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Week of April 11th-15th

by: Callisa Ruschmeyer

Week of April 11th-15th ENGL 2250 - 001

Callisa Ruschmeyer
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

Louisa May Alcott, My Contraband Herman Melville, Bartleby... Frederick Douglass- Narrative Theme Notes
American Literature before 1865
Julia Tigner
Class Notes
American Literature; Tigner; Auburn University; My Contraband; Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Callisa Ruschmeyer on Friday April 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 2250 - 001 at Auburn University taught by Julia Tigner in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see American Literature before 1865 in Foreign Language at Auburn University.


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Date Created: 04/15/16
Louisa May Alcott, My Contraband First Impressions  Very dramatic compared to Douglass's narrative  Alcott emphasizes emotions to drive her story = sentimentalism o Moral suasion could be found as well, but sentimentalism is definitely much more prominent  True Cult of Womanhood is prominent In Class Questions 1. Nurse Dane and Robert o Unconventional relationship- she is white, he is black o She shows him respect and treats him like a person- not just a wounded, insane black man o Nurse Dane wanted to teach himself respect, morals, and confidence o She names him- he is a grown man- she has to teach him as though he is a child  She humanizes him with a mother-son relationship o She is attracted to him for a hot-sec; but then saw the slash on his face and he went from a man to a slave once again 2. Slaves with no rights and trying to become free in the North o Plight of a slave with no rights in the face of a white man  His wife was not really considered his wife- his marriage to Lucy was not really recognized  Lucy is introduced to Robert by his father- he bought Lucy for him; relationship sanctioned by master  Master Ned is his brother  Robert does not have the rights to his own body o Plight of a freed slave becoming a citizen in the North  In order to stop Robert from killing Ned, she promises him his freedom and more information on where his wife, Lucy, is  He ends up fighting a war  What are the limitations- even free blacks do not have all the rights that the whites have  As a contraband, Robert is still subservient to the North- he is still working for Nurse Dane  Robert flees to the North for freedom, but still ends up working  He joins the ranks as a soldier in the Civil War- he joins with this own freewill- but fighting for the North is still seen as bondage  He fights as revenge- he considers fighting as something he has to do  Wrote to Nurse Dane and said he would fight for her until he was killed  54th Regiment- all black regiment- falls under the theme (indirectly) that people fight wars that do not directly benefit them 3. Nurse Dane's Character and the Woman of the North  Nurse Dane is very passionate about helping Robert- takes action  She is subjective about changing opinions- she sees Robert different- not necessarily all blacks  North Dane is an abolitionist but does not see him as an equal to her; in the North, there are many abolitionist, but these people do not necessarily see blacks as equal to themselves  At the end, she sees Robert as "my contraband" 4. How does Louisa May Alcott combine features of sentimentalism and gothic o Sentimentalism works- seek to incite feelings; activate the conscience; pull at the heartstrings of reader  Mindset of woman is already very emotional  Having a woman as the main character- she can be more emotional and calming to Robert- what she did would not have been successful coming from a man  Love conquers all theme- only a woman could as this way toward Robert- only a woman could change Robert's mind o Gothic  Sees the face sitting in the corner (686)  Element of confusion- when Nurse is locked in the room and cannot open the windows or leave  Alcott points out the horrors of runaway slaves (which are accurate) but in a fictional piece Why this type of short story?  Short fictional story allows readers to have a quick emotional response  Allows a temporary feel of fantasy while reading, but, at the end, realize that the story really is not too far-fetched; these events could have happened during this time period Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street  Bartleby is sassy; he does what pleases him o The narrator portrays this very well- it frustrates the narrator, but eventually gives in  The narrator rationalizes Bartleby's actions, but eventually goes back and adjusts what Bartleby is doing --> this humanizes the narrator Bartleby  Passive resistance  Only seen through the lawyer's eyes  Had a job, but lost it  Lawyers are doing very well; but the "Bartlebys" of the world are left hopeless due to being left up to the whim of the men working on Wall Street  Page 1093- last paragraph o Used to work at the Dead Letters Office  If you are not well off during this time period, you take whatever job you can get  This job is not fulfilling and it is not a secure position Narrator  Turns a blind eye to Bartleby, Ginger Nut, Turkey, and Nippers  In reality, these 4 people would not have jobs, but the narrator accommodates them  Forms own narrative about Bartleby- makes excuses for them to make himself feel better o Example: Bartleby's eyesight prohibiting him from working…but is Bartleby really going blind, or is he just using it as an excuse to not work In-class discussion  Everyday life drains you  Bartleby represents what you do not want to do  His catch phrase- "I prefer not to"  Material possessions/physical comfort > spiritual values o Against the principle of Wall Street o People go to work and then go home- there is no meaning anymore  Spiritual actions tend to always have meaning  Upward mobility is not a huge theme in this story- Wall Street = stagnation Frederick Douglass- Narrative Theme Discussion Mental slavery vs. Physical Slavery  Page 1008 o Before this passage, he was beaten o Contented slave is someone who does not have the metal power to understand what they are missing out on o In order to make a slave, you eliminate human manhood o Manhood is associated with freedom  Page 999 o The dark night of slavery- associated with mental/intellectual ideas, not the physical bondage o Broken in body, soul, and spirit Hypocrisy of Christianity  Page 997-998 o Religion covers up "the most horrid crimes" o "…the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me" o Examples on how religious masters use religion to punish slaves  Page 985 o Scripture justifying whipping of slavery  Page 1020-1021 o Compares slaveholders to Pharisees  Just like how Jesus points out hypocrisies with the Pharisees o Literally states that slaveholders are "hypocrites" o Christianity in America  Creates a divide- Christianity of America is corrupt and not genuine- but Christianity of Christ is good and pure o Christianity in the north could be legitimate- "I soberly affirm is "true to the life" Importance of Literacy/Language  Page 963 o Verbal songs are much more knowledgeable than any book written about slavery o Language does not necessarily mean that which is written- it could be sung  Page 1018 o Douglass is proud to be able to read at his own leisure o He no longer has to hide his intelligence o Uses the comparison between reading and food --> Douglass states that it is necessary for one to be literate in order to be sustained  Page 976-977 o "The Columbian Orator" weighed heavily on Douglass o This passage talks about planting the seed for the desire not to be a slave for life o Lead to believe that reading is important o Evoke fear for beatings


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