AM LIT BEFORE 1865
AM LIT BEFORE 1865 ENG 2359
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Theodore Labadie III on Wednesday September 23, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ENG 2359 at Texas State University taught by T. Morin in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 36 views. For similar materials see /class/212914/eng-2359-texas-state-university in Foreign Language at Texas State University.
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Date Created: 09/23/15
American Literature Exam 2 Lecture Content Transcendentalism is a philosophical and literary movement that ourished in New England from about 1836 to 1860 It originated among a small group of intellectuals who were reacting against the orthodoxy of Calvinism and the rationalism of the Unitarian Church developing instead their own faith centering on the divinity of humanity and the natural world Transcendentalism derived some of its basic idealistic concepts from romantic German philosophy notably that of its basic idealistic concepts from romantic German philosophy and Wordsworth Its mystical aspects were partly in uenced by Indian and Chinese religious teachings Although transcendentalism was never a rigorously systematic philosophy it had some basic tenets that were generally shared by its adherents The beliefs that God is immanent in each person and in nature and that individual intuition is the highest source of knowledge led to an optimistic emphasis on individualism selfreliance and rejection of traditional authority from The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Ralph Waldo Emerson bom in Boston son of a Unitarian Minister Harvard graduate Became a Unitarian Minister then abandoned this position He began to question Christianity after reading a number of texts Shi in his thinking 7 began to consider the bible to be a similar text to Egyptian or Greek mythological texts 7 he did not consider the Bible to be the living expression of the creator Transcendentalism 7 Thoreau and Emerson were two of its greatest exponents a direct reaction to the Unitarian faith and Christianity it is a philosophy that privileges the individual not the group it does not suggest that God doesn t exist it supports a personal and individual relationship with God removes the church and minister allows for a more direct relationship with the Divine Introduction p 492 7 Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe Our age is retrospective Do you think that our current age is retrospective Emerson seems to be asking why we cannot have a direct relationship with God right now He suggests new methods for communicating with God p 493 7 Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable Nature is key to Transcendentalism 7 it is created by God looking at nature will answer your questions because God has created it looking at nature will answer your questions because God has created it Philosophically considered the universe is composed of nature and the Soul Chapter I 7 Nature the sublime 7 something that inspires awe something that might make you feel humble small reoriented with regards to your place in the universe regards to your place tin the universe the sublime are the ways in which we come into contact with the godly in our everyday lives p494 7 To speak truly few adult persons can see nature Poets artists have a fresh or childlike way of seeing the world Emerson elevates the poet Can we see nature in the way that Emerson seems to advocate How The poet sees nature as one uni ed landscape not land divided into property Emerson advocates seeing one s place in the bigger picture Chapter II 7 Commodity four uses for nature Commodity Beauty Language and Discipline Emerson says that everyone knows how to use nature as a commodity We see that ways that nature works 7 we transform these lessons into technology p496 7 A man is fed not that he may be fed but that he may work What does this mean What does this mean in terms of American life Emerson recognizes designs in nature that are similar to the ways in which our lives and societies are organized 7 this an example of the sublime He makes a clear distinction between the things that God makes and the things that people make The end result of using nature as a commodity is good only if it is meant to sustain people community Chapter III 7 Beauty p496 7 A nobler want of man is served by nature namely the love of Beauty Three Categories 1 Recognizing beauty in nature can restore you p497 7 The inhabitants of cities suppose that the country landscape is pleasant only half the year 2 A virtuous person is in unison in tune with nature What might this mean Nature provides the background for our heroic virtuous actions Does nature reveal that one is not virtuous p498 7 Beauty is the mark God sets upon virtue Every heroic act is also decent 7 decent meaning beautiful A virtuous man is in unison with her works and makes the central gure of the visible sphere Can you pick out the bad people in the world around them Does Emerson seem a bit superstitious with regards to his assessment of nature Does this section of the essay seem to con ict with the rest of the essay Transcendentalism vs Pragmatism 7 aphilosophical movement that includes those who claim that an ideology or proposition can be said to be true if and only if it works satisfactorily that the meaning of a proposition is to be found in the practical consequences of accepting it and that impractical ideas are to be rejected 3 Beauty can move people to taste and to art a deeper appreciation of beauty 7 taste this deeper appreciation inspires use to reproduce the beauty of nature by means of art one of the purposes fo nature is to satisfy the desire for beauty Chapter IV 7 Language 1 Words are signs of natural facts Words represent things in nature Language is more picturesque as we go back in history 2 Nature is also a symbol of things that are spiritual Nature symbolizes spiritual things Nature makes a connection between us and the Divine p504 7 every object rightly seen unlocks a new faculty of the soul Coleridge language as a symbol system that has its roots in nature nature as a symbol system that has its roots in God Do we recognize this sort of connection in the world Chapter V 7 Discipline 1 Nature is a discipline of the understanding of intellectual truths p 505 7 The exercise ofthe Will or the lesson ofpower is taught in every event From the child s successive possession of his several senses up to the hour when he saith thy will be done he is learning the secret that he can reduce under his will not only particular events but great classes nay the whole series of events and so conform all facts to his character Nature is thoroughly mediate It is made to Serve What does Emerson mean here Whatwho is nature supposed to serve Nature is here to teach us it is a discipline like science humanities etc We are students of nature Nature is both the subject and the instructor 2 All things are moral Moral law aka Divine law is visible in nature By looking at nature we may learn what is right and wrong Emerson suggests that nature is the living embodiment of the Ten Commandments p 505506 7 Therefore is nature glorious with form color and motion that every globe in the remotest heaven every chemical change from the rudest crystal up to the laws of life every change of vegetation from the rst principle of growth in the eye of a leaf to the tropical forst and antediluvian coalmine every animal function from the sponge up to Hercules shall hint or thunder to man the laws of right and wrong and echo the Ten Commandments Therefore is nature always the ally of Religion lends all her pomp and riches to the religious sentiment p506 7 The moral law lies at the centre of nature and radiates to the circumference The moral in uence of nature upon every individual is that amount of truth which it illustrates to him Do you agree Have you seen an example of right or wrong just by observing nature Emerson reinforces the idea that nature and religion are always working hand in hand p 507 7 Words are nite organs of the in nite mind CHAIR 7 what does this arrangement of letters tell you these letters 7 chair 7will never BE an actual chair language has its limitations it will never BE what it symbolizes Chapter VI 7 Idealism 1 Nature works hand in hand with spirit aka soul to emancipate us free us example 7 rapid movement of the train changes one s visual perception nature looks different from a moving train than it does from a stationary position human beings can be enslaved by their perceptions Emerson suggests that we learn to see things through various perspectives 2 The poet can communicate a changed perspective poetartist is able to manipulate the scene objects etc By altering this perspective the artist seeks truth renewed vision poets and artists are creating like God but on a smaller scale similarly God creates the world and leaves it up to humans to nd beauty and tru p 513 7 It beholds the whole circle of persons and things of actions and events of country and religion not as painfully accumulated atom a er atom act a er act in an aged creeping Past but as one vast picture which God paints on the instant eternity for the contemplation of the soul Do the lessons that nature provide us change if we remove God from the equation distinction between poet and philosopher 7 poet seeks beauty philosopher seeks truth as their main goal however the TRUE poet and philosopher seek both Chapter VII 7 Spirit p 513 7 The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson worship How can nature teach us how to worship Consider the ideade nition of worship With Thoreau we will encounter someone who is putting Emerson s idea into practice February 21m Henry David Thoreau Ch2 5 amp 18 0 Exam Review Thursday March 3rd 5pm 0 Thoreau puts Emerson s transcendentalism into practice Thoreau had an intimate knowledge of Emerson s philosophy 0 Thoreau s time at Walden was a living breathing experiment of transcendentalism Ch2 Where I Lived and What I Lived For 0 Last paragraph on p8877What passage from Emerson does this remind you of 0 Chapter VI7Idealism7Emerson suggests that we learn things through various perspectives 0 Notice how Thoreau explains what the poet gets from the land versus what the farmer gets 0 The metaphor of milk7What does this mean I The pure milk is what the poet gets to enjoy I Thoreau seems to suggest that the farmer only takes the skim milk because that is all he wants to take 0 He suggests that we always have a choice as to what we can take from life 0 P8887description of his house7What does this description tell the reader about Thoreau o Thoreau is no armchair intellectual7he puts his philosophy intellectual stance into action 0 P8917The millions are awake enough for physical labor but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion 0 Comments Can we apply this to our own time o Is education more valued today than it was in Thoreau s time Consider the issues surrounding education today versus 150 years ago 0 Thoreau s message here is that we must be awake aware of our own lives 0 P892 at the very top 0 To affect the quality of the day that is the highest of the arts I Be an artist in terms of your own life and existence O o Simplicity 7Thoreau sees people as being overburdened with a number of tasks and commitments P8937 I could easily do without the postoffice 7Thoreau advocates a facetoface conversation 0 Think about this in a contemporary context Ch57Solitude O 0 Chapter 5 o P8957Thoreau considers seeing through the surface of things 0 Surface vs Reality P895 7 I perceive that we inhabitants of New England live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate the surface of things We think that that is which appears to be If a man should walk through this town and see only the reality where think you would the Milldam go to If he should give us an account of the realities he beheld there we should not recognize the place in his description Look at a meetinghouse or a court house or jail or a shop or a dwellinghouse and say what that thing is before a true gaze and they would all go to pieces in your account of them Men esteem truth remote in the outskirts of the system behind the farthest star before Adam and alter the lastman In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime But all these times andplaces and occasions are now and here God himself culminates in the present moment and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages And we are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching of the reality which surrounds us The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions whether we travel fast or slow the track is laid for us Let us spend our lives in conceiving them The poet or the artist never yet had so fair and noble a design but some of his posterity at least could accomplish i 7 Thoreau considers seeing through the surface of things 7 surface vs reality Solitude P898 7 I have never felt lonesome or in the least oppressed by a sense of solitude but once and that was a few weeks a erI came to the woods when for an hour I doubted if the near neighborhood of man was not essential to a serene and healthy life To be alone was something unpleasant 7 Thoreau s thoughts on loneliness solitude how he might respond to someone who asks him if he becomes lonely at Walden o Thoreau seems peculiar at times however his dissatisfaction and impatience with society has forced him to question things see through surfaces P 900 7 we live thick and are in each other s way and stumble over one another 7 0 Do you agree with Thoreau in this passage 0 God is alone but the Devil has many friends 0 Thoreau suggests we should be more like God 7 be creators be able to change the shape of the world we live in by action and intellect Chapter 18 Conclusion o P 918 7 be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you opening new channels not of trade but of thought 7 be an explorerihowever Thoreau suggests looking inward He leaves Walden and never returned for any signi cant amount of time he had found enlightenment 7 being at Walden was no longer necessary 0 Exam Review Thursday March 3rd 5pm FH 34 9Allowed to have 1 3x5 notecard per topicamp textbook on exam day February 23rdNathaniel Hawthorne P 589 O O a The first work we ve read this semester that was written intently as literature or fiction How do these stories compare to The Scarlet Letter My Kinsman Major Molineux O O O O O O 0 Robin receives an invitation to visit his Uncle this is a good opportunity for Robin the youngest male child of the family Why does he receive such a cold reception when asks about his Uncle s whereabouts 0 Robin describes himself as being shrewd and observant Ironically he does not understand that the people in the town react harshly towards the fact that Molineux is his uncle His uncle is a loyalist a supporter of the British crown The other characters in the story are colonists They are opposed to the rule and taxation that the crown places upon them Thus the story is an interesting attempt at historical revision 0 The very mention of a loyalist in this story provokes a harsh reaction from the characters that are colonists Does this correspond with your understanding of this period in history 0 Consider the different agendas that historians have when describing a particular period It is unclear what Molineux has done to be such an object of contempt for the characters 0 However he is a symbolic and figurative representation of the British Crown Reading the story as a historical revision 0 He writes in a period that is relatively close to the events that he is describing there is still quite a lot at stake o The memory of these events is quite close 0 The society that Hawthome critiques is still around Allegory o Allegory is a form of extended metaphor in which objects persons and actions in a narrative are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself The underlying meaning has moral social religious or political significance and characters are often personi cations of abstract ideas as charity greed or envy Thus an O allegory is a story with two meanings a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning 0 What is the point of the introductory first paragraph of the story 0 It gives the reader a rough blueprint for what is going to happen 0 For example Last paragraph on P592 I First two governors described are similar to the character Robin meets on p594amp 598 I The third governor is like the character Robin meets on p599 I Fourth governor is symbolically represented by the mob o The mob becomes one loud raucous creature a character in itself I 5mamp 6111 governors are symbolized by the ferryman and the woman who claims to be his uncle s housekeeper she is actually a prostitute o What is the moral of this allegory What is Hawthome trying to teach the reader 0 Robin is naive also he rushes to judgment about the life in the city 0 The man that Robin meets at the end of story is the friendly genuine citizen I He does not participate in the physical and symbolic war 0 Moral being a good citizen has nothing to do with political af liation I Do you agree Young Goodman Brown 0 Is this story an allegory 0 Like Robin Brown is naive However there is the problem of whether he really experienced this or if it was a dream 0 He loses faith in humanity leads a life of suspicion as well as guilt he want to believe in his wife but he can t I P6l4 3rd Paragraph But goodman Brown looked sternly and sadly into her face and passed on without a greeting o What is the moral of this story 0 A story of personal responsibility Brown chooses not to trust others a er his experience his unhappiness is his own fault Washington Irving March 73915 Rz39p Van Winkle 0 Irving was one of the rst American writers to get achieve a large international audience 0 Savvy in regards to ownership and copyright to his work in both the Us and Great Britain 0 Irving was a dark romantic such as Hawthorne and Poe 0 Story rst appeared in The Sketch Book 0 Who is Diedrich Knickerbocker o P453 In 1808 celebrity o Diedrich Knickerbocker is a made up name penname o What does this tell us about Rip Van Winkle Irving tells us that the tale is taken from Knickerbocker s papers 0 What is the purpose ofthis O O O O O O O O O I Because the tale was found in the papers of a historian Irving seems to be suggesting that the story is true What do we think about these games he is playing with the reader 0 Comedinrving seems so serious and detailed about the false prefatory and endnotes The Endnote has the same purpose as the prefatory note 0 P466 2quotd paragraph is one long quote of Knickerbocker He offers an af davit certi es the truthful nature of the story Consider how we are attracted to books stories lms etc that are based on true events Before Rip Van Winkle nds his way to the Catskill Mountains What kind of person is Rip Van Winkle 0 He won t do any work that is pro table for himself to others won t work hard to help out his family s living he has an aversion to pro table labor 0 P4577he won t work his farm improve it for his wife or kids I It s almost feels as ifhis farm or his property is jinxed weeds or property grows on his property and nowhere else I This does not help his relationship with his wife I Irving goes in great length to describe how mean his wife is I His dogwolfis a symbolic extension of Rip Is Irving s portrayal of Van Winkle s wife too harsh 0 She is an allegorical symbol of England 0 Rip is a symbol for preRevolutionary America 0 This means that preRevolutionary America is like him 0 Even though the British Crown has been presented in an un attering light they had a good number of reasons to be upset with the Colonists This is not a common view from an American writer at this time not very patriotic o What do you think about this satirical allegory that satirizes the colonists Consider histories of the Colonies that you have studied 0 Rip sleeps through the war 0 Why does Irving have him sleep through this period 0 What causes him to fall into a 20year sleep during the revolutionary war I He was drinking with the ghosts in order to play 9pins bowling Upon waking Rip sees an eagle a symbol of America 0 He notices that the portrait of King George is now George Washington 0 P4627the altered image of King Georgeimetamorphosed into George Washington I What is the satirical or political commentary here Not much has changed trading one king for another Rip s wife has diedishe burst a blood vessel when she was yelling at a New England peddler why is this signi cant 0 She was probably arguing with him about money or the price of goods 0 He is relieved that his wife is dead imagine the trouble he would have been in with his wife His son is a ditto of himself O O O Moral of the allegory America is the same alter the revolution as before Rip is the same as he was before just older 0 Is there truth to this Consider a historical perspective 0 The EnglishDame Van Winkle are no longer there has anything else changed I They wanted to get their shrewish henpecking wife England off their back P4567Rip came from a good family but inherited little of the martial character of his ancestors Allegorysymbols collected to point the reader towards a moral meaning or extended message
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