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Literary Studies

Instructions PURPOSE OF ASSIGNMENT This assignment is designed to help you focus

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Instructions PURPOSE OF ASSIGNMENT This assignment is designed to help you focus on a topic from the literature we have read in Units 2 and 3 and develop an argument about that topic based upon one of the questions provided for you below. You only have to choose one of the questions for this assignment, but you will want to read through all of them to determine which question fits your understanding and knowledge the best, as well as your personal interest in the material. These questions are designed to help you identify in writing the major objectives of Units 2 and 3 and the Content Knowledge associated with the Course Objectives. Do not use online sources; instead use the sources in the course content. SKILLS TO ACQUIRE This assignment will help you master several important skills necessary to performing writing tasks in college and engaging with ideas and values that are foundational to a well-rounded university education. • Identify literary genres, major writers, and important schools of thought in American literature between 1860 and 1910. • Summarize, interpret, and analyze literary texts in relation to a specific argumentative thesis. • Utilize and extend the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills developed in ENGL 1101 and ENGL 1102. • Identify the cultural factors that shaped American literature and define the common concerns and values of humanity as expressed through literature. TASKS TO COMPLETE • Choose one of the questions below to answer for this assignment. Please remember to copy/paste the question with your response and analysis. You should choose a question that you find interesting and believe you can answer in an engaging manner. You will want to support your response not only with good logic and explanations on your part but also with pertinent passages (short quotations are best) from the texts that pertain to the question you have chosen. • Your response should be in the form of a typical essay (probably four to six paragraphs), with a short introduction, thesis statement, and supporting paragraphs with a conclusion. Consult How to Write a Literary Analysis in Unit 1. Remember that this assignment is a formal essay, beginning with a solid introductory paragraph with a specific focus/thesis. Support your focus in the body paragraphs with evidence, including short quotes. You do not need a Works Cited if your sources are clear in the essay. You will be graded on grammar, mechanics as well as content. • Your essay should total at least 500 words. • This assignment is worth 100 points. LIST OF QUESTIONS 1. Select one poem by Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman (you may use only section of “Song of Myself”) to discuss the Romantic Movement. In other words, explain what makes your selected poem Romantic. How does this text illustrate the characteristics of Romanticism? Use the characteristics of Romanticism in the course content. Be specific. 2. Explain William Dean Howells’ definition of Realism using “Editha.” For example, explain how and why George and his mother present a realistic point of view while Editha presents a more Romantic concept of life. Use the characteristics of Realism in the course content. 3. In Charles Chesnutt’s “The Passing of Grandison,” the title character is a trickster figure. Explain how he functions as a trickster figure and for what purpose. Include the definition of the trickster in your answer. You may also discuss how Chesnutt as author functions as a trickster with his audience. 4. Discuss Mother’s lack of voice in “The Revolt of Mother.” Use Martha Cutter’s article to discuss the use of gendered language in the story. You may also consider discussing the characteristics of the Cult of True Womanhood – do they apply here? Explain. What were the roles of women in this time and does this story illustrate these roles realistically? 5. Discuss and define the Rest Cure. How does “The Yellow Wallpaper” illustrate the dangers of such a treatment, especially those related to gender roles? You may include in your answer how late 19th century ideas about women shaped Dr. Mitchell’s Rest Cure. How and why does Charlotte Perkins Gilman object to this “cure”? 6. Explain how and why “The Open Boat” OR “To Build a Fire” is a Naturalistic story. For example, you could fully explain the importance of nature’s indifference in the story. Use the characteristics of Naturalism in the course content.

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