covered earth hurry to build an island upon Turtle’s back and eventually, the Sky Tree takes root.
Coyote Finishes His Work
This story is an Indian legend. In the legend, Coyote is sent to Earth to “make it right.” He creates people, and places them all over the world. He gives them different languages, and teaches them how to hunt. He gives them all the skills for survival. He rights the wrongs, and when that task is done the Chief of the Earth, or God, comes down and takes Coyote with him to the place that was made for him, or Heaven. They then leave, and let the people of the world live as they please until their Earthwoman is very old.
The Devil and Tom Walker
Plot: This tale begins with a local legend concerning treasure buried by the pirate Captain Kidd in a swamp near Boston. Near the swamp lives a man named Tom Walker and his wife, a miserly woman. One day, while cutting through the swamp, Tom comes across the remains of an old Indian fortification and discovers a skull. Tom looks up to see a black man seated on a stump. The man has a soot-stained face, suggesting he works in some fiery place. Tom recognizes him as the devil, Old Scratch. The devil confirms the story of Kidd’s buried treasure and offers it to Tom but only under a condition that is surely the possession of Tom’s soul. Tom’s wife makes her own pact with the devil, keeping the profits for herself. His wife dies in an attempt to deal with Old Scratch and Tom seeks to renew his deal with the devil. The devil suggests that Tom becomes a slave trader. Tom regrets his bargain and becomes a church goer. Old Scratch and a black horse come to his home and he is forced on to the horse, the house gets burned the next day, and Tom never returns.
“The Devil: Temptation
The shortcut through the swamp: “shortcuts” to death
The rotted trees: moral decay
The bible buried under mortgage papers: greed and moral decay
Tom Walker’s new house: Barrenness in their marriage
Money turned to chips: All things are temporary
Rip Van Winkle
A man who doesn’t like his wife or working goes out on a trip with his dog and gun and finds a number of people wearing old clothing. Rip decides to sleep in a valley and when he wakes up it appears that Rip has slept for 20 years. His beard is long his dog gone and gun rusted. As Rip walks back to town it is not the same as before. In his confusion Rip says “God save the King” and many are angered that he is talking to in town. As Rip is beginning to see how his life has changed he sees his nagging wife is dead and so is his dog. Rip lives with his daughter who helped him in town from now on.
The Pit and the Pendulum
(Takes place during Spanish Inquisition) The narrator is receiving a death sentence from the court of the Inquisition.He wakes up lying on the floor of a pitch-black cell. He finds a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water next to him. After eating he trips and falls at the edge of a deep pit, realizing the inquisitors are preparing to torture him by death of pit. He falls asleep because the food&drink on the floor was drugged. He wakes up tied to the floor and he sees a picture of Father Time on the ceiling, except his scythe has been replaced by a pendulum that’s slowly descending toward him. There is spiced meat next to him, so he rubs it on himself, while rats bite the ropes tying him down. The walls then begin to glow and he’s pushed towards the pit by walls that are caving in. He’s then saved by General Lasalle, leader of the victorious French Army.
Themes: Death, Fear, Torture, Human Nature
Symbols: The Pendulum: Father Time usually holds a scythe…the Grim Reaper also holds a scythe and the Grim Reaper brings death.
The Story of an Hour
Mrs. Mallard, a sick woman with heart disease briefly hears her husband is dead from her sister. She locks herself in her room to mourn the loss of her husband. However, she begins to feel an unexpected sense of exhilaration. “Free! Body and soul free!” At the end of the story, she learns, when her husband returns home, that he had not perished in the railroad disaster. The shock of his appearance kills Mrs. Mallard.
Themes: Men’s apparent superiority to women, women’s rights
Symbols: The open window: The blue sky, fluffy clouds, treetops, people, birds singing and smells a coming rainstorm represent new life (her new life of independence)
A girl with no known background is wed to Armaud a member of one of the best families in the south. After she has her baby it is revealed that the baby was black. She and her baby leave and go back to her mother’s house and it is learned that her husband’s mom was black.
Irony, Race, Identity
To Build a Fire
A naturalist, realist story about a man who goes into the Yukon wilderness with only a dog for company. It is so cold that when he steps in a stream and has to stop, the cold slowly starts killing him. He eventually dies, but the dog survives to return to the lodge. This is an example of naturalism and realism because it shows how man is subject to the laws of nature and nothing man can do can change that.
A Rose for Emily
Emily is the crazy lady in town, who everyone avoids confronting and considers a landmark. She doesn’t pay taxes and leaves her dead boyfriend rotting in her house. She kills her boyfriend with Arsenic. Generally, everyone feels sorry for her. At the end, everyone goes to her funeral just to see her house really.
On the Burning of Our House
Bradstreet is talking about observing her house burning. She relates it to biblical happens (typology) and mentions it as God’s justice doing away with vanity (weaned affections) while segwaying into her love for Christ and what he has done (Covenant theology). Very simple rhyme and meter.
The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls
This poem is a romantic poem describing a beach scene with a traveler coming towards a town as night starts to fall. This poem is talking about how everything changes as time progresses except for nature which is constant: the tide always “rises” and “falls”. This poem constantly refers to nature and the powers of nature which is the reason why this poem is romantic.
The First Snowfall
This poem is about a man watching the snowfall with his daughter, remembering his other child that died. At the end he kisses the daughter, as its a kiss from the dead child to the alive one. This action shows that the pain of death is never gone but can be covered up by great things (such as life and nature).
To a Waterfowl
A romantic poem appreciating a waterfowl. The narrator talks about a bird flying, saying a hunter may try to harm it, wonders what the duck is looking for, and then concludes God is leading it through life – and it must continue despite it being close to night. It will fly north for the summer. The narrator has learned from the bird – God will guide him as it does the bird.
Themes: God and Nature. The romantic notion of instinct leading one through life is related to the religious idea of God leading creatures through life. The bird’s flight is seen as a metaphor for humans going through life. Since the narrator learns something spiritual from Nature, this can be considered a romantic poem.
We only read a piece of this in the textbook. In summary, this romantic poem discusses the voice of nature in relation to healing and especially death.
He explains that nature can help relieve us of pain. If you ever find yourself fearing death, go outside and listen to the “voice of nature,” and you will surely feel better. The voice reminds us that we are humble parts of the earth, to which we return when we die.
The poem also talks about how we will never be alone when we die, as everyone who’s ever lived is now in the ground, and every living person we know will experience the same fate. TL;DR There’s no need to be afraid of death. Nature will help us understand that everyone returns to the earth when they die.
I hear America Singing
This poem shows Whitman’s attitude toward America, and glorifies what the American nation is built on, faith and labor. It expresses Whitman’s love for America, it’s vitality, variety, and achievements. Shows use of catalog by listing off people who have helped shape America.
In a Station of a Metro
This very short poem relates the fleeting apparition of people’s faces to flower petals and a crowd to a wet, black bough. Pound seems to be asserting that individual people are innately beautiful, though the world is a generally cold and unfriendly place.
The Red Wheelbarrow
This is a short poem that describes a moment that is believed to be on a farm after a rainstorm. This poem captures an ordinary moment with ordinary objects, such as the red wheelbarrow. William states that “so much depends upon” the chickens, because they are important for maintaining life on the farm, and the red wheelbarrow in order to complete work on the farm. We talked about how the setting of this poem could be early afternoon because of the way the light hits the wheelbarrow which is “glazed with rain water”.
This is Just to Say
Short poem in which the narrator apologizes for eating the plums in the icebox.
This poem is imagist because it uses simple direct language, doesn’t follow a particular rhythm, and every word contributes to the poem.
Spring and All
The narrator stops on the road near a hospital and
describes the dead landscape after winter, then how spring is on the way and new life is growing underneath the dead.
God in America: A New Adam
A documentary about the history of religion in America and the beliefs that European settlers brought over to The New World. There were issues between the Natives and the Catholic settlers who wanted everyone to convert to Catholicism. There were problems with the Puritans in New England where Puritan leader John Winthrop had to go against people who went against original Puritanical beliefs. There was also a new message of spiritual rebirth from evangelical preachers like George Whitefield that spread throughout America and went against traditional religious beliefs. This sparked a rebellious spirit that went along with the start of the American Revolution.
Dead Poets Society
ROBIN WILLIAMS…About a school of rich kids who have psychopath parents that expect way too much of them. Their teacher (RW) is awesome yet not very conventional. They play soccer and YAWP in the middle of class and rip out pages from their text books. The kids learn to be more independent and think for themselves with him as their teach and one kid Neil wants to be in a play and his father tells him no he does it anyway and his father gets mad and tells him he is being sent away and finally cracks under the pressure his family and society has put on him and kills himself. Adults blame RW and he gets fired and it is really sad but still a fantastic movie.
A River Runs Through It
About two brothers, One is very studious the other is a rebel (extremely hot). Both are connected by the sport of fly fishing. The Movie shows the true greatness of the Montana wild, while showing how nature can pull people together. While also the frontier and wilderness can break people apart.
A work that means more than what is on the surface. Reveals this greater truths about human life through characters and their actions. Ex: Gatsby
Repetition of the same kinds of sounds, or vowels at the beginning of words Ex.- Avoid Alliteration Always; the A is repeated
When the author or poet makes a reference to another piece of work, religion, or topic without actually mentioning or explaining it, most commonly Greek mythology or the Bible. Ex. “Chocolate was her Achilles’ heel.”
One of the devices of repetition, in which the same word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of two or more lines. Ex.- “When I Heard the Learned Astronomer” by Walt Whitman shows repetition of the phrase, “When I”.
A character or group of characters that is the opposition of the protagonist. Presents a challenge the protagonist must try to overcome usually.
A short phrase that expresses a wise truth or idea. A lot of them are witty. Ben Franklin was the king of aphorisms.
i.e. “love thy neighbor, yet don’t pull down thy hedge.”
A literary device in which a character or writer detaches themselves from the events around them and speaks to a nonexistent character, object or abstraction – often begins with “O, something” One example of this is Ode to a Grecian Urn by John Keats.
A pattern that appears in literature across cultures and is repeated through the ages. An archetype can be a character, plot, mage, theme, or setting. ex) heroes, tricksters, scapegoat, death, rebirth, etc.
The repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences.
Example: “Hear the mellow wedding bells”
Usually used in epic literature, a catalog is a list of people, ideas, places, or pretty much anything that can be listed. It is usually arranged systematically with descriptive details.
Words or phrases used in casual language. Not necessarily slang, but it’s similar. Just think of things you wouldn’t use in an essay, like, “what’s up?”
A narrative element that occurs due to the discrepancies between the goals of the characters in the book and actual reality. Conflict is often resolved at the end of a narrative, this is called closure. Common examples are Man v. Man and Man v. Nature.
The repetition of the same or similar final consonant sounds on accented syllables or in important words. The words ticktock and singsong has examples of consonance. The poem “Beginning of the first snowfall” is an example of consonance.
Using the same language, its the way a group of people talk and write. Usually specific to the region, social status, or economic status which the person lives in.
any type of writing that appeals to the senses; the language goes beyond the actual meaning of words to let readers gain new insights.
i.e. “The sun misses the moon in the sky.”
A poem without rhyme or meter.
Very vivid imagery that is meant to make people think of specific images. This is commonly used in realist literature.
ex. “a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water.”
Can be a situation that may end up in a different way that is generally anticipated.
Example: Ending of Desiree’s Baby, Armand (possibly) learns that he is born from slavery/different race right after he shuns his wife for not being white.
The dominant impression or emotional atmosphere evoked by the text.
Similar to symbolism, it is something that represents something else. A figure of speech, not to be taken literally. E.g. “apple of my eye” (obviously, eyes don’t have apples in them).
The rhythm and accents of syllables.
Example: Tide Rises the Tide Falls, The Raven,
A thematic element in a piece of literature that usually has thematic significance in that story.
The use of words to imitate sounds. Ex: buzz, hiss, boom, splash
A short story that is meant to teach a lesson or a moral often times religious. Ex: Rip Van Winkle
A statement that argues against itself, and yet still has some valid truth/argument to it.
When the author or poet assigns human like characteristics to nonhuman things such as a plant, animal, force of nature, or idea in the work. For example: The wind sang through the meadow.
Point of View
The outlook which the narrator gives the events of the story. how the story is told is influenced by the narrator’s opinion (if a character). Can be told in a 1st or 3rd person POV. 1st person is being told by a character in story. 3rd person is commonly no present or told at a different time than the events of the story took place.
the central character or leading figure in poetry, narrative, novel or any other story
When two words have corresponding ending sounds – especially in poetry. Often times poems can have a certain Rhyme Scheme – in which there is a specific pattern in which, such as ABAB. Rhymes can be used for effect or to make a something easier to remember or more pleasing to the ear.
Example: The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe.
Poems that do not have Rhyme or Meter are called Free Verse – such as the poems by Walt Whitman or the Imagists.
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and social issues.
Examples: This quote in Huckleberry Finn: “[b]y and by they fetched the ******s in and had prayers, and then everybody was off to bed” (5) mocks slavery by showing that people (especially Jim’s owner, Miss Watson) tried to be “good people” through religion, yet they still continued to condone slavery.
Also, when Tom creates a gang that would attempt to kill and rob, it shows the influence of social media, because he got the idea from a book.
The historical moment in time and geographic location in which a story takes place, and helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story.
A comparison of two objects using “like” or “as”. “The clock was as slow as a snail”. “My hands burned like fire!”
The voice of the poem. Like the narrator of story, but usually kept vague and ambiguous.
A set of lines in a poem (usually four) separated from other lines by a space and/or indent. A good way to think of a stanza is like a paragraph. Paragraphs convey a specific idea that relates to the work as a whole. Stanzas serve the same function.
Stream of Consciousness
A style of writing that portrays the inner (and often chaotic) working of a character’s mind. the flow of the contents of the character’s mind is called interior monologue.
An example would be the chapters 19 through 22 in the book “Beloved”. The stream of consciousness in these chapters are by Sethe, Beloved, and Denver
The way in which something is said, done, performed or expressed. The style is dependent on the person, group, or era in time.
An object that represents or stands for an idea.
Ex. The red A in The Scarlet Letter which stood for adultery but later able
A repeated idea or common thread incorporated into literary work. The author uses characters, plot, etc to deliver the theme. It’s typically not explicitly stated; often, the readers have to extract or interpret the theme themselves.
Technically, it is how the theme is approached by the author, but it’s pretty much just the attitude the author has in the piece.