Lit | Literature homework help

LITERATURE 232 ASH due August 25th


For this discussion post, choose one literary text/poem from this week and examine it in about 2-3 full paragraphs (8-15 sentences long per paragraph), quoting at least twice from the work(s) for support. As a reader, I want you to think critically about the texts assigned, choose one aspect of it (setting, characters, author’s argument, its theme on war, women, race, sex, violence, culture, patriarchy, conflict, feminism, addiction, etc.), and examine it with textual support. Think of this as a
 reader response that asks you to examine, explain, and defend your 
reaction to a 
reading. You can explore why you like or dislike the reading, explain whether you agree or disagree with the author’s points, identify the 
reading’s purpose, and critique the text. Do not waste any time summarizing the story to us. We have all read it, so introduce the title, the author’s full name, and jump straight into analysis with a focus on ONE idea, argument, position. Review the model reading responses I provide in Week 1: Orientation folder.  

This will be graded on a 20-point scale. Make sure to adhere to MLA in-text citation rules when writing about and quoting from the literary text. When you are done, please respond to two people’s work for support; I am not asking you to correct their ideas or writing. I am requiring you to “enter the conversation” someone else is having and explore their ideas by quoting from the material, exchanging ideas, or sharing knowledge acquired. Show me you are engaged, as the comments section for each discussion is graded separately on a 10-point scale.

During the 19th century, America was considered the bastard child of Europe — its underside, its rejects; because of its self-imposed separation, it was regarded as secondary to England. It was chaotic, undeveloped, poor, wild, with unexplored forests, desserts, and wastelands being domesticated by steam engines, cotton mills, and factories.

The poetry that comes from this era is an attempt to imitate this wildness, this brashness of the locale, moving away from the European models of verbose and elevated ballads that represented the Enlightenment
Links to an external site. and Romantic periods. Like America itself, the poetry that came after Whitman rejected the superiority complex of the old and stuffy periods of Enlightenment and R
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, embracing the characteristics of a new and fresh model of creativity: Realism
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As your reading points out, Realism was “the truthful treatment of material” and persons (Howells). This literary movement focused on the ordinary folk, imitating ordinary, and plain spoken vernacular. These folks lived simple lives, hard lives, without fortune, privilege, accomplishments, or abilities.

Some writers in this era wrote about the wealthy and privileged — like Edith Wharton and Henry James — but only to show that even the wealthy suffer from similar issues poor fold grapple with.

Realist writers believed in the power of language; that it could be used to convey life and its realities. Every writer we will encounter has done this differently, emphasizing different styles and/or points of view.

Walt Whitman
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 and Emily Dickinson grew out of the Romantics; they are both bent on producing a new voice — a more modern one — and as you see through their writing, their styles are immensely different from each other and unique for the time period in which they lived and wrote.

Whitman is known as the father of free verse; before him, poetry rhymed and had a distinct rigidity to it in terms of rhyming scheme and rhythm. 
Free verse
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 is verse without restraints — completely unconventional.

His work embodies unconventional, modern poeticism.

It’s unpoeticism.

It’s transgressive.

It brags about it.

“Song of Myself” is about him. He is at the center of his work. Read section 24 on page 40: He is the cosmos, eating, drinking, sensual, and fleshy. He is you and me. If you hurt me, you hurt him.

“Song of Myself” is a section from Leaves of Grass.
 Published in 1855, America is the subject of this rather long poem. Opening our course with this piece is pivotal because we will see that Whitman is attempting to right all the sins and wildness of our America in this one poem that the rest of our writers who follow him attempt to do for themselves. He is the voice of a new America, and all inclusive one — the kind of America we have yet to see for ourselves even today. In each section he identifies worthy subjects that should be treated with honor and reverence: women, blacks, children, the poor, the plain, the ugly, the overcrowded cities, farms, animals, etc. He covers every aspect of ordinary life in America. America is the poem — both are man-made, wild, unrestrained.

And in this wild and unrestrained cosmos, no subject is too lofty for poetry. He writes about runaway slaves, God, and sex all in one poem. Remember that this is the 
Victorian Era
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 he and Dickinson live in; it’s a very conventional and morally restrictive time. But he wants you to “loafe” with him, “loose the stop from your throat,” and “settle your head athwart my hips and gently turn’d over on me” (26). This is very open and sensual (sexual) writing for the time period. 
Emily Dickinson
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, who lived her life according to the 
Cult of True Womanhood
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 rules required of white women (restricting them from their social and financial independence) during the Victorian Era, would not even read Whitman’s work. It was scandalous and crude.

Like America, Whitman democratizes poetry, making it accessible to everyone, no matter their station in society. In celebrating all people and all things, he establishes an equality in all subject matter. And by placing all these objects and people in this one poem — this one celebration of all living things — Whitman transforms this poem into a unifying force that brings all things together — like a country — like America, which takes in everything, assimilating them, containing them without being restrained.

Notice how the poem is structured: long lines in each section; each section is separated; each section representing one aspect of American life is independent from the previous one. It doesn’t rhyme with the line before or the line after it. Each section, each description is individuated, independent, self-reliant — like the people of his time. You can cut a section out, and it still makes sense. We no longer see the short lines representative of traditional poetry, with rhyming scheme, consistent rhythm, and lofty language. The language is sultry, sexy in many places, and plain-spoken — earthy and organic. He doesn’t write for the educated, using a sophisticated voice. Any man and woman can read and understand the scope of this poem.

This poem establishes a new form of poetry in which there are no rules. It begins a new approach to writing in which there are no rules, especially in writing poetry — which prior to Whitman was considered a form of 
high art
 Download high art. This new form of poetry is democratic, accessible, all-inclusive, capable of containing everything, defying hierarchy and breaking rules set up to confine our unique identities — in both poetry and in the social order.

 Read the assigned passages and any other ones you like, and see if you can make these connections to his work.

PART B 1 page

For this Creative Writing Assignment, draft your own version of “Song of Myself, in celebration of you and all that you are.

Title it: Song of Myself

And begin with the first line: I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

and then you continue. 

Follow the rules for free verse, not rhyming or boxing in your lines. You can have one section or two, but just make it long enough (at least one page of a poem that tells us who you are and what you celebrate about yourself. Please record yourself reciting your creation and attach both the link for the video and the word document to Forums. 




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