American Literature Critical Literary Response Essay

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1. No writer exists in a vacuum; all are influenced by those who have gone before them. One of the most influential American writers is Walt Whitman. Discuss how you see his influence on at least two or three writers who came after him, paying careful attention not only to literary style but also to prominent themes.

2. We have covered about a hundred years this semester, a very eventful century in which the United States became a world power, entered the industrial age, and created its own national literature. Discuss two or three general trends you see running through the literature we have studied, characteristics or ideas that you see as typically and uniquely American.
3.As we have discussed, a nation’s literature is one of the means by which it defines itself. Based on the readings we have examined this term, what would you say are two or three of the chief values of this nation? How are they reflected in the literature?
4. One of the main functions of the writer is that of social critic. Please discuss how at least two of the writers we studied this semester have served as social critics. Be specific: what social trends did they observe and how did they call them into question?
Include a Works Cited page and in-text citations. Stay in 3rd person.
Do not use any sources other than the following poems and stories from the textbook “The Norton Anthology of American Literature Ninth Edition Volumes C, D, and E. Must back up assertions with quotes.

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Walt Whitman, Song of Myself (C- 22), “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” (C-71), and “The Wound Dresser” (C-76), Discuss Emily Dickinson, Poems 39, 112, 207, 236, 359, 372, 479, 591, 1096, and 1773, Kate Chopin, “The Storm” (C-544), Hamlin Garland, “Under the Lion’s Paw” (C-775), Jack London “The Law of Life” (C-1108); and “To Build a Fire” (C-1113), Booker T. Washington (C-701), W.E.B. Dubois, “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others” (C-927), Susan Glaspell, “Trifles” (D-241); Robert Frost, “The Death of the Hired Man” (D-221), “After Apple-Picking” (D-228), “Out, Out” (D-232), and “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (D-233), T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (D-355); Wallace Stevens, “The Emperor of Ice Cream” (D-272), Zora Neale Hurston, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” (D10/19-25 533); e.e. cummings, “I sing of Olaf glad and big” (D-612); F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Babylon Revisited” (D-646), “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (D-835), “Mother to Son” D-835), “I, Too” (D-836), and “Mulatto” (D-837); Countee Cullen, “Yet Do I Marvel” (D-854) and “Incident” (D-854), William Faulkner, “Barn Burning” (D-771); Eudora Welty, “Petrified Man” (E-45); Flannery O’Connor, “The Life you Save…” (E-427), and “Good Country People” (E-435), Robert Hayden, “Middle Passage” (E-150), “Those Winter Sundays” (E-155); Randell Jarrell, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” (E-160); Richard Wilbur, “The Death of a Toad” (E-329), “To Aunt Rose” (E498), “A Supermarket in California” (E-495).

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