Explain the role of women in Hawthorne’s short stories. How do they fit or challenge traditional female roles?
Please respond to one of the following questions in a 3-4 page essay. You must include at least one outside source and adhere to MLA format
Discuss the themes and elements of Native American creation stories. How do the characteristics that resonate in these myths differ from those found in Judeo/Christian mythology? How might we account for their differences? Are there similarities between the Native and European origin stories? If so, how can we make sense of these and what do these similarities mean?
Consider the graphic nature of Casas’ accounts of the Spanish atrocities. Gleefully drowning children, dismembering pregnant women, and torturing captives over smoldering fires, the Spanish conquerors in Casas’ narrative engage in shocking brutality. Discuss why Casas might have chosen to represent so vividly the horror of the Spanish Conquest from the Indian point of view. How does his description reverse common European stereotypes about the “savagery” of American Indians? What kind of audience does he assume will read his work? Why might he think these accounts of violence will persuade them? Why does he consistently refer to the torture and murder of women and children? How effective is his strategy?
Compare Columbus’ descriptions of the islands’ plants, natural features, and native inhabitants in the first and second letter featured in The Norton Anthology of American Literature. What kind of language does he use in the first letter? How is it different in the second? What does Columbus seem preoccupied with? How else might we account for the different versions of the new world depicted in these letters? Consider the political project each letter was intended to serve. Why might Columbus insist that “Española is a marvel” in the first letter, and then portray it as an “exhausted,” unhealthy place populated by “cruel savages” in his later account?
At the conclusion of the excerpt from the Relation in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Cabeza de Vaca explains that the Indians refused to believe that he and his group were of the same race as the “Christian slavers” they encountered in Mexico. Their “naked and barefoot” appearance as well as their gentleness and generosity seemed to separate them, in the Indians’ minds, from the Spaniards. Look at this segment of the narrative carefully, examining it for indications of Cabeza de Vaca’s own racial and national identification. Does he see himself as “of the same people” as the Christian slavers? How has his identity as a European and as a conquistador altered over the course of this time among the Indians? To get at the issue of Cabeza de Vaca’shybrid identity, chart his interesting use of pronouns in this concluding section of the Relation. When does he use “we” and “they”? Whom does he include when he refers to “we” and us”?
Bradford wrote Book I of Of Plymouth Plantation in 1630 and Book II from about 1644 to 1650. Why are these dates of composition significant and how does the content reflect (or not reflect) the religious philosophy felt by the Puritans? How do certain historical events color Bradford’s account? How might his account of the hardships the group faced upon landing affirm their claim both to the land and to spiritual purity? You might also examine how Bradford’s tone and outlook changed in the fourteen years that elapsed between the writing of Book I and Book II.
Discuss and locate biblical and typological moments in Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” and note similarities between the Puritans and the Old Testament Hebrews. Consider the significance of the Puritan’s insistence on understanding their own history as prefigured by the Bible. What kinds of pressures might this tendency to read biblical and divine significance into everyday affairs put on individuals and on communities? How might it work to comfort and reassure people?
Both Benjamin Franklin and Ralph Waldo Emerson were two influential writers who articulated American ideals and celebrated the potential of the American individual. Franklin helped shape the foundational myth of the “American Dream” by narrating his own rise from obscurity through hard work and virtue. Forty years later, Emerson built on Franklin’s practical ideas of self-improvement and made them more personal and spiritual. How does each writer differ in his answer to the question, what make and American? Discus the complexities and evolution of ideas about individualism and the national character as seen by both Emerson and Franklin.
Discuss biblical typology in Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Why is this significant and what does it mean?
Discuss the tension between civilization and nature in Hawthorne’s short stories. Why is this tension important?
What seems to be the central conflict at the heart of Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and how does this contribute to Irving’s view of America?
Discuss the role of identity and its destruction in Poe’s short stories.
Discuss the role of women in Poe’s short stories. How do they fit or challenge traditional female roles?
Discuss the role of women in Hawthorne’s short stories. How do they fit or challenge traditional female roles?
Discuss biblical typology in Hawthorne’s short stories.
Discuss symbolism in Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener.”
Discuss the transformation of the Narrator in Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener.”
Discuss symbolism in Melville’s “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids.”
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