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American Lit Notes 1 American Lit Spring 2017 Notes: January 31, 2017 Reading Overview Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism ∙ Three literary movements were quite popular during the mid to late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Those movements were realism, regionalism, and naturalism. And, be able to provide literary examples of all three movements. ∙ Students should understand the characteristics of realism, regionalism, and naturalism. o Realism- representing things as they actually are “Nothing more and nothing less of truthful treatment” o Regionalism: an expected behavior for the reaction of things happening in a certain place o Naturalism: Viewed as a backdrop for human nature, focused on the way things go in nature Bound to write about places others had never heard of Mark Twain ∙ Students should read the author’s biographical sketch that appears before the story. o First came public in 1863 o Real name Samuel L. Clemens o Mark twain is an old river term, a lead man’s term calling 12 feet “A True Story, Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It” Essential questions that students must answer to understand the “big ideas”: ∙ What explains the apparent ignorance of Mark Twain and some of his readers concerning the life struggles experienced by Aunt Rachel? o Maybe Aunt Rachel was his slave as a kid o He’s really not certified to write this story because he doesn’t know anything about the way the slaves lived or how hard their lives were ∙ Why would Mark Twain publish a story in which a former slave gives him comeuppance? o He wanted to raise awareness to how the slaves were treated by their masters. I think he wanted people to see what they were doing to these people and how they were really affected. ∙ What does this story suggest about the relationship between whites and blacks after the Civil War, even in the Northern states? o It seems as if the relationship between the two are more respectful and friendlier. They seems as if they are carrying on a normal conversation as 2 whites would, and they seem comfortable sharing things with eachother. By her telling people “they weren’t messing up her kitchen”American Lit Notes 2 it shows she had more rights. A black would have beaten to death for saying that in the past, so this just goes to show that she had more freedom and her “owners” were not as strict at all. They were more as friends just about. Themes ∙ Human endurance and a tale of revelation. “The War Prayer” ∙ Twain had difficulty publishing the short story. Consequently, after his death, it was released. “The War Prayer” exemplifies deadly serious verbal irony. ∙ To Twain in As Regards Patriotism―Patriotism is merely a religion o love of country, worship of country, devotion to the country’s flag, honor, and welfare. The teenage boys were expected to go to war and it made their families proud for them to do so. Flag presentation meant the death of a loved one, but this was the most honored death there was o Also, a patriot is ―newspaper-and-politician-manufactured to him. In “The War Prayer” he found a way to express his disdain towards these people. The people seemed to be too caught up in their sons and brothers going to war, and they seemed cocky. The man proved that the people were being cocky and the things they were asking for in the field did not just affect them, but rather all of the people around them or in different countries. o A complex interweaving of religious and political rhetoric contributes to the citizens’ consciousness concerning war. The people seemed to be praying for all of the wrong things and were basically praying for others to be injured. They saw this as blessings, but it was seen by the man as their wrong doings. Themes o absurdly exaggerated patriotism, illusion of Christ Sections ∙ The Prayer, The Messenger, and the Message ∙ Conclusion: The War Prayer is Twain’s endeavor to tell people to stop and think about what they pray for, not to only devour what politicians and the church feed them. William Dean HowellsAmerican Lit Notes 3 Students should read the author’s biographical sketch that appears before the story. ∙ March 1, 1837 he was born ∙ Struggled to earn living in printing business ∙ Died age 83 on May11, 1920 “Editha” ∙ Summary: William Dean Howells's short story “Editha” is about a young woman (Editha) who encourages her fiancé (George) to become a soldier. She focuses entirely on her beliefs about war and her desire to have a "hero" for a husband while completely ignoring both his hesitations and the realities of war itself. ∙ The main subject of “Editha,” one of William Dean Howells’s most successful and best-known short stories, is war. Howells was very much opposed to war and in particular the Spanish-American War, which he considered imperialistic. He shows his antipathy in his portrayal of Editha, a thoughtless, selfish young woman, idealistic but ignorant of the consequences of war Questions: ∙ what constitutes a justifiable war (major theme) ∙ The people were getting ready for war and sending their sons and loved ones. They knew this war meant something and they wanted their sons/brothers/spouses to be a part of it for the dignity ∙ The story impales Editha, who embodies all the nonsense about the heroic romanticism of war and whose false sense of values drives her unfortunate fiancé to a premature death in a questionable war. ∙ She pretty much begs George to go, and in the result, he does go, and it results in his death ∙ Other themes in “Editha” focus on romantic love, patriotism, honor and duty. ∙ Love- the love she feels for George and the love he has for her ∙ Patriotism- her encouraging him to go to war and stating that she can not be with someone who does not give that honor when he is asked ∙ Honor and Duty- George enrolling to fight in the war tells us he is serving his country with honor ∙ The character, Editha, embodies idealism. Idealism is (1) theory that ultimate reality lies in a realm transcending phenomena; or (2) theory that the essential nature of reality lies in consciousness or reason. Ambrose Bierce Students should read the author’s biographical sketch that appears before the story. ∙ Father was a reader and collector of books ∙ 1857 he left home and moved to Warsaw, Indiana ∙ Before his 19 birthday enlisted in the Union army ∙ 1871 he married Mary Ellen Day and moved to England American Lit Notes 4 ∙ 1875 returned to the US ∙ 1913 he disappeared and was never heard from again “Chickamauga” ∙ Themes: o the child world and the adult world he thinks he is a man when he goes out in the wilderness and plays imagination o antiwar he does not hear the battle and his mother does not like the play of war he makes o fantasy and reality plays pretend of war and being fearful of nothing when the war really happens and the battle passes by him. He gets scared at even the view of a rabbit, exposing his real fear of the war o narrative of Indian Wars he thinks everything is pretend at first until he realizes the battle happened and his house is bruned down with his mother dead outside, learn he is a deaf mute after this ∙ Two-fold Argument o You can see the war as devastating or you can see his imagination as childish and fun ∙ Horror and devastation of war o Everyone is killed and wounded soldiers are crying along the ground, his home is burned and his mother dead ∙ Making associations to the Indian wars o He does not really understand what happened at such a young age, but he assassinates the battle with the death of his mother Essential Question: ∙ Ambrose Bierce seems to be commenting on the senseless brutality of war in “Chickamauga.” Discuss details in the story that indicate this brutality. o Towards the end of the story we are exposed to the fact the child is a deaf-mute. The death of his mother and the injury of so many soldiers shows how bad the battle was. In the video, you can see numerous soldiers crawling their way out. This shows us how much damage was done in the war because of all the men that were injured. The fact that the boy lived and his mother is dead is the worst brutality because now he has to live the life as an orphan and figure this out for himself. He will more than likely die alone out there, and that explains the worst part of the battle. Though it did not take his life, it will since it killed his mother. He ewill die a slow death as he is suffering to make things worse ∙ How does the author use realism and romanticism to convey the loss of innocence in "Chickamauga"? (The little boy in the story is a character that lends itself nicely towards realism. He wanders off into the woods in a vast American Lit Notes 5 game of pretend with his toy sword. This game is very possibly an aspect of play in his everyday life). o We can see realism because he is excepted to be where he is when everything went down. This was expected of his everyday life since his father was a soldier, demonstrating realism because his acts were expected and pure. We can also see Romanticism because we can see the relationship between the mother and father and how it related to the boy’s actions and love for the “battle” as he saw it.