American Literature Questions

1. One of Walt Whitman’s favorite themes is democracy, which he took not to be a mere political idea but genuine, radical equality. How do we see this dedication to equality in Whitman’s poetry? Please provide specific examples from the poems that we have studied.

2. Many writers of the Realist Era are distinguished by their commitment to reform, their conviction that literature can bring about genuine social change. Discuss how two of the writers we have studied seek to bring attention to injustice.

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3. The end of slavery did not bring about the end of racism. Compare and contrast the alternative strategies that Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois proposed for improving the position of African Americans in the postwar era.
You must answer EACH of the following questions in responses of 250-300 words each. Remember to back up all assertions with specific evidence / quotes from the texts we have discussed. This is very important: vague, rambling responses won’t do the job. You should restrict your sources to the textbook and handouts. Works Cited is not necessary.

The textbook used: Norton anthology American literature

 

Poems discussed:
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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