19th Century American Literature
Develop a 400-word composition discussing one of the topics listed for this period. Compose and format your work in MS Word, then copy and paste it under the topic you have chosen; after pasting, confirm that your formatting has been maintained 1 Missing All the Clues (Use this as your title.) Locate three incidents in “The Beast in the Jungle” that illustrate March’s failure to pick up relevant clues; OR explain the symbolism of the “beast”— “in the jungle.” 2 Daisy Miller: A Moral Tale? (Use this as your title.) While Daisy acts like a typical self-determined young lady, James has presented the outcome as a kind of disobedience-consequences tale. Does this capture the whole point of the story? Do you have another perspective? 3 The Industrial Component of Realism (Use this as your title.) Realism confronts the reader with contemporary situations that are less-than-romantic. Realism focuses on real life in the present. Discuss “Life in the Iron Mills” as industrial realism. 4 Naturalism Illustrated (Use this as your title.) Literary naturalism treats character as determined (that is, entirely controlled) by non-rational forces—the familial, social, economic, or natural environment. This means a character is not free to make choices. Outside forces control these choices. Show how this works in Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. 5 Secret Fictions by A. M. Barnard (Use this as your title.) Louisa May Alcott was long known only as the author of Flower Fables for children, Little Women, and similar novels depicting idealized family life. In the late twentieth century, a substantial number of racy stories by “A. M. Barnard” touching on controversial subjects in nineteenth-century magazines were shown to be hers. She published a great deal using this pen name and apparently kept this pseudonym secret during her lifetime—perhaps even from her family. The sale of these stories brought enough money that she was able to support her family, including her father, Bronson Alcott, who was incompetent as a breadwinner Considering “My Contraband,” why might Alcott have chosen to write this story or others under a pseudonym? [If you want to read a racy novel by Alcott, which became a best seller a few years ago when it was first published, look up A Long Fatal Love Chase.) 6 Narrator Layerings (Use this as your title.) Like Franklin in “The Way to Wealth,” Mark Twain uses multiple narrators in his first story, “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Explain Twain’s narrative layering in this story. 7 Twain on the Ambiguity of Prayer (Use this as your title.) “The War Prayer” asks for an advantage in war; its flip side is a prayer for humiliating defeat for the enemy. Most prayers have this same ambiguity. If one prays to win on America’s Got Talent, this includes a subtext prayer that all other competitors will lose. They all may have prayed to win. Giving thanks for surviving a car wreck, something is left out; why is that survivor alive to give thanks and why did the other three in the car die? If some higher power is responsible for saving someone, why couldn’t that higher power have saved everyone or perhaps prevented the car wreck? If prayers can be answered, what about all the ones that are not? Is prayer an ambiguous human habit that people just keep doing without ever subjecting it to critical thinking? Discuss these dilemmas. 8 The Psychology of Prayer (Use this as your title.) Is Twain saying that prayer is egotistically motivated?