American Literature I

I would like your assistance in answering the 11 questions attached.

(See attached file for full problem description)

Answer the following questions on Washington Irving:

1. “Rip Van Winkle” has been called the first American short story. What makes “Rip Van Winkle” an amusing story? What does Irving satirize in the new America to which Rip returns? Like much satirical fiction, account for the fact that this is popular as a children’s story.

2. To what extent does “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” exhibit elements of legend, folklore, and the tall tale? Is Ichabod Crane a caricature? What is the significance of his being a schoolmaster? His wooing of Katrina? His return to Connecticut? How just is the complaint that Irving weakened his story of the supernatural by introducing satire and humor?

Answer the following question on James Fenimore Cooper:

3. Compare and contrast the two writings. Show how they introduce and summarize basic themes about man and nature. Discuss Cooper’s use of elevated and literary language in the two chapters.

Answer the following question on William Cullen Bryant:

4. Bryant revised “Thanatopsis” adding an introduction (lines 1-17) and the conclusion (lines 66-81), see footnote #1, p. 716. What effect does this change have on the poem compared to its original form?

Answer the following questions on Edgar Allen Poe:

5. What actually happens in “The Raven”? What does the narrator think happens? Does the narrator go mad? If so, where in the poem is it evident that he has gone mad?

6. In his review of Hawthorne’s “Twice Told Tales,” Poe stated that the author of a tale should first select the effect he wishes to achieve and “If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step.” Examine the first sentence and the first paragraph of “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Discuss the effect on the reader of references to the isolation of the narrator, the tarn, the presence of decay, the vapor, the gray walls, the dark evening gloom, the low clouds, and the vacant windows.

7. Discuss the assertion that Roderick Usher is the distillation of Poe’s isolated, dreamy, and introspective heroes. Can Usher be considered a tragic hero struggling against an overwhelming fate?

Answer the following question on Ralph Waldo Emerson:

8. Oliver Wendell Holmes described “The American Scholar” as “our intellectual Declaration of Independence.” How is “The

Answer the following questions on Henry David Thoreau:

9. Compare Thoreau’s rationale for civil disobedience with justification for breaking the law (i.e., revolution) set forth in the Declaration of Independence. In what ways do these two arguments differ? What do they have in common?

10. Discuss the significance of Thoreau’s observations that:

a. “I have travelled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways.”

b. “Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market.”

c. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 – 1882

Reading Assignment – McMichael pp. 1539-1540, pp. 1541-1542 – The Arsenal at Springfield

Answer the following question on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

11. Longfellow considered “The Arsenal at Springfield” to be a peace poem, his contribution to the growing peace movements in America and Europe in the first half of the nineteenth century. Discuss the optimistic forecast of the last two stanzas of “The Arsenal at Springfield.” Is it meant to be accurate or merely heart warming?
Note: Now is the time to send in your answers to Unit 3. Be sure you have answered all parts

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