pre-reading discussion - MRS. NEWTON`S CLASSES

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Transcript pre-reading discussion - MRS. NEWTON`S CLASSES

Survey of American Literature
Review—From The New Land to
American Moderns
Native American Literature
• The Earliest Americans
– Oral Traditions
Viewed by many as folklore
The Pilgrims and Puritans
• A small group of Europeans who were
religious reformers critical of the Church of
England, sailed from England in 1620
• Preoccupation with sin and salvation
• Their writings were primarily theological
studies, hymns, histories, biographies, and
autobiographies with the purpose of each
writing to provide spiritual insight and
Puritan Literature
• Anne Bradstreet
– Upon the Burning of Our House
– To My Dear and Loving Husband
• William Bradford
– from Of Plymouth Plantation
• Jonathan Edwards
– from Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
• Mary Rowlandson
– Captivity Narrative
The Southern Planters
• The Southern colonies differed from New
England in climate, crops, social
organization, and religion.
• Literature effected by their busy social lives
• Much of the literature of this time period
was not produced in the colonies, rather it
came from England
• By 1750, however, the clear beginnings of a
native literature began to appear; one that
would one day be honored throughout the
English-speaking world.
The Colonial Period—Age of Reason
• During this period, the mind of the nation was
on politics.
• After 1763, ideas focused on relations with
Great Britain and, more broadly, on the nature
of government.
• Most important writing from the Revolutionary
era focused on political writing.
• By the early 1800s, Americans had
generated a small body of work, but no
novels or plays existed, nor had the short
story been invented.
Writers of the Colonial Period
 Benjamin Franklin
 Patrick Henry
◦ Speech in the Virginia Convention
 Thomas Paine
◦ from The Crisis
 Phillis Wheatley
◦ To his Excellency, General Washington
• Edward Taylor
• Phillip Freneau
 Thomas Jefferson
◦ The Declaration of Independence
 Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur
◦ From Letters from an American Farmer
 Sarah Kemble Knight
◦ A Journey from Boston to New York
From Reason to Romance
• The Puritans were religious fundamentalists
who sought salvation.
• The founders of the republic were political
realists who pursued reason.
• But the early 19th century writers were
considered Romantics.
– Humanitarian reform is a mark of
Romanticism—from abolition of slavery to
improvements in education
• The early 19th century writer were
considered Romantics.
• Humanitarian reform is a mark of
Romanticism—from abolition of slavery to
improvements in education
Realists vs. Romantics
• Realists believed that reason is the
dominating characteristic both of nature and
of human nature.
• They believed both nature and human
nature are governed and fixed with
unchanging laws.
History of Romanticism
• A number of changing attitudes related to a
sense of nationalism
• The romantics’ emphasis on the individual
reflects the political ideal set forth in the
Declaration of Independence that “all men
are created equal”
• Leads to an emphasis on the dignity and
worth of the common individual and to
social reforms that were meant to fulfill this
ideal of equality
• Romantic writers favor the imagination over
reason, intuition over facts. Intense interest
in and reverence for nature.
• An accent on mystery—on the strange and
fantastic aspects of human experience
• Often sought inspiration and understanding
through the observation and contemplation
of nature.
Romantic Views
• Valued feeling and intuition over reason
• Placed central importance upon the
emotions and upon the individual
• Reason was thought of as important, but it
was not the surest guide to truth
• Romantic writers emphasized intuition, that
inner perception of truth which is
independent of reason
The Romantic Writers
 William Cullen Bryant
◦ Thanatopsis
 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
◦ The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls
 Oliver Wendel Holmes
◦ The Last Leaf
◦ Contentment
 James Russell Lowell
◦ The First Snow Fall
 John Greenleaf Whittier
◦ Telling the Bees
The Dark Romantics
• Edgar Allan Poe
• Nathaniel Hawthorne
• Herman Melville
The Transcendentalists
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry David Thoreau
Emily Dickinson
Walt Whitman
The Rise of Realism
Principles Of Realism
• The commonplace
• Characters are complex and more important
than plot
• Attack upon romanticism and romantic writers.
• Emphasis on the realization of morals and an
examination of idealism.
• Use of realistic dialogue and dialect
• Social class is important
Famous Realists
Mark Twain
Jack London
Charles Chestnutt
Willa Cather
Hamlin Garland
Americans emerged from
the war as victors, but
something was beginning
to change.
The country seemed to
have lost its innocence.
WWI was a turning point in American lives
Americans were
disillusioned with
traditions that seemed
to have become
spiritually empty
Creators of literature, paintings, music, and the other
arts began to call for bold experimentation.
The First Wave of the Great Migration (1916-1919) - part I
"Around the time of WWI, many African-Americans from the South left home and
traveled to cities in the North in search of a better life." © Jacob Lawrence
Grant Wood, Return
from Bohemia,
1935, crayon,
gouache, pencil on
paper, 23 1/2 x 20
Walt Kuhn, Angna Enters,
1924, oil on canvas, 33 x 22
Stuart Davis
oil on canvas
38 1/16 in. X
30 1/16 in
Yves Tanguy. (American,
born France. 1900-1955).
Extinction of Useless
Lights. 1927. Oil on
canvas, 36 1/4 x 25 3/4"
(92.1 x 65.4 cm).
Marsden Hartley, Adelard the
"Drowned," Master of the
"Phantom," c. 1938-39, oil on board,
28 x 22 inches, Weisman Art
Museum, University of Minnesota,
The modernists began to reject traditional themes and styles.
Idealism was turning to cynicism
Some writers began to question the authority and
tradition that had seemed to be standard in America.
Soldiers who had seen the world wanted a more
modern lifestyle.
For the 1st time, many Americans enrolled in
higher education.
Farm machinery evolved,
yet farmers were still poor.
Prohibition prompted underground “speak-easies.”
American women felt more liberated.
Because of economic conditions, American dollars were
worth more abroad: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway,
Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound became expatriates.
The Great Depression brought suffering to millions of
Americans—those hard working people that had put their faith in
America to provide for them.
Many saw the depression as punishment for their sins of loose
FDR and the New Deal programs tried to renew prosperity, but
not until the industrial build-up of WWII did an economic
resurgence occur.
•Emphasis on bold experimentation in style and form—reflects
the fragmentation of society
•Rejection of traditional themes and subjects.
•Sense of disillusionment and loss of faith in the American
Dream. (Modernists rejected Emerson’s optimism.)
•Rejection of the ideal of a hero as infallible in favor of a hero
who is flawed and disillusioned but shows “grace under
pressure” (Hemingway)
• Interest in the inner workings of the human mind. (Sometimes
expressed through a new narrative technique such as stream of
consciousness—William Faulkner)
Pursuit of
Three Central Ideas:
1) There is admiration for America as a new Eden
A “promised land” of
beauty, bounty, unlimited
resources and promises,
and endless opportunities.
2) Americans have faith in progress, and we can optimistically
expect life to keep getting better and better.
The American birthright is one of ever-expanding opportunity.
•Progress is a good thing.
•A belief that we are moving
toward an era of prosperity,
justice, and joy that always
seems just around the corner.
3) The independent, self-reliant individual will triumph.
Americans have confidence in the ultimate triumph of the
•Everything is possible for the person who places trust in his or
her own powers and potential.
•Remember Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.”
Breakdown of beliefs and traditions
 World War I
 Economic Crash
Both damaged the tenets of the
American Dream.
American modernist writers both echoed and challenged the
American Dream. They took on a broader voice than before
causing a second American Renaissance. Even with these
challenges, they continue to ask the fundamental questions about
life and the purpose of human existence.
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961),
born in Oak Park, Illinois, started
his career as a writer in a
newspaper office in Kansas City at
the age of seventeen. After the
United States entered the First
World War, he joined a volunteer
ambulance unit in the Italian army.
Serving at the front, he was
wounded, was decorated by the
Italian Government, and spent
considerable time in hospitals.
After his return to the United
States, he became a reporter for
Canadian and American
newspapers and was soon sent
back to Europe to cover such
events as the Greek Revolution.
William Faulkner (1897-1962),
who came from an old southern
family, grew up in Oxford,
Mississippi. He joined the
Canadian, and later the British,
Royal Air Force during the First
World War, studied for a while at
the University of Mississippi,
and temporarily worked for a
New York bookstore and a New
Orleans newspaper. Except for
some trips to Europe and Asia,
and a few brief stays in
Hollywood as a scriptwriter, he
worked on his novels and short
stories on a farm in Oxford.
The Roaring Twenties
THE JAZZ AGE— (named by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Jazz
THE JAZZ AGE— (named by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Roaring Twenties
• 1919—the constitution prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol—singled
out as a central social evil.
• Consequently, the amendment caused an age of bootleggers, speakeasies,
cocktails, and short skirted flappers, new rhythms of Jazz, and the new profession
of gangster.
• The Roaring Twenties made an impact on America’s history—the pursuit of
• Some took this pursuit abroad. Many American writers went abroad and became
expatriates—one who withdraws from his own land.
•Living was cheap in Paris, somehow better and more exotic, more grace and
luxury, no need to go into a cellar to get drunk.
•This wave of expatriates was another signal that something had gone wrong in the
Eden of America.
Pre-Reading Questions for
How might people who are born into wealth
compare or contrast to those who are
“nouveau riche” or acquired their wealth
over night?
Would you date or marry someone just for his her
money? What would be the advantages and
disadvantages of doing this?
What defines a
person’s “social
class” today?
Would you date or
marry someone
below your own
social class? What
would be your
parents’ reactions?
How would you or
your parents be
different if the
person was above
your social class?
hopes do
you have
for your
What goals do you have
for your life in the next...
5 years (21) ?
10 years (26) ?
30 years (46) ?
Lifetime (+)?
Can money really buy happiness?
Is the love
of money
really the
root of all
(from The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle
to Timothy. 6:10: “The love of money is
the root of all evil.”)
F. Scott Fitzgerald