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How shall we live? American Literature

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1 How shall we live? American Literature
One of the most persistent qualities of the American character has its origins in our earliest writers. The Puritan habit of introspection and self-evaluation, the sermons of the Great Awakening, the pragmatism of Ben Franklin, and the ideals of responsibility and freedom of Jefferson appear in the newest titles in bookstores all over the nation today. As you read these authors—William Bradford, Mary Rowlandson, Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry, think of the qualities in their writing, reflecting this American character. Essay: Choose three of the colonial writers studied in class and interpret* how their pieces reflect the qualities of the American character. Rough Draft Due: Wednesday, October 28th. Interpret* Translate, explain by example, solve, or comment upon the subject and give your judgment or reaction Include proper use of the following: Verb tense - present 3rd person point of view Commas Organization Spelling, especially author’s names 2 pages maximum: TYPED, double spaced, size 12 font, Times New Roman, 1 inch margin Standards: A.12.2.a,b,d; A.12.4c; B.12.1b,c;B.12.2a,c;B.12.3 b,d,g; F.12.1h

2 Pre-write – It is important to know what one will
Pre-write – It is important to know what one will be writing about before beginning. Author date title American characteristic Bradford early 1600s Of Plymouth Puritan work ethic Rowlandson mid 1600s The Captivity Puritan faith—moral Bradstreet mid 1600s “The Burning” Puritan faith—inner strength Taylor early 1700s “Huswifery” Puritan—self-examination Edwards mid 1700s “Sinners…” Puritan motivational FEAR Franklin 1700s “On Moral…” pragmatism/practical/rational thought Paine 1700s “Crisis #1” patriotism/fiery persuasion/logical/emotional Jefferson 1700s “Declaration freedoms/responsibility Emerson 1800s “Self Reliance” Self-reliance

3 Essay Formula 1st Paragraph 2nd, 3rd, 4th Paragraph 5th Paragraph
Introduction-3-4 sentences of general broad information Which writers and the name of their respective pieces? Consider the time period Begin broad and general in 1st sentence and become more specific by the last. Thesis statement-last sentence is specific information Which writers/characteristics will the paper explain? In one sentence, you explain what the entire paper is about 2nd, 3rd, 4th Paragraph Topic sentence, mentioning author and the characteristic Example from the author’s writing Smooth transition into quote or paraphrase Analysis Concluding Sentence - wrap up 5th Paragraph Conclusion- 3-4 sentences Not a summary Quotation from outside source Link these qualities to today

4 Examples: 1st paragraph
Introduction: Start broad and become more narrow. You should mention the authors you will be writing about. Consider mentioning the time in history or the titles of the works. You will be writing about literary works, so use the present tense throughout. Thesis Statement: Tell what the paper is about in 1 sentence. In this instance, it is the American character and which of those characteristics you will be writing about.

5 Examples: 1st paragraph
As the first settlers and authors like William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, and Benjamin Franklin arrive in America, they bring their ideas, morals, and ethics with them. It is only through their writing though that these authors are able to tell of their ideals. Over time, these characteristics evolve and influence the many aspects of the American character, including the inexhaustible work ethic, indomitable inner strength, and continual self-improvement through their journals, poems, and lists.

6 Examples: 2nd, 3rd, 4th paragraphs
Follow the same sequential order as thesis statement. 1st sentence: Topic sentence: Mention the author, the name of the piece and the American characteristic you’re writing about. 2nd sentence: Example from the author’s writing Smooth transition into quote or paraphrase 3rd-7th sentence: Analysis of the author’s writing Explain in detail the characteristic, according to the author! Stick to your topic, don’t get on a tangent. Do NOT reword the example Do NOT summarize the entire piece (no play by plays of what happened)

7 Examples: 2nd, 3rd, 4th paragraphs
One of America’s earliest literary pieces “Of Plymouth Plantation” by Bradford in 1620 illustrates the Puritans’ constant hard work. For instance, Bradford portrays the Puritans as having to work seven days a week just to survive and when everyone but “6 or 7 sound persons” (Bradford 125) become ill, the healthy settlers tend to the whole village. Bradford objectively creates a vivid picture of the hardships the Puritans endure, but he also tells of the Puritans’ work ethic that allows them to persevere though these and any hardships. He demonstrates through his piece how the Puritans could easily give up at any time, but that they realize that the religious settlement that they are building is worth the hard work and is more important then the luxuries of England. Without the hard work that is so common in the Puritans’ daily lives, they would not have a chance to survive in the harsh new world and develop a country and its character.

8 Examples: 2nd, 3rd, 4th paragraphs
Anne Bradstreet’s poem “Upon the Burning of Our House” illustrates Bradstreet’s strong character regarding inner strength. For example, Bradstreet writes about looking through the ashes at her things after the fire. She inscribes, “In silence ever shall thou lie, Adieu, Adieu, all’s vanity” (Bradstreet 126). It is at this point Bradstreet realizes that her possessions were just things. She need not worry whether or not she has belongings. Because she is a Puritan, she knows God will provide her with new things if she needs them. She realizes He gives and takes, so she need not worry or complain. Instead, she says farewell to her possessions and thus her pride in owning superficial items. Bradstreet recognizes she must rely on herself and God to provide. Without inner strength, Bradstreet would not survive the tragedies she faces.

9 Examples: 5th paragraph
Conclusion- 3-4 sentences Not a summary Quotation from outside source Link these qualities to today Do NOT bring up anything new or quotes from the authors you wrote about. Helen Keller accurately describes the development of the American character when she states that “character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved” The trials and sufferings of early Americans and of Bradford, Bradstreet, and Franklin demonstrate the developing of character and traits that continue to shape America. Josiah G. Holland, an American novelist, says, “Character must stand behind and back up everything – the sermon, the poem, the picture, the play. None of them is worth a straw without it.” Essentially, character is what makes up literature of the developing country. Accordingly, when one reads the writings of a nation, one learns of the character of that nation. Therefore, through the works of Bradstreet, Edwards, Taylor, and Franklin, people ascertain several qualities of the American character.

10 Works Cited Bradford, William. "Of Plymouth Plantation." Literature and the Language Arts. Ed. Laurie Skiba. St. Paul: EMC Paradigm, Print. Bradstreet, Anne. “Upon the Burning of Our House" Literature and the Language Arts. Ed. Laurie Skiba. St. Paul: EMC Paradigm, Print.

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