English 231/237 American Lit Unit 2 Notes
English 231/237 American Lit Unit 2 Notes English 231 and English 237
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English 237: Unit 2 Notes I. Phyllis Wheatley (1753-1784) A. Bio/Writing Info 1. Very Christian poet 2. Whitefield poem made her famous 3. Indents the first line of each stanza (except for first stanza) 4. First African American poet/ First African American Female Poet 5. Thomas Jefferson is a racist – insults Wheatley as a poet (p.671) – she had to prove that she wrote the poems because she was a black woman (ex. Sam Mather, Chauncey (?), etc.) 6. All poems in 1700’s B. On Being Being Brought from Africa to America 1. AABBCCDD rhyme scheme 2. Views kidnapping as God’s mercy --- almost sounds Puritan, treated relatively well by slave owners, did not agree with slavery though (one of the first abolitionists), devout Christian, why doesn’t she do more for slaver? 3. Black as Cain --- some people think that the mark of Cain is the origin of dark skinned people ---also can connotation the darkness of one’s soul (metaphor for sinfulness) --- no matter what or how bad you are, you can be saved by Christianity C. To the University of Cambridge in New England 1. Look at where I have come from, I am so lucky to be where I am in life ---great education, great lifestyle 2. You still have to worry about sin 3. Resumes position as an instructor-addresses Harvard students at a time where students were there to be ministers and leaders of society D. On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield 1. Visualizes Whitefield as he ascends to heaven—interstellar flight through space to universe 2. “lines in quotes”– Whitefield preaching 3. Claims God re-animates us; modern day, people say that someone is in heaven—we do not describe life post-def. in physical terms 4. Propelled her to fame E. Thoughts on the Works of Providence 1. Mention of Sol (Sun God) and Apollo 2. God is responsible for every aspect of life 3. Sleep –reason is restored to you and refreshes you---God allows us to wake up from dreams 4. Be grateful for what God does---even if you aren’t, you should---God is the only thing that allows you to live as you do F. Washington Poem 1. Commends G. Washington’s achievement---Washington invited her to visit him and considered publishing it---after this, Washington revises views on owning slaves ---written during the war 2. Columbia 3. Gallic powers---French powers---Americans showed France its power, who else wants to be defeated by us? 4. America is supported by God---American pride (God bless the USA)---American exceptionalism, patriotism II. 1820-1865 1. American Renaissance: a flowering of American literature on the world stage 2. Appearance of Representative Men, Scarlet Letter, House of Green Gables, etc. ---imaginative vitality 3. Excludes Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Poe 4. Edinburgh Review: Who reads American books? --- as a response, Americans produce more works 5. Rise in abolitionist works ---measure of success is how well you can do in England? ---still care about England, we stop caring in 20 century---Antislavery works popular in England (like works that hold their former colony to shame---British are still salty we won and prospered) 6. Gender equality becomes more of an explicit concern (i.e. Margaret Fuller) 7. Emerson- Center of American literature---large influence, influenced many after him (Poe wasn’t that influenced by him though) 8. Antebellum reform movements; Seneca Falls Convention (Women’s rights conference---Women’s rights becomes more important) 9. Trail of Tears----War on Mexico (Manifest Destiny---expand across the continent) 10. Indian Removal Act of 1830---Native Americans critical with whites’ constant interventions in Native American Affairs 11. Fugitive Slave Law---starts the rise of tensions between North and South---Thorough (if there is a hell, MA is it because of this) 12. America is an exceptional nation 13. Civil war was a bloody war---Chamberlin officially accepted the Southern surrender 14. Divinity of the Self ---Douglas ---we are all “little America’s” III. Washington Irving 1783-1859 A. Biographical 1. First American writer in 19 Century to Achieve a Literary Reputation Internationally 2. Sense of Freedom 3. Stories important because they are successful in England B. Rip Van Winkle: 1819 1. Bachelorhood due to grief of Matilda----seen in Rip Van Winkle (escapes wife) C. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: 1820 1. British like this because Crane is a fool and sells out American traditions---we get rid of people who go against out current beliefs 2. Ichabod Crane like Katrina Van Tassel because of her food and wealth---likes the idea of turning land into money 3. Cotton Mather is Crane’s favorite author 4. Punishes (hits) the stronger kids harder and spares the weaker kids from harsher punishment (personal interest) ---Crane is a school teacher---he does not enjoy this though---doing duty for their parents---clearly sarcasm is used 5. Brom Bones --- hardy mischief maker, big guy who likes to fight and has relation to the land, Crane is weak, unfair, and has no relation to the land, sickly scholar of American lure (Edwards looked like this---Crane is kinda like Edwards) ---this may explain why he spares the weaker children---Who is a Yankee? ---competes with Brom Bones for Katrina von Tassel 6. We do not hold up Crane as an ideal American---reads Cotton Mather and believes in it (this is a joke for Irving) --- he is painted as a fool who is greedy---points out way to hypocrisy 7. Katrina Van Tassel --- daughter of a wealthy Dutch farmer--- beautiful, sexy, wealthy---opposite of Crane, but he covets her and her lifestyle---wants to marry her, take her stuff, and move along 8. Describes her food---yearns for it 9. British Gothic ---an explanation for the supernatural with the headless horseman (the horseman is Brom Bones) 10. Crane goes to a neighboring county and becomes a judge after incident with the headless horseman---Ichabod Crane, politician, is corrupt, so ends up in politics (politics, American history that brits like, and a great story all in one) IV. Native Americans: Removal and Resistance 1. Trail of Tears (mid1820’s-1830’s) --- Indian peoples forced to move West---Andrew Jackson --- Indian Removal Act (1830) 2. 1/3 of people died --- death march 3. Lost traces of culture after this A. From the Life of Black Hawk (1767-1838) (Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak) 1. Indians made a treaty, but they did not know what they were committing themselves with---Americans great at trickery 2. White people are great con men 3. Indians believe that land cannot be sold 4. White people are violent and hypocrites---also brought whiskey to get Indians drunk and took advantage of their disadvantage of being drunk 5. Letting people buy things that are bad for them---capitalism, if they’ll buy it, sell it---something we accept as part of our life 6. How does this make Americans look like to others? Would we have the unhealthy things we have if we didn’t have the mindset of #5? Is this just how our society is? 7. Cutting language---make right look wrong and wrong look right--- very accusatory B. Petalesharo (1797-1874) i. Speech of the Pawnee Chief 1. Rewards/punishments 2. Different people have different systems and beliefs 3. White people violate Indian customs (walk into town without accompaniment) ii. Speech of the Pawnee Loup Chief 1. Proud of accomplishments in war 2. Sort of nationalistic pride C. Elias Boudinot (1804-1839) i. Cherokee Phoenix 1. Signed treaty agreeing to trail of tears ---is murdered because of it 2. Interested in money and negotiations with whites D. The Cherokee Memorials i. Memorial of the Cherokee Council 1829 1. Cherokee is a sovereign nation 2. Rejects trail of tears E. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) i. Letter to Martin Van Buren (1838) 1. Asks Buren about the morality of Indian Removal Act and injustice towards the Indians 2. Are Americans savage from their want of capitalism? 3. Job of Van Buren to put a stop to this or else we will crumble 4. Reminiscent of John Winthrop---everyone is watching what we will do, God will punish us for this---our actions will come back to haunt us as a nation---language of the Puritans V. William Apess (1798-1839) A. Biographical 1. Half Indian/Half White/Some black heritage 2. Against white people B. An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man (1833) 1. Skin color is inconsequential 2. Racism is not compatible with Christianity ---asks for principles for all people 3. Asks many rhetorical questions 4. Asks whether white people would persecuted for the color of their skin and how they would react to this? 5. Scathing attacks ---white people have the most crime 6. Whites are a minority still (in a world-wide way) 7. Hypocrisy ---don’t act as if they believe in Christian values 8. Tells Christians that with their behavior, they are rejecting Christ---Biblical people were colored and Jewish VI. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) A. Biographical 1. Influential 19 century---maybe the most important of the time 2. Influenced many, such as Whitman, Dickinson, … 3. Complex ideas in essays 4. Comes out of Unitarianism---human beings are no longer being depraved---Jesus is not a God, but he is the highest example of a human---no more literalism in the Bible, instead it is an inspired text---eventually became disillusioned with the Unitarian church and quit 5. Very radical and rebellious in ideas and thoughts expressed in essays 6. Geographical changes; people have different perceptions of Emerson/Thorough 7. Criticized for the lack of darkness---but he had many sadness, wife died, son dies etc. 8. Becomes more into nature; values self-culture 9. Eventually opposes slavery---one of the first to do so 10. Writing style criticized for being abstract and confusing and contradictory B. Self-Reliance (1841) 1. Begins with a poem 2. Admonition- a warning --- the poem gave him a sense of advice or a warning when he read it, or at least a greater appreciation or awareness 3. To be great, men should not cast away their thoughts and beliefs, even if they are not mainstream---when you hear or see something that moves you or touches you, there is something in your mind that recognizes this as a potential form in the mind 4. Accept who you are, but work to make yourself great--- reminiscent of Franklin 5. If you do your best, then you will be satisfied, but if you do not do your best, you will not be satisfied 6. Trust yourself entirely, but also trust that fate has put you in a situation in which you will be prosper 7. Society takes away individualism---in society’s view, in trying to achieve goals, people lose their own individualism and creativity --- its like a sellout, when you do this, you are accepting mediocrity 8. Find out things for yourself---do not take people’s words for things---go against tradition and ideas to achieve things 9. Be true to yourself and act accordingly as yourself would 10. Is the poor our problem? Are we responsible for helping the poor? 11. “Alms to sots” --- describes giving donations to drunks 12. Hardest way to live is to live in the world and do your own thing---and not conform with society –this is how the greatest live 13. If I know your sect, I know your argument---if you conform, you settle for mediocrity 14. The world looks down on those who do not conform to society 15. Haters will hate mentality 16. Foolish consistency----Live in the now and do what you believe in now---move on and don’t limit yourself to past beliefs 17. Conformity is bad and does not single you out for greatness in society 18. Is Emerson impractical? Does his advice only pertain to the great? Does everyone have the potential to become great? 19. If we all become great, what is great? 20. Develops notion that there is an over soul---divine self that a person can access within the self---this inspired Nischze 21. Divine? Who is divine? 22. Inspired by Anne Hutchinson in a way---antinomianism---if we have salvation by faith alone, and have a private revelation, don’t need to worry about others 23. Two ways to know duty: think about all relations and to absolve to be yourself---this is hard though 24. Self-reliance will cause a revolution in all the aspects of life 25. Regrets are false prayers, traveling is a fools paradise 26. Insist on yourself, never imitate 27. Every person has something they can do ---every man is unique and a genius in his own way 28. What we gain in technology, we lose ability 29. You can only make it on your own----will become weaker with the more people on the side 30. Suggests that we should ignore luck/fortune and only exist on our own merit---will not lose if you work hard ---ignore all external stuff and work on the internal C. Experience (1844) 1. Crises of faith ---written after the death of his young son Waldo 2. Experience: uncertainty about life 3. Struggling---struggle makes progress 4. We cannot know everything because we are imperfect 5. Humans have few original ideas and then everything else is all the same and variations on the other 6. Even death teaches that what is eternal is fleeting---grieving does not enrich the person in any way---grief does not wreck a person and people move on after grief 7. We only see what the lenses of the mind allow us to 8. Rhetorical questions---Humans are at the mercy of biology---we are dependent on what we have (contradictory at times) 9. Idea that a creative power is somewhere, in which we can escape from the nightmare of self reliance 10. If we get caught up in nature itself, we can become caught up in depression---we feel as if we are just made to do what we do and then there is no point to existence---cause of necessity, no free will 11. Emerson believes in the supernatural and divines---allows him to accept free will 12. Emerson is unhappy when he cannot figure out the facts of life---he becomes depressed---Emerson thinks maybe that our sole purpose is to live happily (doesn’t like this, but thinks about it) 13. Wants to establish a balance between censual things and intellectual things---keeping this balance is near impossible 14. Life is lived as it is---many things are predetermined, free will is here but fleeting---there will always be something that surprises you, changes your perception 15. Ultimately, some people are lucky and some are not--- why? It’s a mystery. (Why did my son die?) 16. Hypocrisy and distances that persist between us---we are all circles that touch at one point---everything in life is temporal and fleeting---there is not complete fusion between relationships 17. Lists all the things that make life difficult: illusion, temperament, succession, surface, surprise, reality, subjectiveness 18. We have to believe that what we have is all and we have to come to terms with it VII. Nathaniel Hawthorn (1804-1864) A. Biographical Information 1. Scarlet letter---later text from this one 2. One of the most major fictional writers of the time 3. More complicated and ambiguous---poses questions for which there are th answers 4. Born on 4 of July---descended from harsh Puritan judges---puts in the “w” in his name because of his shame of his ancestors 5. Writes many short stories and doesn’t get accolades that he should get 6. Mysterious and aloof, but had a happy marriage 7. Like thorough, and said he was ugly like nature---hated Emerson 8. First literary historian of America’s Puritan history 9. Gaines more recognition as he moves on B. My kinsman, Major Molineux (1832) 1. Almost like Cotton Mather, but Mather actually thinks he is writing about real things---Hawthorne does this in a literary sense and fictionalize it so we see the darkness of it 2. Dark comic about Revolution---paints us as aggressive, etc. --- colonist’s negotiations to keep charters, do not want governors and whoever to come in to rule them and we don’t want British rule (what Franklin talks about in autobiography pt. 3) 3. Hawthorne is very symbolic---does not use details without reason 4. Describes an old man who is rude and threatens Robin with physical punishment when he greets him---(sepulchral---of the tomb) ---“cold grave and wrathful passions”, red and black, war (passion) and death, death and sex 5. Describes the streets and tar to foresee the future of the major, unbeknownst to Robin 6. Man with grotesque features (uses many symbols) ---two prominences on the top of the head (maybe like horns), face painted red on one side and black on the other 7. Robin is very naïve 8. The innkeeper---Robin learns that no one will help him--- hereditary things won’t help people, values are instilled within the self and people must make their own way in the world--- Robin becomes frustrated and nearly seduced to violence and temptation---innkeeper tries to seduce him into her hotel 9. Again: sex and violence (if he tries to seduce again, he will be sent to the stocks) 10. Robin is told to wait and the Major will pass by---Robin is told things that he will not understand (doesn’t know he will be tarred and feathered) 11. In church, Robin sees a Gothic window and in an empty church at night, he thinks maybe M. Molineux is dead----does nature come into a church and make it look grand because it is a holy place or is it grand because it is empty with no souls to give impurity it 12. Robin has a vision that he is excluded from his home--- everyone goes in but he is left behind---what does it mean to make it on your own? Independence on both the national and the personal levels --- renouncing family, dealing with death, temptation, sex, violence…about the doublings and the dark underside to everything (we have two sides---early thoughts about consciousness) ---why are we tempted to do bad things? Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville are known as “dark” romantics for this reason 13. The man with the red/black face leads the procession, with tarred and feathered M. Molineux is leading in the front 14. Everyone laughs at Molineux in front of the Gothic window---everyone is happy because they are tarring and feathering Molineux, even Robin (who may have laughed the most) 15. Robin can either leave on the ferry, or stay here and rise up on his own in the dark world (almost Franklin like) ----what does his laugh mean? 16. Questions American independence through fiction VIII. American Romanticism A. Romanticism 1. Comes from England 2. Response to Enlightment rationales 3. Into who a human is B. Romantic Writers a. Poe (D) b. Emerson (T) c. Hawthorne (D) d. Melville (D) e. Thoreau (T) * (D) = dark romantic * (T) = transcendentalist f. Whitman --- like Emerson g. Dickinson---like Poe h. Fuller IX. Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) A. Biographical a. Strange, dark tones in writing b. Married his 13 y old cousin c. Raging alcoholic d. Father left his family and his mother died---was adopted by a rich family in VA and has a complicated relationship with his adopted father, John Allan e. Obsessed with women dying---adoptive mother died and a friend’s mother died, then his wife dies f. Said that most of his tales were intended for half banter, half satire---serio tragic comic g. Loves to make fun of people B. Ligeia (1838) 1. Epigraph: fabricated by Poe; God infuses the entire world (Pantheism) and man does not die except for the weakness of his will (if you had a strong enough will or have access to God’s will, you can become immortal---many Christians believe this) --- human desire to bring people back into our lives who mean a lot to us---is Poe proposing this, is he mocking us for it? 2. Unreliable narrator in this story---Gothic romanticisms and orientalism (mystery of Far East and Asia) ---opium addicted narrator---allows for multiple translations 3. Richness in Poe---describes eyes very romantically and very devoted to the female form---object of both natural and supernatural mystery---totally worships the female as divine, more so than Edwards 4. Poetic repetition: “those large, those shining, those divine” 5. References transcendentalism ---does he make fun of them? Almost an explicit foreshadowing---it is ridiculous, we cannot become better with nature---many repetitions of quotes for emphasis 6. Descriptions of buildings highlight Gothic romanticism and orientalism 7. Rowena has fallen very ill---did she drink the spirit of Ligeia into her body? Draws upon the Communion ritual, Poe makes it dark and Pagan --- or nothing happened because the narrator took drugs (opium)---qualifies everything C. Mask of the Red Death (1842) 1. Prince Prospero (Poe is sometimes cheesy with names)--- locks himself away to avoid the plague---has a masquerade in which a red plague victim comes in and he chases red death from east to west, but ultimately dies 2. His dominions are expansive, but they are finite 3. Hides out in a religious building, an abbey 4. Black clock—human mortality; when the clock chimes, everyone stops for a moment but they are nervous about the red death 5. Mask --- double meaning; all people are pretending that death is not coming (as every second passes, we become closer to death) ---you can never get away from death no matter what you do --- something like Thomas Granger (who had sex with animals) X. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) A. Biographical Information 1. Not very difficult to read 2. Poet 3. Fire-side poet 4. Did not break established forms---not as difficult and complex as others 5. Popular on purpose---made for the people 6. The most popular American poet of the 19 century --- more popular than Dickinson or Whitman---almost like a popular artist today st 7. 1 American poet in Westminster Abbey’s Famed Poets Corner 8. Strangely overlooked in modern times 9. Taught at Harvard 10. Born in Portland, Maine B. A Psalm of Life (1838, 1839) 1. ABAB rhyme scheme 2. Live life to the fullest 3. Our souls on earth have more of a purpose than just existing --- believes souls are immortal 4. Contains traces of Emerson and Franklin 5. Puritan---we should not live for enjoyment---instead we should make real progress and should work towards getting closer to a certain goal 6. Melancholy but enjoyable C. The Slave Singing at Midnight (1842) 1. Longfellow is a Yankee and against the Fugitive Slave Law 2. AABB rhyme scheme 3. Where is God when the slaves cry for him and praise him just as Paul and Silas did in prison (whom were saved by God) --- critical of God in a way and his workings OR 4. Salvation will come for the slaves---what is coming? 5. Puritanesque--- lining modern things with Biblical allusions that do not match yet 6. Progressive poem for its time 7. Did he feel that he, himself, was enslaved within himself? Is his life comparable enough for him to really know? Or was he just moved for a few moments? D. The Day is Done (1846) 1. ABCB rhyme scheme 2. Comfort Poem 3. What is he sad about? We do like sad things---like sad movies and heartbreak. Almost Hallmark-card like. 4. Characterizes people more than people did back then---accepts him as a product of his time E. The Jewish Cemetery at Newport (1854) 1. Identifies with different people’s experiences and different cultures---more open to diversity and learning more about these people---beginnings of progressive empathy 2. ABAB rhyme scheme 3. What horrible things have Christians done to the Jews to make them move here? 4. Exposes cruel things by Christians towards others --- Christian peoples are not behaving like Christians should F. My Lost Youth (1855) 1. Comforting Poem 2. ABAAB rhyme scheme * last lines CDDE and mostly repetition form a song 3. Haunted by his youth --- use of the world haunting for a mellow or soft Gothic tone 4. As a child sees ships fighting and then the bodies of the captains being buried 5. Enjoys the nature in his town 6. The joy of his childhood is almost painful---about the longing for his youth and what he could have done but time passed on, but also joyful that he is an adult---part of like remembering dreams that cannot occur anymore G. The Cross of Snow (1879,1887) 1. Written 18 Anniversary of wife Fanny’s death--- she is the face on the mountain 2. Writes about his grief and sorrow about her death 3. Italian Sonnet --- ABBA rhyme scheme for first two stanzas and then CDE rhyme schemes 4. Wife caught her gown on fire and died from the burns---he was also burned trying to help her---he keeps his beard after her death 5. No amount of sun or life will get rid of her memory and his internal grief XI. Margaret Fuller (1810-1840) A. Biographical Information 1. On par with the most educated men----achievements is on par 2. Is she just one of the guys because she’s the only woman in the transcendentalists? 3. Most female writers at the time are writing popular sensational things 4. Very educated by her father (or at least supervised by her father) ---gives her freedom to develop mind and intellect 5. Leading feminists believe she is the origin of modern feminists--- women should have all the rights that men have and should be able to do all the things that men do 6. What is real feminism? 7. Incredibly influential in her persona and how she lives her life for other authors at the time---Hawthorne very interested in her thoughts and how to deal with a figure like her 8. Died at 40 in a shipwreck---major event for the transcendentalists----Through tries to find her body 9. Protestant who married a Catholic and had a child ---lived in Europe for a time B. The Great Lawsuit (1848) 1. Idea of a mutualism between men and women---poem about Orpheus---says that we need to develop the idea of woman because it will make men better and to make humans better---we have done a lot to improve how men live and what rights they have but not a lot to improve how women live and what rights they need---shifting the emphasis on men to both men and women 2. The momentum built by the Declaration of Independence is irreversible and that all members of the nation should be able to achieve the rights of men 3. Questions the belief that man is head of the wife and wife is head of the heart---not surprised that Anti-Slavery party also pleads for women because it is not fair or equal---not fair of father dies that the eldest son would run the property 4. Unseen structure of our thought---some people have a chance to view women in a noble way, some for women’s expediency--- questions view that woman was made for man (think that because of religious reasons----God made Eve for Adam) ---is Fuller against the Bible (not if you do not read the Bible literally---many ways to interpret the Bible) 5. Does not like equating women with children---makes women seem unable to care for themselves by themselves and not as powerful simply due to gender 6. If women and men, of all races and cultures, are treated as equals, the divine would come down from the heavens and humans would become closer to God---all souls have the same relationship with God---is this Christian? 7. She attributes her achievements to receiving a man’s education--- talks of her childhood---her father forbade her from not making good use of her privilege---was she treated like a boy since he gave her an education? No, he treated her like a person, but at the time, only men were treated that way---she is like this because her father treated her like a person and that he gave her the best education possible---is she this way because she was exposed to “masculine” things…should we treat boys and girls the same when they are younger? 8. Is she against girly-girls? Are women free to be as feminine as she wants them to be in Fuller’s universe to be a feminist? 9. What would women behave like if they are brought up doing “manly” things? Should we stop treating girls differently and treating them as girls? Believes that if women were free, they would never wish to be man-like and that if gender barriers were removed, people would come to these sorts of conclusions on their own. 10. Mary Wolstonecraft: suggests that Wolstonecraft did not have the cleanest record, but what is wrong with being a victim of circumstance? 11. Percy Shelley: a dirtbag (womanizer, neglected his children…) ---why does he get to be a dirtbag without people’s judgment and Mary cannot because she is a woman? 12. Women are less creative XII. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) A. Biographical Information 1. Likes to question supposed advancements----is technology necessary? 2. Self critical of how we live our lives 3. Emerson’s #1 disciple --- huge influence in Thoreau’s life 4. Very into nature and writing 5. Went to Harvard 6. Dies of tuberculosis 7. Abolitionist---lived in MA 8. Got along well Hawthorne (Hawthorne hated Emerson) 9. Almost a “poor little rich kid” quality---some question the authenticity of his experience at Walden---many contradictions 10. Accidently burned down 300 acres near Walden while camping one time 11. Draws on Eastern philosophy --- Hindu philosophy 12. Walden is the most comprehensive book he wrote that shows his character and style of writing --- wrote about different things 13. Writes of everything that happens to him when out on Walden Pond 14. Influence of Thoreau on modern society: influenced Gandhi, MLK jr. --- practical influence on nonviolent resistance (thrown in jail for not paying his taxes and resists nonviolently) 15. Digresses from the topic often in his writing B. Economy from Walden (1854) (Ch 1) 1. References a poem called Ode of Rejection --- Thoreau says he will have a good time and not be a “gloomy Gus” ---- begins this way to guard against certain criticisms 2. American Frontier Experience--- do we need to go back to these times? 3. Men lead lives of “quiet desperation” --- because all we do is work and use our knowledge, but we do not take time to think about our ignorance and find ourselves --- (almost degrades Franklin, who said we need to set a good schedule) ---we never find the time to think we are desperate 4. People need to find things out for themselves---we must not trust what we cannot prove, even if it is the opinion of the masses--- comes from Emerson’s influence and Puritan “do it yourself” mindset 5. Luxuries: Luxuries are hindrances to the elevation of mankind; are we sure that luxuries are not destroying us and our nations--- would we be more independent without them? Program of voluntary poverty helps to avoid degeneration---if we are not close enough to truth, we will degenerate 6. Believes that his existence does not really matter --- not one of society’s men 7. Purpose: to transact some private business with himself without the hindrances of modern society --- thinks about if he will do well without luxuries --- influenced by Franklin by saying that if you come to a conclusion about how to improve your life, you need to pursue it --- its foolish if you let societal needs influence your decision not to do this 8. Clothing --- talks of foolishness of putting worth and wealth into clothes --- little substance in wanting the nicest clothes in exchange for not much 9. Incorporations need to be enriched ---- clothes are not made for us to wear, they are made for people to get rich --- we do not need “popular” clothes 10. Economy: Cost of the thing is what you will exchange of your life for it --- are we alienated due to economy 11. Spring of springs and the snake and the axe: natural typology—wants to spend his life living in a way that he experiences things though divine light 12. Builds things (i.e. houses) cheaply with his own efforts 13. We have nothing important to communicate with the telegraph---technology takes us away from purities of life 14. Believes you can work six weeks in a year to survive and use the rest of the time to do what you want (meditate on life and find yourself) ---you don’t need much to live on 15. People need to be good and be good people, but keep it in the sphere of their own life---we do not need to give to charity bc it goes off of “our track”---story of how sun gods son veered off his path and burned everything---nicer about it than Emerson (are they my poor?) 16. People who are very rich almost have to give to charity otherwise people will attack them----people give in order to not feel bad about themselves 17. To make the world a better place, work on yourself 18. Reminiscent of Edwards ---- believes there is no man worse than himself (after talking about philanthropy)---take care of yourself bc you wont know a greater sinner than yourself 19. Makes us think of things we know we need to improve on but ignore C. Where I Lived and Where I Come From from Walden (1854) (Ch 2) 1. The news is not that important to ones life and it only distracts from true purpose 2. Why do we care about reading the same news story over and over, and what news do we really need to know? 3. Came to Walden to learn how to live life and know what it is about --- good way to summarize Thoreau---seeks awakening 4. Likes to rise early---reminiscent of Franklin----to live, you need to get out there and be excited about life 5. Purpose of his trip was to live deliberately D. Reading from Walden (1854) (Ch. 3) 1. Everyone is an idiot---most people do not read like Thoreau so they do not gain the same things from reading 2. No one reads anything with substance---people tend to take the path of average substance that is easy to understand 3. Can come off as elitist or arrogant --- can have opposite effect than intended 4. People need to read the classics E. Sounds from Walden (1854) (Ch 4) 1. Rejection of conformity---reminiscent of Emerson ---- look and figure things out for yourselves instead of focusing on reading and philosophy---rejects guides to life---nothing will be as good as living in the present---are you always going to take things second hand? 2. Talks about trains---believes that the sound of the train does not correspond with actuality ---- train sounds loud and heroic but it isn’t 3. Owls--- enjoys the darkness and melancholy experience of owls --- loves the gouls and spirits and scary things--- more like Poe or Irving 4. Rooster- early to rise F. Solitude from Walden (1854) (Ch 4) 1. What do we really get from society? 2. He wants purification and salvation from being in the woods G. Visitors from Walden (1854) ( Ch 4) 1. French woodchopper: has a real look on life and lives in the moment, but Thoreau marvels about how he doesn’t think about philosophy or why he lives like Thoreau seeks to H. The Bean-Field from Walden ( 1854) (Ch 7) 1. Military: conscious of how hearing the military makes a man want to fight, even though he doesn’t support the war ( Mexican American) I. The Village from Walden ( 1854) (Ch 8) 1. The news: enjoys hearing the news even though he criticizes it later J. The Ponds from Walden ( 1854) (Ch. 9 ) 1. Arrested bc he did not pay a certain tax --- peaceful protests 2. Describes Ponds elegantly 3. Notices that the trees are being cut down in Walden--- one of the first environmentalists---doesn’t like trains bc they carry lumbar --- a marvelous thing that we will never get back if our tree chopping gets out of hand---someone needs to stop this destruction of the woods --- most people accept his environmental consciousness K. Baker Farm (1854) (Ch. 10) 1. looked down upon the Irish (and Catholics) --- notion that Irishman he knows just cannot live simply---Irish too stupid to realize that they need to live simpler lives L. Higher Laws (1854) (Ch.11) 1. Savage---thought about killing and eating a woodchuck raw (doesn’t like woodchucks) 2. People have a savage nature and a higher, more spiritual nature 3. Do we really need to eat meet? Originator of vegetarianism ---- it is far more work to kill, skin, and cook and animal when you can just plant things and eat them 4. Hunting is a phase in history, and vegetarianism is cleaner and the future 5. Animal food is unclean and not satisfying enough 6. Reminiscent of Edwards: avoid Glutony (meat is a food we don’t really need) 7. Eating animals is a remnant of when we practiced cannibalism 8. We can never shake our animal nature --- we become purer once our animalistic nature decreases and our pure nature increases 9. Man will never know if he is chaste --- we only can guess form rumor M. Brute Neighbors (1854) (Ch. 12) 1. Sees human nature while watching an ant war 2. Ant wars are as important as human wars in the grand scheme of war--- humans will fight for anything, while ants probably fight for survival 3. Watches a loon die and describes his laugh and dying sounds--- thinks the loon is silly for his laughter while ducks attack him --- Thoreau presents them as creatures who appreciate nature and beauty, he sees a community among animals that others do not N. Former Inhabitants (1854) (Ch 14) 1. Man uses more heath and craves more warmth than he needs 2. Presents things as “technically advanced” when we believe it is just a regularity O. Winter Animals (1854) (Ch 15) 1. Bronson Adcock: unpredictable and likes Thoreau 2. Talks about how long it takes ice to melt P. Spring (1854) (Ch. 17) 1. Spring: time when all men are forgiven 2. Sees Salvation in Spring weather and believes that Preachers should allow people to enjoy nature in Spring 3. Also faces evil in nature --- even though there are dead things and foul things in nature, it always recovers its beauty and life 4. Notes that the second year of living this way is just like the first Q. Conclusion (1854) (Ch 18) 1. In military and cowardice: don’t explore the world, explore your inner self --- you do not have to go places to discover higher laws 2. Bug in the table anecdote: Resurrection --- bug comes back to life, it is never to late to come back to life XIII. Frederick Douglas (1818-1895) A. Bio 1. Advocated rights for African Americans and women 2. Self made, self determined guy --- he takes what’s his 3. Does what he believes is right in the face of opposition 4. More aggressive in his tactics 5. Looks at a notion of a multiracial US in the future 6. Born to a slave owner (white) and a slave 7. Married a white woman, this cause controversy on both sides --- criticized because he didn’t marry a black person, so it looks like he isn’t taking their side---questions loyalty to race, religion, creed, etc. 8. His history is more apparent to people in the South 9. Criticized because his escape is easier than it would be if he was from a state in the deep South rather than Maryland B. Narrative of the Life - Preface by William Lloyd Garrison (1845) 1. Garrison writes the first preface; slavery is an evilness that will destroy anyone; if this happened to white people, other whites would be furious 2. Writes preface to serve as proof that Douglas wrote his own autobiography 3. Sees slaveholders as going against God 4. Criticizes lack of legal protection for slaves and free black people when going up against others in court 5. Connotes that God is against slavery 6. Douglas was willing to negotiate but Garrison was not 7. Garrison believed that the Constitution was pro slavery while Douglas did not C. Letter from Wendell Phillips by Phillips from Narrative of Life (1845) 1. Lines Douglas with the Founding Fathers --- a very radical thing to say, especially for the time D. Narrative of Life (1845) 1. Knows who his mother is but not really; father was a white man (quite possibly his master was his father), a white father of a slave often sells the child to appease the white wife and also so does not have to whip his children himself or see his other children beat the enslaved children…questions the humanity of this--- mothers are usually taken away from newborn children as soon as they are born to destroy any sorts of natural connections between mother and child --- slavery destroys all sorts of families 2. Does not know age 3. Born in Maryland 4. Describes the violence on the plantation; sees his aunt stripped naked and whipped as a child, describes blood on the floor--- locked himself away and was scared this would happen to him 5. Believes that the death of Mr. Severe was a mercy to the slaves 6. Talks of slave songs---songs of the slave represent the sorrows of the heart and do not show happiness --- can be compared to Longfellow 7. Being sold to a Georgia trader is the worst punishment --- wants to go to Baltimore so he is closer to getting out of Maryland --- a man who was walking freely an told Douglas’s master how he was treated was sold to a Georgia slave trader---this hangs as a threat to slaves 8. Demby the slave flees into the water after being whipped, refuses to leave water, and then is shot by Mr. Gore --- nothing can be done about this murder because it was a slave he murdered and the system does not recognize slaves as those who can give testimonies 9. Idiology : even young white boys causally talk about violence and murder of slaves without thinking about its impact or consequences 10. Believes that he is too lucky and that providence is looking out for him --- God was giving encouragement to go forward 11. Was fed mush and called like pigs 12. Sent to a new mistress who teaches Douglas how to read, until Mr. Auld tells her how to properly treat slaves---Douglas learns to read by asking street kids and hanging around the sailing decks---believed that the pathway to freedom was by learning to read and write----slaves are held captive because of ignorance (and alcohol) 13. Feels burdened by knowledge as well because he now knows of the injustices of the white man against the slaves--- knowing things has turned into agony for him and he feels hopeful---“awakens” and becomes discontent with life and how he has been treated 14. Very cautious---white men tell him how to run away, but he doesn’t want them to think he will for fear it is a trap 15. Very determined---stops at nothing 16. Christian hypocrisy: if you are really a Christian and preach, you need to help others with what you have 17. Mr. Covey: slave breaker, Douglas accidently breaks a cart and Covey whips him for weeks, tries to catch slaves doing “bad” things, these punishments wear Douglas down and “break” him in body, soul, and spirit 18. Gains strength from a “magic root” to fight Mr. Covey--- from this, he becomes a self determined guy who fights back--- this fight rekindles feelings of the need to fight for freedom 19. Slave masters try to get their slaves drunk during holiday so the slaves look forward to the end of holiday as to end the agony of the after effects of drinking---owners do this to make them not want freedom because it is full of drunkenness 20. Denounces the religion of the South- calls it a covering for the most horrible of crimes---believes that religious slaveholders pervert religion 21. Compares himself to Founding Fathers and Patrick Henry’s quote (“Live me liberty or give me death) ---slaves wanting freedom are doing more for liberty than the founding fathers 22. Does not reveal how he escaped in the first addition 23. After he escapes, he witnesses a free black man threaten to send a fugitive slave back and other African Americans threaten to kill him (the free black man) ---Douglas (and his friends) are prepared to kill anyone who tries to send him back into slavery---a living threat 24. Appendix: indication of God’s Wrath --- issuance of a warning that we have fallen into a horrible state and God is coming to set us straight--- from Jeremiah---this is also seen in other Puritans (God’s wrath is coming) IX. Walt Whitman (1819-1892) A. Biographical Information 1. Romanticists: a. Transcendentalists: Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Whitman b. Dark Romantics: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Dickinson 2. Writes in free verse --- no rhyme, no meter; responsible for all bad poetry because he introduces idea of free verse 3. Influenced by Opera 4. Very New York 5. Was an editor for a long time for newspapers 6. Rejected the conventional suit jacket and wore a regular working man outfit for his Leaves of Grass cover 7. Emerson liked Leaves of Grass enough and then Whitman publishes the letter 8. A national poet- celebrated democracy and union 9. Was a Civil War nurse 10. Faced opposition, but it decreased through the years B. Song of Myself (1855,1881) 1. Represents himself as a universal self ---- everyone is equal and together---celebrate who you are 2. No Puritan mentality---enjoy who you are 3. There is never a better time to do something than now…don’t hesitate just do it 4. Grass: grass is universal --- anyone can find grass anywhere --- it is democratic 5. Wants to take the dark parts of life and say its still part of the same great universe of life --- believes that dark things are still great --- “it is lucky to die” 6. Leans toward abolitionist side --- describes sheltering a runaway slave---welcomes all people 7. Explicit descriptions of the human body and sexuality 8. Grass is commonest, cheapest, and easiest 9. Lists things off in Section 15 --- a lot of descriptions have no other meaning behind the literal 10. Maintains huge ability to emphasize with everyone --- Whitman becomes everything and everything becomes him 11. Wants his words to be natural 12. Does this poem astonish you? Does nature astonish you? Obscenity does not exist; it is the nature of the world --- original Hippie 13. Everything is holy to Whitman --- everything natural is holy 14. Everything in the universe is there for a reason 15. Romanticism --- talks of living with animals, likes animals because they accept the world for what it is 16. Knifing Someone 17. War---the Sea Fight 18. Has no chair, no church, no philosophy 19. Does not want followers, wants others to do their own thing 20. Contradicts himself --- contains multitudes 21. Means well towards everyone --- universal spirit of positivity X. Herman Melville (1819-1891) A. Biographical Information 1. Known for Sea Adventure Tales and Travel Narratives --- spiritual and philosophical allegories 2. At time, know as the author of “Typee” and “Omoo” --- published in the Piazza Tales 3. Influenced by Shakespeare 4. Loves Hawthorne---but Hawthorne thought Melville was seeking things that cannot be known 5. People didn’t like Moby Dick at the time because they thought it was too philosophical and too dense ---- generally received bad reviews 6. Became depressed when he had a job that he hated and wrote an extremely long poem called “ Clarel” 7. Died without much B. Bartleby the Scrivener (1853) 1. Published anonymously in two parts 2. Is it a comedy or a tragedy? 3. Narrator describes himself as an imminently safe man --- is most like Franklin (works hard and is prudent) 4. Turkey—a drunk who is useless in the afternoon after drinking at lunch; has a habit of being careless 5. Nippers – has indigestion; troublesome in the morning 6. When Turkey was on, Nippers was off and vice versa 7. Bartleby: just appears at the office in the answer of an ad for a new scrivener; young man who used to work in a dead letter office 8. “I would prefer not to” --- Bartleby’s catchphrase 9. Narrative has a calculative nature; is aggravated by Bartleby’s passiveness --- believes that by taking in Bartleby, he saves him from meaner bosses and also it would make him feel good about himself as a person for being kind and generous 10. Turkey threatens Bartleby and wants to beat him up after Bartleby refuses to help the narrator 11. Nippers believes Bartleby’s conduct is odd but it may be the result of a stage he is in 12. Bartleby takes over the office and lives in it ---- locks narrator out of the office in the weekend and tells him to come back later 13. Bartleby prefers not to prefer anything --- is he a dead man? Or is he totally free because he doesn’t do what he doesn’t want to do 14. “Queer” = strange ---- connotes that the use of “prefer” is odd 15. Narrator asks Bartleby to quit and Bartleby refuses 16. Looks to Edwards and the Bible --- is Bartleby just meant to be this way? Was he predestined to be the way he is? 17. How long can a person just stop doing anything? Would we still value a person such as Bartleby? 18. Narrator asks Bartleby to home with him instead of letting him live in his office. 19. Bartleby is arrested and taken to the Tombs (the jail) and starves himself and dies 20. Before he worked for the narrator, he worked at the dead letter office. Is compared to a dead letter. XI. Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) A. Biographical Information 1. One of the two most popular of the time period (in present day, other was Whitman…Longfellow was the most popular at the time) 2. Was a recluse 3. Never really published her poems in books --- after her death people discovered that she had bound her poems in to books herself 4. Not a confessional poet --- instead she used persona 5. Poems are usually short and written in a certain style and meter 6. Probably wrote hundreds of more poems that were lost 7. Dark romantic --- influenced by Calvinism from her education, but refuses to embrace Edwardian theology 8. Wrote in the “fourteener” --- seven beat lines usually broken into stanzas alternating four and three beats ---- reminiscence of nursery rhymes, ballads, classic English poetry, etc. 9. Her handwriting changed over time, which may lose meaning when they are printed because we lose a sense of her mind 10. A more difficult poet than Whitman 11. From MA B. 207 (1861) 1. Talks of how she gets drunk off of nature and the air 2. Basically is “high on life” 3. No alcohol can give this feeling as nature can 4. Maybe intoxicated with poetry as well? 5. Supernatural - there’s something that allows humans to appreciate this more than animals can 6. Sun = Son of Christ – reminiscent of Taylor’s meditations; about trying to get closer to divines C. 236 (1861) 1. You can be a Christian without keeping will all Christians traditions regularly (such as going to church) 2. Rebellious yet Puritan at the same time 3. God preaches everywhere – at church, at home, and at nature 4. She can do all a church can do for her herself D. 260 (1861) 1. No one is important to anyone --- embraces this 2. If a person is significant, they are forced to conform and fit in 3. If a person is a nobody, they have the freedom to do anything 4. Compares famous people to frogs croaking in a pond ---such as celebrities --- it is dreary to be all about fame, attention, and material things 5. Looks to someone for companionship who also wants to be a nobody E. 269 (1861) 1. Poetic conceit – images of a boat 2. Once a boat is where it needs to be, it needs not to go anywhere anywhere 3. Is this a romantic poem? Was if for another woman? 4. Physical, concrete imagery (reminiscent of Bradstreet) F. 320 (1862) 1. Paints of picture of absolute despair 2. Perhaps her most famous poem 3. Sense of original sin --- does Bartleby share this experience? G. 339 (1862) 1. Gothic tones 2. We look to death --- suggests that we watch horrible things because they show authenticity and realism H. 340 (1862) 1. Darker undertones 2. Clamorous society 3. Perhaps she lost all reason or a preconception --- loss of what she knows 4. Very Silvia Plath (before Silvia Plath) 5. Blends different senses to create new layers I. 409 (1862) 1. Maybe about affection given but not returned? 2. Choice of someone you love is cruel and permanent 3. Love selects its own society and shuts out everyone else J. 479 (1862) 1. Vivid imagery 2. Experience of what death may be like 3. House in the Ground is probably a grave 4. Strange, haunting K. 591 (1863) 1. Experience of a Fly present during death 2. Things such as a fly can interrupt the experience of death and turn attention away from other things 3. Never see the full picture --- reminiscent of Calvinists L. 620 (1863) 1. Much madness 2. People who are mad are those who do not follow the norms 3. Sometimes the maddest are ahead of their time; those who just do the most sensible things are the actually crazy people M. 764 (1863) 1. One of the most famous 2. Loaded Gun 3. Complete dependence on a person allows that person to use that dependence as a weapon 4. Imagines love in a violent way 5. Without a partner, the loaded gun is nothing
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