MIDTERM – SPRING 2018 JODI JOHNSON ENGL 205: EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE DEADLINE: 27th March 2018 * Instructions: PICK TWO (2) questions from the 20 below and answer them. One of the questions should be 5 pages or more in length, and the second should be 2.5 pages long or longer. I have reduced the number of answers you had to answer from 3 to 2 to give you some time to do a little outside reading. I require that at least one secondary article be used overall (some of the questions give some guidance on which sources to use). Present your paper in MLA format, with correct citations (we’ll cover this on the 20th March in class). You will print me out a copy and also upload a copy to our Moodle page (a link will appear close to the deadline).
Midterm Questions: 1) What was the importance of technology in colonial attempts to not only reach the Americans, but to subjugate its inhabitants? In what ways and with what tones is this technology presented? Does it ever intimate Native American “ignorance”?
You may want to look at Columbus’ letters and John Smith’s narrative.
2) Discuss the fear of the explorers in the travel narratives of our period. What does their fear tell us about their attitude to the New World?
3) Discuss John Smith’s justification of exploration and toil in his “A Description of New England”? What does this tell us, if anything, about English views of exploration? (Recommended as short question) – 122-125.
4) On page 131 of the Norton Anthology of American Literature, the introduction to William Bradford states that “the sense of unified purpose in the opening pages of Bradford’s chronicle splinters as his account proceeds”. How? What happens, and why is it important to the Pilgrims’ idealized Christian society? After all, as it also states in the introduction, “The primitivist impulse animating Bradford and his companions made the success or failure of the Plymouth colony more than a worldly venture – it was a measure of their ability to interpret God’ will as they found it in Scripture and the remake the world in its image” (131)
5) Are there differing accounts of the First Thanksgiving? What’s important about that?
6) Discuss any single aspect or multiple aspects of Ann Bradstreet’s “To the Memory of My Dear and Ever Honored Father Thomas Dudley Esq. Who Deceased, July 31, 1653, and of His Age 77”. Ideas: Convention of the Elegy; Women’s Writing in the Early Americas; Poetic Form; Poetic Technique.
7) Compare and contrast Benjamin Franklin and J. Hector St. John De Crèvecœur’s discussions of America and the notion of being a resident of North America.
The texts to pay attention to are Franklin’s “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America” (456-462) and J. Hector St. John De Crèvecœur’s “From Letter III: ‘What Is an American?’”: 634-645
8) How is race presented during our period? You may want to look at Samuel Sewall, John Marrant, and/or Solomon Northup.
9) Discuss the concept of perfection in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark”
10) Discuss the relationship between Science and Art in Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark”.
You may want to look at the article, “Science and Art in Hawthorne’s ‘The Birth-Mark’” by Mary Rucker (you can find this on the library’s website).
11) Discuss alchemy in Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark”. You may want to take a look at the article, “A Crimson Stain upon the Snow”: Teaching Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” as an Alchemical Text” by Sandra Hughes. (You can find this on the library website).
12) In what ways are Poe’s narrators unstable and/or irrational?
13) Discuss the relationship between logic and horror in Poe.
14) Poe often presents figures or landscapes filled with sickness and decay. In what ways are these important to his work?
15) What is Gothic writing, and how does any American writer from this period conform to, or differ from, Gothic convention?
16) What are some differences between the Gothic writing of Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe?
17) Explain the importance of the differences between Poe’s two similar stories, “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Cat”.
18) Who is the narrator in Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”?
For this question, I would advise that you look at “Dead or Alive: The Booby-Trapped Narrator of Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death’” by David Dudley.
19) Compare and contrast Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” with any other text by Poe or by any other author. You are free to use any haunted house novel from our period, or one outside of our period (for example, “The Shining”, or “The Haunting of Hill House”).
20) What is it about Poe’s “The Raven” that has made it be so often referenced in other media? Although you should absolutely not use it as a source, Wikipedia has a substantial list of references to “The Raven” in everything from The Simpsons to Altered Carbon.