En 220 Week 2 Notes
En 220 Week 2 Notes EN 220
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rhiannon Hein on Thursday January 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EN 220 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dr. Christopher Love in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Honors American Literature II in Foreign Language at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 01/28/16
Huckleberry Finn Day 3 Notes I. American Innocence a. Naiveté b. Young, youthfulness i. America as a youth driven culture. America values youth over experience. c. Optimism d. Virtue i. American involvement in world affairs because it’s acting from it’s virtues ii. Virtues such as freedom, liberty, justice, and rights iii. When America does not act out of virtue, it comes as shocking to other Americans iv. You can see this in the characters demonstrated in Huck Finn, characters believe they are acting out of virtue (and it’s why Huck struggles so much with what to do with Jim) e. All of these ideas come from Romanticism f. American characters often believe not only the best of themselves, but the best in others. g. Childlike sense of adventure h. Manifest desitiny i. “Shining city on a hill” i. We should be an example of moral uprightness j. Ordained to lead the world k. “Natural” American who is inspired by Old World (European tyranny) l. America as exceptional (Americans thinking they’re special) II. Huck’s father as a foil for Jim a. When Huck’s father—Pap—does his diatribe against the government, Twain makes a point about those who let society affect their perceptions and destroy their lives b. Pap can’t take the limitations of society in stride, while Jim maintains a positive attitude and good character c. Pap has the advantages that Jim does not have and yet with his advantages he becomes a drunk and a child abuser, while Jim wants the ability to be with his family and be a father to his children. d. Pap is an example of poor whites that blame slaves for their plights. i. As Huck vacillates with his racist thoughts, we can see where these ideas come from. III. When is it okay to break the law? a. The American ideal is that laws are based upon morality. So when Huck is considering breaking the law, he thinks he’s going against something moral. b. Thus, Twain is asking when is it okay to break the law? It seems easy enough— when the law is immoral or unjust. But Huck is not that sophisticated—he thinks simply that if he’s breaking the law, he’s doing something wrong. IV. Ending of Huck Finn a. Huck finds out that both Jim and Tom have lied to him. Tom lies in not telling Huck that Jim is actually free, Jim lies in not telling him about his father. b. Novel seems to suggest that the problem lies not in any of the characters, but in the society of the south in general. c. In Romanticism, the endings play to the innate goodness of the readers—endings are sentimental. i. Emotional empathy will come out of the reader. d. Realism is not sentimental, it doesn’t assume the reader’s innate goodness. Often it challenges the reader’s values. i. Twain keeps playing with this idea of freedom. ii. Jim’s freedom only comes with the benevolence of Mrs. Watson. In pre civil war America, black’s freedom came at the predilection and behest of white Americans who allowed them to be so. iii. Jim is not free because he has natural rights, he’s freed because of the kindness of a white woman, which is a great paradox for Twain. e. Tom gives Jim money for his troubles at the end of the novel i. Mocks the idea that you can simply pay someone for time that you’ve forced away from them. ii. Tom tries to pay Jim off for keeping Jim captive and not giving Jim a choice. f. Twain presents human moral development as far more complicated i. Even though Huck as a moral awakening, he’s still very impressionable and isn’t able to ward off society’s influences, such as when Tom decides to take his time and jerk Jim around to fulfill his ideal adventure fantasy. g. Huck still wants to get out i. He may have learned something subtle, but he still wants to leave society behind. h. Society’s narrative i. The narrative or ideology has an effect on how Jim sees himself and his own value. 1. When he talks about how he must be a rich man considering he’s worth 800$. 2. He’s grateful to Huck despite the way Huck treats him. ii. Pg. 266—Huck tells Aunt Sally only a nigger died in the explosion and Aunt Sally responds with “Well, it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt.” 1. Aunt Sally doesn’t even see black people as people. This is a very sarcastic moment for Twain. Henry James Notes I. Henry James a. Influenced by Russian realists such as Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. b. “Jamesian Realism” i. Different than what we might consider traditional realism (the realism that th had developed in Europe in the 1830s and the middle of the 19 century) ii. Moves towards the subjective reality vs. objective reality in traditional realism. 1. Objective reality: observation of what’s going on without any bias, like a fly onrdhe wall. There is a truth that can be observed, truth is knowable, 3 person omniscient narrator who’s disinterested. 2. Subjective Reality: Subtle innovations, move to 3 person limited, which makes knowledge limited (we don’t know everything) iii. James exploits subjective realism to a degree that other writers had not. iv. James puts the reliability of the narrator into question. 1. View is shaped by personal experience. 2. How much can we rely on perspective? c. James is a realist, a naturalist, and a modernist. i. Many writers in British and American literature point to James as being the turning point in 19 century literature. ii. Because we can’t rely for an entire picture when we rely on a singular person’s perspective, what we get is a fragmented version of reality (very important in modernism). 1. It then becomes our job to piece the fragments together. 2. What is real is that reality is unknowable 100%. d. Action is more about character psychology than physical action. e. Inner conflicts and the subtleties of relationships. II. Daisy Miller a. Old money vs. new money i. Europeanesque (aristocracy) ii. New money seems to be “American,” while old money seems to be an aristocracy in itself iii. This is where the social etiquette comes from that Daisy is judged by b. Daisy i. Called “common” ii. “unsophisticated” iii. “American flirt” iv. “Uncultivated” v. “Coquette” vi. This is about perception: She’s perceived as being all of the things above but the reader can’t know that she is because the narrator is subjective. vii. Daisy doesn’t live by society’s expectations—is she a natural woman? 1. She doesn’t play by all of the socially constructed rules, so doesn’t this indicate everything she does she’s doing out of what comes naturally? c. Winterbourne i. Winterbourne doesn’t know what to believe, is Daisy loose or just friendly? ii. As an American who’s been in Europe, he’s not sure how to read Daisy. Is he too used to European, aristocratic women? iii. How do we interpret people’s behavior? We go by society’s standards. iv. Faux pas for Daisy is that she spoke of her relationships with other men. v. Is Daisy flirting? Is she just being friendly? 1. The fact that the narrator can’t answer that question is important in understanding what James’ is doing: limiting the information he gives us so that we too aren’t sure what Daisy is up to. vi. Winterbourne is torn between his American identity and his European identity 1. He worries that he’s been in Europe too long, that perhaps he forgets what it is to be an American. vii. Why does Winterbourne find Daisy intriguing? 1. Her uncommon behavior a. Lack of embarrassment or blushing. One expects the woman to be modest but she is immodest. b. He’s attracted to her Americanness d. Daisy’s nickname i. Why Daisy? ii. Flower imagery iii. She provides a breath of fresh air for Winterbourne iv. Perhaps she is a “natural” woman with her disregard for society. v. Daisy’s last name: “Miller,” middle class name, middle class occupation. e. Daisy and Mrs. Costello i. Daisy wants to meet Mrs. Costello but she hasn’t made a good impression 1. Daisy wants to join high society but she’s not willing to follow their rules. 2. Even though Daisy could subscribe to the behaviors of high society and make a good impression on Mrs. Costello, she doesn’t. She thinks high society should accept her any way and respect her individuality. a. In this way, she plays to an American virtue of individuality. 3. Also demonstrates that there’s a significant price to pay (her reputation) for going against the grain. ii. Mrs. Costello’s perception of Daisy begins to create a reality for Winterbourne.
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