Presentation on theme: "AMERICAN LITERATURE AND CULTURAL HISTORY SEMINAR ONE."— Presentation transcript:
AMERICAN LITERATURE AND CULTURAL HISTORY SEMINAR ONE
WHAT IS LITERATURE? works of the creative imagination, including works of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction represents a language or a people: culture and tradition we may even grow and evolve through our literary journey with books we may discover meaning in literature by looking at what the author says and how he/she says it Do you read?, Did you have a formative reading experience? How about reading a book and seeing its film version after?
APPROACHES TO LITERATURE What is the message? What do we learn from the work? How is the life of the author reflected in the given work? What historical, social, or political background is reflected in the given work? What is the structure of the given work: introduction, exposition, conflict, resolution
PURPOSES OF LITERARY CRITICISM Resolving a question or problem concerning a reading Deciding between conflicting readings Helps to make informed judgments about literature
LITERARY CRITICISM Skylar Hamilton Burris Work itself: formalist, deconstructionist Author’s world, author’s life: historical biographical, psychological (psychoanalytic) Audience: reader response Other literature: intertextual Real world: feminist, mimetic, minority reading Beyond the world: symbolic, archetypal
MORAL, INTELLECTUAL Concerned with the content and values of the work What is the message? How can the reader apply it to his or her life? How can the reader make his life better by the message?
FORMALIST APPROACH emphasizes the form of a literary work to determine its meaning, focusing on literary elements and how they work to create meaning – Examines a text as independent from its time period, social setting, and author’s background. A text is an independent entity – Focuses on close readings of texts and the analysis of the effects of literary elements and techniques
STRUCTURALIST APPROACH Attempts to discover forms unifying all literature Protagonist: -active, submissive -fail, pass code -fail, pass encounter Language: Saussurian linguistics: langue: deep structure, a basic systematic structure of language, parole: surface
PSYCHOANALYTICAL APPROACH Psychoanalytical Criticism views a text as a revelation of its author’s mind and personality. It is based on the work of Sigmund Freud. – Also focuses on the hidden motivations of literary characters – Looks at literary characters as a reflection of the writer
PSYCHOANALYTICAL APPROACH Repressed sexual drives in the subconscious influence the conscious Oedipus/Electra complex Sexuality vs. Ambiguity Revealing the textual unconscious Treating the text, or the author as a patient Exploring childhood traumas
SOCIOLOGICAL Sociological criticism argues that social contexts (the social environment) must be considered when analyzing a text. Focuses on the values of a society and how those views are reflected in a text Emphasizes the economic, political, and cultural issues within literary texts Core Belief: Literature is a reflection of its society
FEMINIST Feminist Criticism is concerned with the role, position, and influence of women in a literary text. Asserts that most “literature” throughout time has been written by men, for men. Examines the way that the female consciousness is depicted by both male and female writers.
1) Feminine Stage - involves "imitation of the prevailing modes of the dominant tradition" and "internalization of its standards." (2) Feminist Stage - involves "protest against these standards and values and advocacy of minority rights...." (3) Female Stage - this is the "phase of self- discovery, a turning inwards freed from some of the dependency of opposition, a search for identity." Elaine Showalter
4 Basic Principles of Feminist Criticism 1.Western civilization is patriarchal. 2.The concepts of gender are mainly cultural ideas created by patriarchal societies. 3.Patriarchal ideals pervade “literature.” 4.Most “literature” through time has been gender-biased.
FEMINIST APPROACH Fighting against stereotypical descriptions Promotion of essentialism Ecriture feminine v. Male writing Expansion of the canon Female archetypal patterns: Magna Mater (Ma Joad, Mrs. Baradlay) Virgin ( virtuous woman), Repulsive Witch (Hansel and Gretel), Temptress (Eve, Catherine Trask)
HISTORICAL-BIOGRAPHICAL The work is a reflection of an author’s life and times The political, economical, and sociological aspects of the author’s life must be understood in order to fully appreciate the given work Danger: intentional fallacy, the reduction of a given work to a manifestation of autobiography
ARECHETYPAL, MYTH CRITICAL Archetypes: located in the collective unconscious (Jung) Critic searches for archetypal patterns, Northrop Frye: Master archetype, master story: The Bible (Anatomy of Criticism, The Great Code) water - creation, birth-death-resurrection, purification, redemption, fertility, growth garden - paradise (Eden), innocence, fertility desert - spiritual emptiness, death, hopelessness red - blood, sacrifice, passion, disorder serpent - evil, sensuality, mystery, wisdom, destruction hero archetype - The hero is involved in a quest (in which he overcomes obstacles). He experiences initiation (involving a separation, transformation, and return), and finally he serves as a scapegoat, that is, he dies to atone. –Joseph Campbell, The Hero with the Thousand Faces)
DECONSTRUCTIONISM Language does not refer to any external reality. There are several contradictory interpretations of a given text. Each text contains the exact opposite of its professed meaning Jacques Derrida Dismantling the ground, the text stands on Due to a continuing interplay between text and meaning, one can never fully understand a text
NARRATOLOGY (A. Julien Greimas) The novel as a narrative J.R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings Main motif: transfer of an object of value from one actant to another Actant (aspects of narrative) Subject-Object: project (Frodo wants to return the Ring) Sender-Receiver. Communication (Saruman to Orks) Helper-Opponent: conflict (Gandalf, Smeagol)
ACTANT interaction Performative: test, struggle Contractual: honoring or dishonoring a contract or agreement Discjuctional: departure, return
LITERATURE AND THE AMERICAN DREAM A city upon a hill The Declaration of Independence America as cornucopea Freedom, equality, opportunity, Success Making it
SEMINAR TWO John Smith ( ) Biographical information: Grew up in Lincolnshire, shopkeeper’s apprentice, mercenary from Captured, sold into slavery, returns to London 1606: The London Trading Company receives a patent (charter) from the Crown Sails to Virginia, aboard 144 people, 39 die Charged with mutiny, excluded from government until 1607 Main issues at the colony: health, dealing with the economic crisis, survival
JOHN SMITH Main activities: exploring the territory Captured by Powhatan Pocahontas episode appears in The General History (1624) Redemption of a captive by a child of nature 1608: elected as governor 1609: returns to England after a gunpowder explosion 1614: returns to the coast of Maine, Names the area New England 1620: rejected by Pilgrims but they use his map of New England
THE GENERAL HISTORY…. Nothing is more honorable than the discovery of things unknown, creating towns, peopling countries, informing the ignorant, reforming things unjust, teaching virtue and making a gain to our mother country (A Description of New England 1616) History, Relations, Relación—mostly a report, a journal, not a professional history writer
GENERAL QUESTIONS What were the circumstances of the journey to America? Were the colonists given clear instructions from the beginning of the expedition? Was the trip an uninterrupted one? How does he describe America, especially the Caribbean region? Can you find any elements in the text referring to Puritan values? What happened to the settlers upon arrival? Why was Smith not included among the potential leaders or members of the council? What difficulties did the colonists face? Describe his meeting with Openchancanaugh How does he describe Powhatan?
THE POCAHONTAS EPISODE What happened to John Smith in Powhatan’s camp? Why was he sentenced to death and how did he escape? How could the episode be interpreted? Nature v. culture Male v. female Self v. other
THE POCAHONTAS EPISODE (group work) Find archetypal elements in the story How could you give a feminist interpretation of the story? How could you apply the psychoanalytic method How could you apply the sociological method?
INTERPRETING CRUCIAL LINES the company was not a little discomforted seeing the mariners had three days passed their reckoning and found no land That night was the box opened and the orders read Now falleth ever man to work The President’s overweening jealousy The new President committed the managing of all things abroad to Captain Smith
INTERPRETING CRUCIAL LINES When no entreaty could prevail Powhatan, having disguised himself in the most fearfulest manner he could To have him put to death by Levitical law
CULTURAL TERMS Patent Hull Sail unfurled Council Overweening jealousy Palisade Pinnace Commonwealth Shallop Tuftaffety humorists Culverine Levitical law
IMAGE OF POCAHONTAS Paula Gunn Allen: medicine woman, spy, entrepreneur, diplomat Charles Larson: Every Indian, the archetypal Noble Savage First Lady of Virginia The Virgin Queen of the West The Indian Ceres Our Lady of the James
THE MYTH AND ITS FUNCTION Myth: self-justifying intellectual construct fusing falsehood with reality Projection Rationalization Justification Creation myth Leslie Fiedler: Symbol of the White Man’s reconciliation with our land and its first inhabitants
THE BAPTISM OF POCAHONTAS
POCAHONTAS MATOAKA REBECCA Pocahontas: naughty one, spoiled child 1612: taken prisoner by the English 1614: In return for her freedom she married John Rolfe Used in a propaganda campaign to popularize the Virginia Colony Rebecca: captivating, wife of Isaac, son of Abraham, mother of the Israelites through her son Jacog, and the Edomites, through Esau
PRACTICE EXERCISES Write an SMS for John Smith --captured by Indians (to a friend) --rescued by Pocahontas (to the governor of Jamestown) --refused to be taken to New England by the Pilgrims (to William Bradford)
SEMINAR THREE JOHN WINTHROP ( ) Raised on an estate (Groton, England) purchased from Henry VIII Studied at Cambridge University Married at age 17 Practiced law Congregationalist, wants to reform the church from within 1620: Severe economic depression
Company of Mass. Bay in N. England receives a charter Winthrop is chosen for governor Aboard Arbella delivers his sermon A Model of Christian Charity
A MODEL OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY The formation of a Christian community Mission concept General model of society: some must be poor, some must be rich Features of an ideal Christian community: --keep the common good at the front --preservation and good of the whole --glorify God, moderate and restrain the wicked --social harmony: rich should not eat up the poor, poor should not eat up the rich
WHAT RULES SHOULD ONE ABIDE BY Build bonds of brotherly affection Justice and mercy Obey the moral law: Love thy neighbor as thyself Be like the two angels, the old man from Gibbeah offering shelter to a travelling priest
HOW DOES THE COVENANT WORK? We live according to the teaching of God The Lord expects strict performance of the terms What to do to avoid the Lord’s wrath: --not to prosecute carnal intentions --not to be selfish --follow the counsel of Micah: do justly, love mercy, walk humbly
A CITY UPON THE HILL Matthew 5:14 For wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill A city that is set on the hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick. What happens if we do not follow God’s teachings? Typology, the pattern of Moses
A foundational document Compact made among Americans Covenant with the Supreme Being A community united in charity
THE AMERICAN JEREMIAD Sacwan Bercowitch: a sermon creating tension between ideal social life and reality --provide a biblical or spiritual standard for individual activity or public life --describe how people fail to meet this standard --describe and ideal public life following a return to religious standards Hope v. fear, ideal v. real Reagan’s city upon a hill
PRACTICE EXERCISES How does the speech of Winthrop make you feel? Does society meet his standards? Provide concrete examples Do you do to others as you would to yourself? Provide examples when America or Americans acted according to an inhabitant of a city upon a hill How is the tension between hope and fear, individual and community manifested in the text? Put Winthrop’s message into modern terms Is Hungary meeting Winthrop’s criteria?
REVIEW What is the significance of Winthrop’s text? What ideas does he express? How does he describe the ideal society? What are the main elements of the jeremiad?
INTERPRETING THE JEREMIAD Possible scenario: Group work You lent money to a friend, he did not pay it back Although you saw a man lying on the ground, you walked by Your friend is cheated on by her partner Make a sermon: Biblical quote, doctrine, explaining the doctrine application, show examples, you can use fictional examples
SEMINAR FOUR CAPTIVITY NARRATIVES Historical background The worsening of settler-Indian relations Aggressive expansion of whites Undermining Indian spirituality Aggressive expansion of Christianity Encroachment on Indian land
CAPTIVITY NARRATIVES Indian wars : Powhatan war 1637: Pequot war : King Philip’s (Metacomet) War
CAPTIVITY NARRATIVES Conflicts at the Frontier—contact zone Captives are taken for making them work as slaves For ransom For making up a loss in the family For being sold to other tribes
THE INDIAN CAPTIVITY NARRATIVE Basic theme: separation, transformation, return (staying with Indians) Narratives of confinement: Barbary coast captivity, slave narrative, convent captivity narratives, captured by UFO narratives Indian captivity narrative: forerunner of the American novel
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE INDIAN CAPTIVITY NARRATIVE Roy Harvey Pearce: Religious confessional Propaganda (Indian, or French as the archenemy) Penny dreadful—dime novels Self-fashioning (Ogushi) –establishment of identity
MARY ROWLANDSON (1682) Attack on Lancaster, Mass. 1675, February 10 Captured with injured six year old daughter, Sarah Self-fashioning, rebuilding identity Motherhood-loses Sarah, yet figurative mother to Indian children Sewing clothes Biblical patterns, typology, Loth’s wife, Job
HANNAH DUSTAN 1657-post March 15-April 29 Convalescing with child Indian attack, captured with nurse, newborn is killed Violent self-liberation, scalps captors for proof Transformation turns into Indianization Female violence—self fashioning (Ogushi)
HANNAH DUSTAN - Passive witness: lain in about a week, attended by nurse -Husband: hastened from his Employments abroad, saves children, gives up on wife -Jael upon Sisera-typology -Murders are motivated by: fear of the gauntlet, death of child, ”she thought she was not Forbidden by any Law” -“female variant of spiritual autobiography” as observed by Patricia Spacks commemorates ”a spiritual call to an achievement and accomplishment in no other way excusable in a female self”
SEMINAR FIVE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN Review What factors made the captivity narrative possible? What are the main sections of the plot? What is the significance of Rowlandson’s Narrative? How typology and the concept of the covenant are represented in the text? What is the reason behind the popularity of captivity narratives?
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ( ) Father: Josiah, tallow chandler, soap maker Mother. Abiah Folger (her father: teacher of Indians) Left school early, but loved books and reading First essay written under the name: Silence Dogood 1723: breaks out of being a printer’s apprentice, becomes well-versed in the printing trade
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ( ) Success in business: owner of a printing shop by age 24, editor of the Pennsylvania Gazette : Poor Richard’s Almanack Inventions: Franklin stove, lighting rod, bifocal glasses 1751: Publishes his research on electricity in London Political and public career: Diplomat, statesman
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ( ) Represents the colonies in England Serves in the Continental Congress Serves on a committee drafting the Declaration of Independence Promotes the Franco-American Alliance A signer of the Treaty of Paris Represents Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention One of the most loved people of his age, at his funeral 20,000 mourners attend
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ( ) Franklin and the Internet? The inventor of the hoax 1761: England settling prisoners on the colonies, he offers sending snakes to the king in return 1790: speaks up against slavery through an imagined North African prince The ancestor of the gadgeteer (fin, french fries)
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ( ) Main views: Man is naturally innocent, education can transform lives by liberating the individual from the tyranny of the church and the monarch I should have no objection to a repetition of the same life from its beginning only asking the Advantage Authors have in a second edition to correct some Faults of the first
AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN GENERAL Early examples: St. Augustine, Rousseau The term is first is used by Robert Southey Before that: self-biography, self-character George Gusdorf: what are the foundations of the rise of autobiography? the elimination of the mythical perspective Man finds pleasure in describing his own portrait Writers believing that their life experience is worth publishing
AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN GENERAL Requirements: the presence of three selves Author, narrator, and the narrated self Philippe LeJeune: Autobiographical pact: Author, narrator, narrated self are identical Thomas Couser: the degradation of the autobiographical self: I, eye, one Susanna Egan: Autobiographies contain four basic elements: innocent childhood (gaining experience), youth (journey) maturity (adult crises) old age (confession)
THE LITERARY SIGNIFICANCE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN The first writer to break from the colonial Puritan ideology, promotes the values of the middle class Did not produce literary works Writings serve didactic purposes Poor Richard’s Almanack: most popular book of his age, published in 10,000 copies Contents: calendars, time of low tide, high tide, agricultural advice, astrology, aphorisms, general wisdom 1757: The Way to Wealth: collection of aphorisms, promoting middle class values: industry, thrift, independence
THE LITERARY SIGNIFICANCE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN The Autobiography (1791) Early model of the self-made man, rejection of predestination, he achieved success and fame through hard work and virtue Not a spiritual journal Man is not a sinner, can be improved via education (forerrunner of Transcendentalists) Wrote mock captivity narratives, and heavily criticized the slave trade Influenced by Swift (criticism is based on a pretended identification with the given position, and then taken to the extreme to demonstrate the ill effects) Defoe, Addison. Style: simple, clear, easily understandable language A secular version of the Puritan spiritual narrative A parallel between Franklin and the young republic (rebellion against brother, my first errata)
The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer (like the cover an old book, its contents worn out and stript of its lettering and gilding) lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not be lost, for it will, as he believed, appear once more. In a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by its Author
SEMINAR SIX WASHINGTON IRVING An American with a feather in his hand, and not on his head The first American literary figure with international reputation and acceptance Widely read during his youth, influences: Shakespeare, Oliver Goldsmith, Laurence Sterne 1804: two year trip to Europe 1807: Salmagundi, a satirical magazine, Persona: Mustapha Rub a Dub Keli khan: captain from Tripoli, offers a criticism of American society, of Jefferson 1809: The History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker : lives in Europe 1819: The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon (short story collection)
WASHINGTON IRVING Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 1828: Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus Later turns to American topics: Astoria, 1855: The Life of George Washington
WASHINGTON IRVING Not a writer of classic or traditional fiction Limited social criticism Does not describe the tragic aspects of society Main genre: short story Describes everyday events Uses elegant language Satirist, humorist, influenced Dickens
RIP VAN WINKLE Reference to Diedrich Knickerbocker Story takes place at the Catskills Rip: simple, good-natured fellow, ancestors fought in a war against the Swedes, he is not a fighter Obedient, hen-pecked husband Popular in the village Ready to attend anybody’s business, but his own Rather starve on penny, than work for a pound
RIP VAN WINKLE His house is in the worst condition in the neighborhood Termagant wife, virago Escapes into nature, goes squirrel shooting Encounter with a supernatural being, falls asleep for 20 years Sleeps through the American Revolution Achieves independence from petticoat government
DAME VAN WINKLE Fiery furnace of domestic tribulation A sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows sharper with constant use The character is Irving’s invention Stereotypical image of women
THE CHARACTER OF RIP Underdog, a loser we want to see „win” A negation of the Puritan work ethic An opposite of Franklin’s self-made man Parallel with America: upon return from woods he is uncertain, confused, he earns his respected place in society Personal identity is fused with national identity A unique version of the American dream: a peaceful living in the lap of nature (Thoreau: Walden)
An escapist fantasy Ineffectual male hero, does not face problems An American anti-hero Failed as a husband, father, breadwinner Moral teaching, didactic value: husbands should be more industrious and attentive, wives: less antagonistic, more accepting
MAJOR THEMES Imagination v reality Individual v. community Personal history v. national history Supernatural elements: ghosts, dream potion, sleeping 20 years Romantic element: glorifying rural setting compared to city life
LITERARY CRITICISM Is there a theme of rejection of women, domesticity, domestication? Is the portrayal of Dame Van Winkle fair? Is he a mythological hero (Campbell)? Prototype of Natty Bumppo, Tom Sawyer The frontier in literature
SEMINAR SEVEN FREDERICK DOUGLASS Born a slave in Maryland, escaped to Massachussetts, disguised himself a sailor A noted newspaper editor, abolitionists, diplomat The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) 1855: Revised, edited version: My Bondage, My Freedom 1881: The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass A champion of human rights: fought against slavery, for women’s suffrage
THE SLAVE NARRATIVE Part of the myth of origination of American culture Slavery as a test for the chosen people of God “The Almighty seizes upon superior nations and by mingled chastisement and blessing, gradually leads them to greatness” Alexander Crummell The slave thrown into Heideggerian nothingness (Houston Baker) and natal alienation (Orlando Patterson) writes himself into being Apart from captivity narrative the most important aspect of autobiographical literature (John Barbour) Role of religion, race, individuality, and healing Via writing the slave establishes his identity, a quest for being, description of the life of Africans in an alien world
THE SLAVE NARRATIVE Vivid description of suffering, slave as Christ Connections to sentimental literature, luxury of sorrow Briton Hammon (describes Indian captivity) Olaudah Equiano, James Albert Gronniosaw. Educated black Noble Afric An authentic description of the slavery experience
THE SLAVE NARRATIVE An effort to refute and destroy stereotypical images of blacks Exotic primitive Brutal savage Natural slave Wreched freeman Tragic mulatto Autobiographical acts: transfer from object to literate subject (Elizabeth Bruss) Ownership, control of the slavery experience via writing
THE SLAVE NARRATIVE Olaudah Equiano:”O, ye nominal Christians! might not an African ask you—Learned you this from your God, who says unto you, Do unto all men as you would men should do unto you?” (318). Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) : “A human being sold in the free city of New York! The bill of sale is on record, and future generations will learn from it that women were articles of traffic in New York, late in the nineteenth century of the Christian religion” (1748).
THE NARRATIVE THE NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERIC DOUGLASS, AN AMERICAN SLAVE
CHAPTER ONE It is the wish of masters to keep their slaves ignorant Not able to tell his birthday Mother: Harriet Bailey: darker complexion Father: white man, miscegenation Refuting the Hamian curse Description of the whipping of Aunt Hester
I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant. I do not remember to have ever met a slave who could tell his birthday. They seldom come nearer to it than planting- time, harvest- time, cherry-time, spring-time, or fall-time. A want of information concerning my own was a source of unhappiness to me even during childhood. The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege. I was not allowed to make any enquiries of my master con- cerning it. He deemed all such enquiries on the part of a slave improper and impertinent, and evidence of a restless spirit.
Every year brings with it multitudes of this class of slaves. It was doubtless in consequence of a know- ledge of this fact, that one great statesman of the south predicted the downfall of slavery by the inevitable laws of population. Whether this prophecy is ever fulfilled or not, it is nevertheless plain that a very different- looking class of people are springing up at the south, and are now held in slavery, from those originally brought to this country from Africa ; and if their in- crease will do no other good, it will do away the force of the argument that God cursed Ham, and therefore American slavery is right. If the lineal descendants of Ham are alone to be scripturally enslaved, it is certain that slavery at the south must soon become unscrip- tural ; for thousands are ushered into the world, annu- ally, who, like myself, owe their existence to white fathers, and those fathers most frequently their own masters.
After crossing her hands, he tied them with a strong rope, and led her to a stool under a large hook in the joist, put in for the purpose. He made her get upon the stool, and tied her hands to the Hook. She now stood fair for his infernal purpose. Her arms were stretched up at their full length, so that she stood upon the ends of her toes. He then said to her, Ci Now, you d d b h, I'll learn you how to disobey my orders !" and after rolling up his sleeves, he commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood (amid heart-rending shrieks from her, and horrid oaths from him) came dripping to the floor. I was so terrified and horror-stricken at the sight, that I hid myself in a closet, and dared not venture out till long after the bloody transaction was over. After crossing her hands, he tied them with a strong rope, and led her to a stool under a large hook in the joist, put in for the purpose. He made her get upon the stool, and tied her hands to i^he Hook. She now stood fair for his infernal purpose. Her arms were stretched up at their full length, so that she stood upon the ends of her toes. He then said to her, Ci Now, you d d b h, I'll learn you how to disobey my orders !" and after rolling up his sleeves, he commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood (amid heart-rending shrieks from her, and horrid oaths from him) came dripping to the floor. I was so terrified and horror-stricken at the sight, that I hid myself in a closet, and dared not venture out till long after the bloody transaction was over.
CHAPTER 6 The dehumanizing impact of slavery The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and gradually commenced its infernal work. That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, eventually became red with rage ; that voice made all cf sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord ; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon. Thus is slavery the enemy of both the slave and the slaveholder.
Very soon after I went to live with Mr. and Mrs, Auld, she very kindly commenced to teach me the A, B, C. After I had learned this, she assisted me in learning to spell words of three or four letters. Just at this point of my progress, Mr. Auld found out what was going on, and at once forbade Mrs. Auld to instruct me further, telling her, among other things, that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read. To use his own words, further, he said, " If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. Now/' said he, " if you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave, He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy."
CHAPTER SEVEN I LIVED in Master Hugh's family about seven years. During this time, I succeeded in learning to read and write. In accomplishing this, I was compelled to resort to various stratagems. I had no regular teacher. My mistress, who had kindly commenced to instruct me, had, in compliance with the advice and direction of her husband, not only ceased to instruct, but had set her face against my being instructed by any one else. It is due, however, to my mistress to say of her, that she did not adopt this course of treatment immediately. She at first lacked the depravity indispensible to shutting me up in mental darkness.
In the same book, (The Columbian Orator) I met with one of Sheridan's mighty speeches on and in behalf of Catholic eman- cipation. These were choice documents to me. I read them over and over again with unabated interest. They gave tongue to interesting thoughts of my own soul, which had frequently flashed through my mind, and died away for want of utterance. The moral of AMERICAN SLAVERY. which I gained from the dialogue was the power of truth over the conscience of even a slaveholder. What I got from Sheridan was a bold denunciation of slavery, and a powerful vindication of human rights.
Symbolic death: I often found myself regretting my own existence, and wished myself dead; and but for the hope of being free, I have no doubt but that I should have killed myself, or done something for which I should have been killed. The desire to learn: During this time my copy-book was the board fence, brick wall, and pavement ; my pen and ink was a lump of chalk. With these, I learned mainly how to write. I then commenced and continued copying the italics in Webster's Spelling Book, until I could make them all without looking on the book.
CHAPTER NINE Religious sanction for cruelty:In August, 1832, my master attended a Methodist camp-meeting, held in the Bay-side, Talbot county, and there experienced religion. I indulged a faint hope that his conversion would lead him to emancipate his slaves, and that if he did not do this, it would, at any rate, make him more kind and humane, I was disappointed in both these respects. It neither made him to be humane to his slaves, nor to emancipate them. If it had any effect on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways ; for I believe him to have been a much worse man after his conversion
CHAPTER TEN I lived with Mr. Covey one year. During the first six months of that year, scarce a week passed without his whipping me You are loosed from your moorings and are free, I am fast in my chains and am a slave! You move merrily before the gentle gale and I sadly before the bloody whip! You are freedom’s swift winged angels, that fly round the world, I am confined in bands of iron! You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning-point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood. My long crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place and I now, resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact
Chiasmic statements: verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first with the parts reversed (antithesis) Individual, personal declaration of independence Conativity: belief in the power of the written word to change reality, willing a new world into being
SEMINAR EIGHT NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE ( ) Born on Independence Day, Salem Mass. Descendant of Puritan immigrants One ancestor was judge in Salem witch trials Father died early Influences: Henry Fielding, Sir Walter Scott, friendship with Franklin Pierce (president of U.S.) Studies at Bowdoin College
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE ( ) 1837: Twice-Told Tales Shakespeare, King John: ”Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, Vexing the dull eare of a drowsie man” Psychological themes, guilt, selfishness, pride The impact of the Puritan past on the present : Works at Boston Custom House as a salt and coal measurer 1846: Mosses from an Old Manse
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE ( ) 1850: The Scarlet Letter 1852: Supports Pierce’s campaign : American consul in Liverpool, travels in Italy 1860: The Marble Faun
YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN Young Mr. Anybody Wife: Faith, pink ribbon Leaves wife for the first time in three months after wedding Errand in the wilderness Wife: blessed angel on earth He had an evil purpose, he had to take the dreary road darkened by the gloomiest trees of the forest A devilish Indian behind every tree
YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN Meets the devil They might have been father and son The stranger carried a snake-like staff Having kept covenant: made a deal with the devil Past guilt: lashing a Quaker woman, setting fire at an Indian village
YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN In the forest he sees everyone without a mask Goodwife Cloyse, devil worshiper witch Heathen wilderness Sees all his towns people at a black mass Forced with Faith into a communion with the Devil Unhallowed altar Evil nature of mankind D8
YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN The weakness of public morality Faith is based on other people’s faith, he is religious, because those around him are also religious The loss of innocence, Brown’s own Fall The dark side of one’s self The fear of the wilderness Female purity pink ribbon v. snake headed staff
SEMINAR NINE TRANSCENDENTALISM Romantic reaction to rationalism and materialism A newer form of old Puritan perspectives Establishment of a new world of truth, intuition against the real world Mind over matter, extremes are close to mysticism
TRANSCENDENTALISM Background: Jacksonian democracy Unitarianism : the oneness and benevolence of God The inherent goodness of mankind Man can be improved with education Humans are not depraved and all are eligible for salvation A rational religion Leading figures: William E. Channing, Ralph Waldo Emerson
TRANSCENDENTALISM Philosophical, literary, social movement Emphasizing the importance of nature Basis: Kant, Swedenborg’s philosophy A philosophy and religion Belief in the Oversoul Leading figures: Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau Margaret Fuller: The Dial
RALPH WALDO EMERSON ( ) A respectable, conventional life, a solid citizen Unitarian family background, father is a minister Father leaves the family in poverty Aunt Mary Moody Emerson: deprivation as an ecstatic self-denial Ralph studies at Harvard, becomes a Unitarian minister, later resigns from the Church
RALPH WALDO EMERSON ( ) Major influence: European trip, meeting with the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle Upon return moves to Concord Participates in the Lyceum movement, popularizes literature, culture, science Seeks a balance between religious mysticism and modern natural science Absolute supporter of individualism Hitch your wagon to a star
MAIN WORKS 1836: Nature (looking at nature with a spiritual eye) Nature is the embodiment of a divine principle, the manifestation of the Oversoul 1837: The American Scholar ( we have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe) 1841: Essays 1850’s: supporter of abolitionism
SELF-RELIANCE Importance of self-reliance Self-reliance of the individual Sel-reliance and society Promotion of individual experience over knowledge gained from books or formal education Expression of individualism, trust thyself Do not imitate
SELF-RELIANCE Be a non-conformist, reject the pressures from society A true man is a non-conformist, marches to his own drummer Live life to the fullest Do not worry about what people think The price of non-conformity is condemnation Don’t be consistent, dare to be misunderstood
SELF-RELIANCE A true man is close to nature An institution is a lengthened shadow of man God is in nature Nature is self-reliance Man-centered, Anglo-Saxon superiority Our age yields no great and perfect persons Travel is a fool’s paradise Man must go back to basics, a romantic rejection of civilization
SEMINAR TEN WALT WHITMAN
WALT WHITMAN Born in Long Island (May 31, 1819) Father: Democrat, carpenter Mother: Quaker Second of nine children (other brothers: Washington, Jefferson, Jackson) Self-educated Family tragedies, (death of one brother, other brother mentally handicapped, one sister marries and alcoholic ship builder, oldest son,
WALT WHITMAN Influences: -working class America -a distant, alcoholic father -a fear of becoming a father A lifelong bachelor Jobs held: journeyman printer, school teacher, newspaperman
WALT WHITMAN Founder of Long Islander, editor of New York Aurora 1848: embarks upon a poetic career 1855: Leaves of Grass Preface: past beliefs should be incorporated into newer ones American geography, occupation, people are incorporated into a transcendental unit : Raises his voice in editorials in the slavery crisis
WALT WHITMAN : Calamus, Children of Adam—accused of obscenity 1860: family tragedies, realization of homo- erotic tendencies Civil War activities 1862:wound dresser 1865: Drum Taps, When Lilacs in the Dooryard Last Bloomed
WALT WHITMAN : Democratic Vistas-re-enforced commitment to democracy 1873: Suffers a stroke, moves to Camden Discovered by the British March 26, 1892: death
SONG OF MYSELF Main themes: Body, soul Americana Individualism Optimism Celebration of the self Self/external world Physical aspects of love Hair, beard, grass Homoeroticism County, city life
SONG OF MYSELF Expression of the American Ideal Myself: Author, America, God, Oversoul The Greatest American Poet Innovator: free verse, flows like the ocean, or an operatic aria
SONG OF MYSELF Expression of collective beginning Transcending the body, becoming one with God Free verse—irregular rhythm, no conventional use of meter, written in paragraphs Conventional unit is foot or line, in free verse it is the paragraph Projection of the self The projective verse American culture and literature reaches adulthood A lyrical autobiography, the discovery of the self The first true American poet